Saturday, December 30, 2006

My kitchen

My small sized kitchen that has served me well and where I cook up wonders.

Mummy's Chicken Soup

I got really sick over the holidays and made a large pot of this stuff to help me get better. My mother's recipe for chicken soup.

Ingredients: 3 pieces of chicken (with bone)
1 large red onion (sliced in half)
1 clove garlic (smashed)
1 thumb sized portion of ginger (peeled and sliced)
lots of spinach (sliced)
2 tomatoes (cut into wedges)
1 spring onion (sliced)
1 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Use a large pot and fill half of it with water. Add chicken, onion, garlic and ginger. Leave to boil for one full hour. Keep stirring and adding water when necessary every 15 mins.
2. Add tomatoes, spinach and spring onion. Leave to boil for another 45 mins.
3. Add tumeric, chilli, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat when soup is thick and flavourful.

Verdict: This hearty soup really helped me feel better as I had the worst flu in ages. It tastes of vegetables and chicken and all things good. Definitely healing for the soul.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Biggest Fan

Tomato and Cucumber Salad (side accompaniment to Masala)

This is a salad usually served with hot curry that will cool the tongue.

Ingredients: 3 tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cucumber (chopped)
5 tbs plain yogurt
2 limes (juiced)

1. Chop up tomatoes and cucumber.
2. Add the juice of 2 limes.
3. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
4. Add cold yogurt before serving.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sodhi (Indian Tomato Curry)

This is a recipe that I have gotten from my mother. A mild vegetarian curry that can be eaten with rice.

Ingredients: 1 red onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
5 tomatoes (boiled and skin removed)
1 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
chopped basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil and fry onion and garlic until softened.
2. Add tumeric powder and chilli powder. Fry the powders in oil for 3 mins to release flavour.
3. Add the boiled tomatoes and mash it in with onions and garlic with the wooden spatula. Add a cup of water.
4. Let the mixture simmer for 10 mins.
5. When the curry looks well combined and thickened, add coconut milk and give it a good stir. Add basil leaves, salt and pepper.
6. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

Verdict: When I told Thomas we were having curry for dinner, he anticipated something spicy and thick and was surprised the mildness of this curry which can almost be called a soup. I found it tasty and flavourful with a slight hint of chilli in it. I didnt really like the inclusion of the coconut milk as it made it too creamy and the coconut over-powered the taste of the other ingredients. Another way to make this dish is to skip the coconut and add the juice of lime instead, so you have a tangy soup. Overall, its a nice dish to make for an afternoon snack but not as a main course of a meal.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Humble Mortar and Pestle

The Mortar and Pestle is a key tool in Asian cooking. It is used to grind onions, garlic, ginger or chillies in any variety to be the base of a good Asian dish. It is considered a better alternative to the electric blender that tends to make too much of a watery blend and the flavours dont come out as strongly.

For a good sambal, you can use the mortar and pestle to crush dried red chilli. For Indian food, usually it is used to crush garlic and ginger together before these ingredients are fried in oil to release the flavour.

The good thing about the mortar and pestle is that you can adjust the consistency of the ingredients being ground for the meal. Also, its easy to wash and clean afterwards.

The mortar and pestle- a tool that I could not live without.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Roasted Citrus Chicken

I made a surprise romantic candlelight dinner for Thomas on Friday night. This is a simple recipe that looks good for a formal dinner. And it would give you enough time to get your clothes and make-up finished by the time it cooks.

Ingredients: 2 large chicken parts (remove skin)
1 lemon
1 tbs butter
Chicken seasoning (you can buy prepared meat rubs from the store)
1 clove garlic (pound with mortar and pestle)

1. Clean chicken under running water and remove skin.
2. Marinade with lemon juice and ground garlic for 1 hour in baking dish lined with greaseproof paper. During this time, you can get the dinner table set and chop up some salad as a side accompaniment.
3. Sprinkle chicken seasoning on the meat and put a knob of butter on each piece. Bake in a hot oven for an hour. (This gives you enough time to get your formal dress on and by the time you are prepared, your food comes out straight from the oven).
4. Put the candles on and surprise your partner with a perfectly cooked roasted chicken.

Verdict: The chicken was moist and juicy and had a strong citrus flavour. I made some garlic bread with the extra pounded garlic mixed with butter as a side accompaniment and a simple salad with tomatoes. The food was excellent and it was certainly a night to remember ;)