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Soya Sauce Braised Chicken


(serves 4)
Braising in soya sauce is one of the most basic Chinese cooking styles. My recipe is slightly modernized but its essentially the same Chicken In Soya Sauce that my mother used to cook for me when I was young. My ‘trick’ is to cook the chicken for only a short amount of time but have it soak in the braising liquid for a long time. The result is chicken that is really tender but still tasty. Its a great for to cook chicken if you don’t have an oven.   
 

Ingredients Soya Braised Chicken

  1. Chicken Leg with Thigh (4)
  2. Dark Soya Sauce (1/4 cup)
  3. Chinese Wine (1/4 cup)
  4. Onion (1)
  5. Maple Syrup
  6. Five Spice Powder
  7. Nutmeg
  8. Black Pepper

Optional Ingredients in photo

  1. Potatoes
  2. Bok Choi
  3. Egg
  4. Konnyaku Vermicelli (aka Shirataki)

Preparation 

  1. Defrost the chicken completely and pad dry with kitchen towels. Trim off any visible chunks of fat on the the thigh with a pair of scissors. The skin tends to shrink so leave any excess skin on.
  2. Marinate the chicken in 4T of maple syrup.
  3. Prepare your optional ingredients (see notes below) at this stage. If they require more than 7 minutes of cooking time, par-boil them for a while, otherwise, just cut them to the right size.
  4. Next, cut an onion into thick rings. Choose a pot which the chicken will fit snugly in a single layer. Stir fry the onions in the pot with 3T of vegetable oil over a very low flame.
  5. After the onion becomes soft and starts to caramelize, this will take some time, mix 1/4 cup dark soya sauce, 1/4 cup Chinese wine with 1 cup water and add this to the pot.
  6. Turn up the heat and bring to a strong boil. Add 1 heaped T of sugar, 1T five spice powder, 1T nutmeg and 1T black pepper.
  7. Arrange the chicken legs nicely into the boiling pot upside down and pour in all the left over maple syrup marinade. Top up with the optional ingredients to bring up the level of the liquid. Ensure the chicken is fully submerged. The vegetables don’t need to be completely covered as the liquid will be splashing about as it boils.
  8. Boil the chicken for exactly seven minutes. Leave the pot uncovered so the liquid can thicken and place the cover on only for the last 30 seconds. After turning the fire off, leave the pot covered for several hours, preferably overnight. This is the part where the flavour soaks into the chicken.
  9. You don’t want the meat to be overcooked, so remove the chicken first when reheating. When the braising liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat off before putting the chicken legs back in the pot. Give the chicken 5 min to warm up before serving.

Notes

  • You can swap in or add all kinds of other flavours to the soya sauce at step 6 depending on your preference, for example ginger slices, cinnamon, cloves.
  • There are many optional ingredients you can add to the pot with your chicken, just remember they must be of a type that does not adsorb too much flavour. For the photo I used potatoes, bok choy and shirataki, a yam based vermicelli which is already mostly water. Other possible options are chestnuts, yam and any kind of leafy vegetables.
  • If you don’t have Chinese wine, try sherry. My favourite for this recipe is actually sake. Do not skip the alcohol as it is needed to mellow out the soya sauce. It will evaporate anyway.
  • If you are using chicken breast meat, consider brining it first.
  • There will be lots of chicken-flavoured braising liquid left over. It is very useful. You can use it to braise additional vegetables that cannot be left in the braising liquid overnight, like eggplant, carrots, mushrooms. You can also use them to marinate boiled eggs (as in picture), as a BBQ marinade, to fry noodles etc. If you strain the liquid before storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge, it can easily last a fortnight (it should congeal into a gel).  
 
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Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Main Courses, Oriental, Poultry, Recipe

 

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Chinese Style Beef Strogonoff


(serves 3)
This is a fusion version of the Russian classic Beef Stroganoff. The beef is marinated in the Chinese Style using bicarbonate of soda, leaving it extremely tender. You won’t be needing a nicely marbled piece of Wagyu beef for this recipe and more importantly there is no chance to overcook it. When married with the rich taste of sour cream, the end result is a fusion of Eastern and Western (actually East meets Eastern Europe) cuisine.    
 

Ingredients

  1. Beef Fillet (400g)
  2. Brown Mushrooms (150g)
  3. Onion (1)
  4. Sour Cream (1/3 cup)
  5. Oxo Beef Stock Cube (1)
  6. Balsamic Vinegar
  7. Bicarbonate of Soda
  8. Corn Starch
  9. Coriander Seed Powder
  10. Soya Sauce
  11. Brandy
  12. Vegetable Oil

Preparation 

  1. Cut the beef fillet into slices which are as thin as you can manage manually. Cut across the grain where possible. 
  2. Mix the marinate as follows: 1/3 cup water, 1T soya sauce, 2t corn starch, 1t sugar, 1t coriander seed powder, 0.5t bicarbonate of soda, 0.5t salt. Mix the meat in the marinade well and leave it for 2 or more hours. It may appear watery at first but all the liquid will be adsorbed by the meat over time. 
  3. Its now 2 or more hours later. Add 2T or balsamic vinegar to the meet and mix well. You should see some small bubbles as the bicarbonate reacts with the vinegar. This is normal.
  4. Cut your onion into half rings and the mushrooms into thick slices.
  5. Disolve one beef cube in 1/3 cup of hot water in a large bowl.
  6. Pan fry the onions with a dash of oil for about 3 minutes on low heat. Add the mushrooms and continue stir frying till the mushrooms begin to soften. Empty the contents of the pan into the beef stock. 
  7. Put a generous amount of oil into the pan and turn the heat to high. At the same time mix 1T of oil into the marinated meat. When the pan is searing hot, sautée the meat. Make sure both sides of each piece of meat has time on the pan. When no part of the meat’s surface appears uncooked anymore, pour in the stock, onions and mushrooms.
  8. Continue on high heat till the liquid is reduced to 1/3 its original volume, it shouldn’t take long. Add 1/3 cup of sour cream. Simmer on low heat for a further minute before adding 3T of brandy and turning the fire off. Add salt if you fancy, but taste it first. 
  9. Plate with either buttered fettucine or buttered rice, and sprinkle on some black pepper after plating.

Notes

  • If you wish to marinate the meat ahead of time, remember that you can’t leave the meat overnight without first adding the vinegar. After doing so, you can even refreeze the marinated meat.
  • If your knife skills are lacking, there are two ways you can get around this. Either have your beef semi-frozen before you begin slicing, or cut slightly thicker pieces and flatten them with a meat mallet.
  • If you wish to understand more about the effect of bicarbonate of soda on meat, please refer to this post.
  • In some places (like Brazil or Hong Kong) you’ll encounter versions which use heavy cream instead of sour cream. Add 2T of HP sauce to the heavy cream to cook this version.
 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in A Kobi Original, Main Courses, Oriental, Recipe, Red Meat

 

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Foie Gras and Orange Reduction Amuse Bouche


(serves 10)
One day I was having a crepe suzette with ice cream and I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be lovely to have some foie gras with this? Somewhere along the way I dropped the crepe and ended up with a superb 3 layer foie gras suzette amuse bouche. The tart but sweet orange reduction provides an interesting contrast to the richness of the foie gras while the shot glass format allows you to control the usual appearance and temperature issues associated with canned foie gras, and to serve portions that are small enough to not overwhelm the stomach or pocket.    
 

Ingredients

  1. Canned ‘Bloc’ Foie Gras (200g)
  2. Oranges (2)
  3. Butter (80g)
  4. Shallots (10)
  5. Vanilla Ice Cream (1 scoop)
  6. Marscapone (1 scoop)
  7. Marmalade
  8. Dark Soya Sauce
  9. Lemon Grass 
  10. Cointreau

Preparation 

  1. First anbd foremost, make sure you have 10 shot glasses (the double shot type).
  2. Squeeze the juice from your oranges after cutting them into halves. Peel and then chop the shallots finely. If you have trouble finding shallots, use a (not 10) red onion instead.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and stir fry the shallot bits on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour in the orange juice and place the orange rind, cut side down in the pan and continue cooking for a minute so some of the bitterness bleeds into the juice.
  5. Next, discard the rind, then add 2 heaped t of orange marmalade and 2t lemon grass. Proceed to boil this down till it begins to thicken. It should take a while, don’t use too high a flame after the initial stage. 
  6. When the volume has been reduced to a thin syrup consistency, stir in 0.5t soya sauce. Allow the mixture to cool; it will thicken as it cools.
  7. Divide the foie gras into the 10 shot glasses. Compact and flatten the foie gras with a small spoon by moving the shot glass in a circular fashion. Clean the oil off the top half of the inner surface of the shot glasses with a tissue for better visual impact.
  8. When the orange butter reduction has cooled, spoon it into the shot glasses as  a second layer over the foie gras. See this picture here:
  9. Left tray has foie gras patted down, right tray has orange butter sauce on top of the foie gras

  10. In a bowl, mix one ice cream scoop of vanilla ice cream, 1 scoop of marscapone and 1T of cointreau. Its ok if the ice cream melts. Spoon the mixture carefully into the shot glasses as the final layer. Add a few needles of lemongrass as a ganish.
  11. Keep the shots refrigerated chill in the freezer for 5 min to bring the temperature down further before serving. Serve with a small spoon, instructing your guests to eat all 3 layers together.

Notes

  • Use the type of canned foie gras that is labeled ‘bloc’. Just use it straight out of the can, its 98% pure foie gras and fully cooked. Do not use fresh foie gras since it is raw. Don’t use foie gras pate or mousse since you are only using a small amount per amuse bouche and you want maximum impact. 
  • Soya sauce is the secret ingredient, don’t skip it. It adds just the right amount of saltiness and darkens the orange reduction to the right colour. Use the dark soya sauce if you can, it is thicker.
  • The marscapone reduces the sweetness from the ice cream and allows for a stiffer consistency at room temperature. Don’t skip it.
  • I do not recommend this but if you are cheating by using store bought orange juice, it is essential you get the type with pulp.
  • You can use Grande Marnier instead of Cointreau. If you absolutely hate alcohol, add the cointreau to the orange juice so the alcohol boils off. However, the top creamy layer will lose all of its orange aroma and undertone.

The Apple Version

this version is made in almost the same way as the orange version. Simply make the following changes to the ingredients: 

  • replace onion with one apple cut to 1/4 inch cubes, without skin
  • replace lemongrasss with 0.5t nutmeg and 0.5t cinnamon
  • replace orange juice with 1/2 cup white wine
  • replace marmalade with 1T sugar
  • replace cointreau with sherry
 
 

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Steamed Snapper in Soya Sauce


(serves 2)
Steamed fish is a relatively healthy way of cooking fish, and when done in the ‘Cantonese’ style is much more tastey then you might imagine. My technique is a fusion method which incorporates the ease of Western cooking, and you won’t even need a steamer or any form of steaming cookware. You also won’t have to worry about over or under cooking your fish.  
 
Ingredients
  1. Snapper Fillet (2 x 160g)
  2. Chives (6 stalks)
  3. Corriander (2 bunches)
  4. Garlic (6 cloves = 1/2 bulb)
  5. Light Soya Sauce
  6. Sesame Oil
  7. Chinese Wine

Preparation

  1. The type and quality of fish is important when steaming. You can use fish which has been chilled but never fish that has been frozen. Besides Snapper, other species of fish with meat of the same smooth crisp texture and consistency, such as Garoupa, are also suitable. Start by bringing your fish fillets to room temperature by soaking them in luke-warm water.
  2. Julienne the chives (also called spring onion in some places) into 1/4 inch bits keeping the solid/white bits seperate from the leafy/green bits. Cut the root portion off the corriander but otherwise leave the sprigs as they are. When you are done you should have something like what is shown in the picture.
  3. Peel and put through a garlic press 6 cloves of garlic.
  4. Mix 3T of light soya sauce, 2T of Chinese Wine, 1T sesame oil, 1t sugar and 1/4 cup water in a bowl .
  5. Fry the white portion of chives with a spot of oil in a frying pan till they begin to brown. Make sure you use a pan which has a cover.
  6. When your chives are ready, let the pan cool a bit and then pour the soya mixture into the pan with the green portion of the chives. Set the heat to produce a low simmer and when the soya mixture begins to boil, place your fish fillets in. If your fish still has the skin attached, put it in skin-down so the skin has a chance to interact with the wine before it boils off.
  7. After one minute, flip the fish pieces over and place the corriander on top of the fish (see picture below). Cover and continue to simmer for one minute. After the minute is up, turn the heat off and allow the fish to ‘steam’ for a further 15 minutes with the cover on.
  8. In the meanwhile, fry the garlic in a spot of oil in a seperate pan. When the garlic begins to get darker, turn off the heat and let the residual heat of the pan continue to darken the garlic till it reaches a gloden brown.
  9. When the fish has finished ‘steaming’, put aside the corriander. Plate the fish and spoon the soya liquid over it. Next spoon the garlic together with its oil on the fish and finally garnish with the corriander.

Notes

  • This type of steamed fish is of the ‘Cantonese’ style and is best served with rice. You can of course use staples such as (unsalted) mashed potatoes or polenta instead.
  • If your fish fillets are thin, you can reduce the 2 boiling phases to 30 seconds each to prevent over cooking.
  • There are two main types of soya sauce, make sure you use the Light soya sauce (as opposed to Dark or Aged soya sauce).
 
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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Main Courses, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Runny Yolk Boiled Eggs


(serves 4)
Half a boiled egg is perfect as an amuse-bouche or hors d’oeuvre. Its easy to prepare and can be cooked ahead of time. To avoid the powdery taste of fully cooked yolk, many recipes simply scoop the yolk out and mix it with something creamy like mayonnaise but I prefer the more natural solution, which is to have the yolk still runny after the white has cooked. In Japan, where the practice of eating Ramen with molten yolk eggs was developed, this type of egg is called Ajitsuke Tamago or just plain Ajitama for short.
 

Ingredients

  1. Soya Sauce
  2. Chinese Cooking Wine
  3. Vinegar
  4. a Drawing Pin

Optional Ingredients

  1. Garlic (3 cloves)
  2. Smoked Salmon (25g)

Preparation
The first thing anyone learns about boiling eggs is to put cold water in the pot with the eggs to prevent them from cracking and leaking. This golden rule does not hold here as timing is absolutely crucial in having the yolk runny and white solid. Not to worry, there are a few tricks to that.

  1. If your eggs are from the fridge start by submerging your eggs in some tap water to bring their temperature up. This will reduce the sudden temperature change when you place them in boiling water. A fresh egg will sink completely in water. If part of an egg floats above the water surface that means an air pocket has built up inside and it is a few weeks old – you may want to cook that egg fully. Also an air pocket means part of the boiled egg will be flat and the yolk may not be centred.
  2. Next heat a pot of water, adding a few T of vinegar. Make sure you have sufficient water to cover the eggs.
  3. Using a drawing pin, punch a small hole at the base (the wider end) of the each egg. This will further serve to relieve stress on the shell as it heats up and will prevent cracking.
  4. When the water is boiling strongly, lower the eggs into the boling water. If the water stops boiling momentarily after you put the eggs in, you are using too little water. Simmer from 6 minutes for medium sized eggs to 7 minutes for XL sized eggs. Use a ladle so you can put all the eggs in at the same time.
  5. As the eggs are simmering, prepare a bowl of iced water. Once the eggs are ‘done’ transfer them immediately to the iced water.
  6. After the eggs have cooled sufficiently, tap them over their entire surface to fully crack the shells. As the eggs are cold, the egg itself should have shrunk enough to detach itself from the shell membrane and this will help you to avoid damaging the eggs’ surface as you peel them.
  7. Mix 4T soya sauce, 2T Chinese Cooking Wine and 1t of sugar in the smallest container you have that can house the eggs without stacking them.  Top off with water, stir and place the eggs in, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover with clear film and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible. After the eggs are stained, they will retain some taste from the marinade.
  8. Near the time of dining, slice each egg into two, and place a few drops of the marinade onto the yolk to impart some taste to them.

Optional (i.e. if not eating with Ramen)

  1. While you are letting the eggs warm to room temperature, peel and slice three cloves of garlic as finely as you can and pan fry them in a dash of oil till they are golden.
  2. Cut a slice of smoked salmon into tiny squares.
  3. Use them both as condiments for your egg as shown above.

Notes

  • This type of egg, that is to say Ajitama, is served with many types of Ramen.
  • If you happen to be making Chashu for Ramen you can use the stewing liquid as the marinade instead of making it from scratch. The soya component of the marinade can also be replaced with things like olive tapenade, tea leaves or mashed anchovy.
  • If you want to use a zip-loc bag to marinate the eggs in, make sure the bag is kept in a bowl the entire time.  When you lift the bag without a bowl, its narrow base can squeeze the eggs and cause ruptures, especially if you are making many eggs at once.
  • The iced water is essential. Instant cooling will help ensure that your eggs are cooked to the correct degree each time. Besides, slow cooling results in a grey coating on the yolk which we’d like to avoid.
  • The boiled egg is versatile. Other than the garlic/smoked salmon condiment combo suggested, you can try a wide variety of savoury alternatives like caviar, salmon roe, crispy fried bits of Iberico ham etc.
 
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Posted by on December 5, 2010 in Appetizers, Japanese, Recipe

 

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