Monday, September 23, 2013

crispy chicken strips, what's not to love

The best thing ever when it comes to fried chicken is its crispy crust and the countless additions you can add to this in order to achieve ultimate savoury variety. The other bit is the fat, and how we normally crank up a pan of vegetable oil for a job like this. Instead, try the oil butter combination as follows for that extra lift of flavour, well worth doing. Seasoning at the end is crucial too, salt being the essential norm, but a quick flash of lemon juice immediately before devouring adds a little something special.
Zaatar crusted chicken strips
Serves 4

400g chicken strips
seasoned flour (with a good pinch each of zaatar, celery salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and white pepper)
2 small eggs, beaten
100g butter
50ml pure olive oil
Roll the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess. Coat thoroughly with the egg and lay on a cooling rack for a minute or so. Dip again into the flour and once more into the beaten egg. Return to the rack and finally dip into the flour. Set aside on the rack until ready to cook. This seemingly excessive dipping and flouring will provide a really good crust, however messy it sounds.
Using a shallow pan, melt together the butter and olive oil on a medium heat until the fat starts to crackle and fizzle - drop in a small piece of bread, and if it sizzles and browns nicely, the temperature should be about fine.
Slide the chicken into the pan and gently shallow-fry (the depth should be no more than 2-3cm) for 3-5 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and crusted all over. Remove from the pan and lay on a double fold of kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt and a squeeze of lemon and serve without delay.
So long as the temperature of the frying oil and butter mixture doesn't get to the point where it burns, you might like to strain the fat into a small bowl and keep in the fridge for further finger licking frying moments.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

more prawns, in a warming sukiyaki kind of a way

Sukiyaki, traditionally being a Japanese winter time soup like stew served hot pot style, gets a Hong Kong Typhoon Sunday makeover with the fast approaching Severe Typhoon Usagi well on her way. Again, mucking around with a bit of tradition, we'd normally expect to see thinly sliced beef slowly cooked or simmered at the table, with the vegetables in a rich mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. But prawns are all the rage this week, and adaptation is just the thing right now.

The thing is, noodles do on the odd occasion play a part in a sukiyaki, much to my relief, but the tendency to dunk the ingredients in raw beaten egg is there for the traditionalists, your call on that one really.

Prawn sukiyaki

Serves 4

1 litre fresh chicken stock
2 tblsp hoisin sauce
2 tblsp oyster sauce
1 tblsp fish sauce
1 x 10g sachet instant miso soup
2" ginger, peeled and finely sliced
200g rice noodles
100g enoki mushrooms
1 green chilli de-seeded and finely chopped
300g peeled, raw king prawns
200g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
100g mange tout or snap peas, shredded
200g beansprouts

For the garnish
1 tsp sesame oil
4 spring onions, shredded
Small bunch coriander
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pan along with the hoisin, oyster, fish sauce, miso and ginger. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.

Add the mushrooms and chilli to the broth and continue to simmer for 3 minutes, add the prawns, asparagus and mange tout and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Finally heat through the beansprouts for 1 minute before serving.

Divide the noodles between four large deep bowls and spoon over the soup (making sure that everybody gets an equal amount prawns and vegetables).

Divide the sesame oil between the bowls, scatter over the spring onions and coriander leaves and serve with a wedge of lime.