Lo Mai Gai (Sticky Chicken Rice)

The sticky rice parcels are always my favourite dish when I go and eat Dim Sum.

Technically these should be wrapped in lotus leaves, but I have been betrayed by every single Asian market I visited in the city. Parchment paper works fine, but you lose some of the aromas.

The packets, once cooked, can be cooled down and frozen. Then grabbed from the freezer and thrown back into the steamer for a week-night meal with zero brain power involved.

Yields 6 packets, could be stretched easily to 8.

Ingredients

4 cups sweet rice (glutinous rice)
2-3 Chinese sausages halved then sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Vegetable oil
For the Chicken :
3 skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 tea spoon corn starch
2 tea spoon oyster sauce
1/2 tea spoon Mirin
2 tea spoon dark soy sauce
1/2 tea spoon fresh ground pepper
2 pinches of salt

Rice seasoning :
1 tea spoon mirin
2 tea spoon toasted sesame oil
2 tea spoon oyster sauce
2 tea spoon dark soy sauce
couple of pinches of dried mushrooms
2 shallots, chopped

ingredients

***

1. Cover the rice with water and allow to soak a minimum of 4 hours, preferable overnight.
soak

2. Combine the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a bowl.
marinade

3. Remove any gristle from the chicken thighs and cut into thin strips.
chicken1

4. Toss with the marinade, cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
marinade2

5. In a small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients for the rice seasoning.
sauce

6. In a different bowl, put the dried mushrooms.
mushrooms

7. And cover with hot water. Allow to soak for 15 minutes
mushrooms2

8. Drain and chop the mushrooms.
mushrooms3

9. Drain the rice. Take your time and remove as much water as possible.
drain

10. Add the seasoning mix and stir to coat the rice.
season

11. Throw in the shallots and mushrooms.
combine

12. Stir to distribute.
combine2

13. In a skillet, warm the oil and add the garlic.
stuffing1

14. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring all the while, until some caramelization starts.
stuffing2

15. Add the Chinese sausages.
stuffing3

16. As soon as the chicken is barely cooked through, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
stuffing4

17. Get ready to assemble! Scoop 1/2 a cup of the rice in the middle of a parchment paper sheet, closer to the bottom.
assemble1

18. Spoon some of the chicken and sausage mixture over the rice.
assemble2

19. Scoop another 1/2 cup of rice on top.
assemble3

20. Fold the bottom over the rice, then both sides in snugly (fold the edges of the right and left sides if the paper is too wide). Stand the packet straight and shake the rice to the bottom to make sure everything is compact. Fold the top part over (folding the edges if too long). Secure with kitchen twine. Repeat as needed until you run out of rice and/or stuffing.
fold

21. Put the packets in the basket of a steamer for 90 minutes. If you have bamboo steamers, go ahead and use those. Check on the water every 30 minutes to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
steamer

22. Once the time is up the rice should have plumped up nicely.
steamed

23. Cut open to reveal the delicious content. Because I stuff them on their sides one part of the packet ends up having more sauce/caramelization. If using stacked bamboo steamers, this would not be an issue.
open

24. The rice should pull away to reveal the stuffing.
open+stuffing

25. Any portions you don’t plan to eat right away can be put on a cooling rack and chilled.
cooling-tray

26. Then wrapped in plastic wrap and put into a freezer bag for future eating.
freeze

Advertisements

Pearl Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts

This makes for good lunches because it keeps for a while, a nice side dish, or an interesting offering in a potluck. Most importantly it’s easy and quick to get together.

Adapted from Foodiecrush.

Ingredients:
2 cups pearl couscous
1 cup dried apricot
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pistachios (roasted, unsalted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (roasted, unsalted)

For the dressing:
1 french shallot
1/3 cup olive oil
2 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tea spoon dijon mustard
2 tea spoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
ingredients

***

1. Combine the dressing ingredients.
dressing

2. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
smooth-dressing

3. Cook the pearl couscous (like pasta) until done but it still has a bit of texture. Drain and coat with the dressing,
add-dressing

4. Cut the dried apricots into smaller pieces. Add the cranberries. I aim for roughly 1 1/2 cup of dried fruits total.
dried-fruits

5. Add the fruits to the couscous.
add-fruits

6. Add the pistachios and pumpkin seeds.
nuts

7. Mix well to combine and transfer to a serving bowl. This can be eaten cold or warm.
serve

Chicken Chow Mein

A simple, quick, filling recipe. There are enough textures to keep things interesting, the ingredients are simple enough to make a cheap week-night option and the left overs (all the left overs. So many left overs) reheat beautifully.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup + 1 table spoon Chinese stir fry sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small cabbage
1 bag of chow mein noodles
1 cup carrots, shredded or julienned
1 bunch of green onions
Couple of handful of bean sprouts
Peanut oil
ingredients

***

1. Cut the chicken into cubes. Pour 1 table spoon of sauce over the chicken. Stir to coat and set aside to marinade.
chicken

2. Rinse the cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Cut in half and remove the core. Cut each half in half, and then slice thinly.
cabbage

3. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop the noodles and cook for about 5 minutes.
noodle

4. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
noodles2

5. In a large skillet or wok, warm some of the peanut oil. Add the minced garlic until just fragrant.
garlic

6. Add the marinated chicken and allow to color (1-2 minutes)
chicken2

7. Add the white part of the green onions and the cabbage.
cabbage2

8. Once the cabbage has started to wilt, add the carrots.
carrots

*. Optional step: acknowledge that your cabbage is never going to wilt enough and transfer everything to the pot used to boil the noodles

9. Add the noodles.
noodles3

10. Add the 1/4 cup of stir-fry sauce and 1/4 cup of water. Stir to coat.
sauce

11. Add the green parts of the green onions and the bean sprouts.
sprouts

12. Stir well to combine, allow 1-2 minutes for the flavors to mingle.
combine

13. Serve warm.
serve

Chickpea and sweet potato curry

An easy, tasty and lazy weeknight meal. Warm and spicy and filling.

Ingredients
2 small onions (or 1 larger one), diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
an inch (or so) of ginger, grated
1 table spoon curry mix of your choice, ground
1 can chickpeas
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 cup water
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced tomatoes
basmati rice, to serve
1 table spoon peanut oil
ingredients

***

1. In a thick bottomed saucepan warm the oil. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent.
onions

2. Add the garlic, the ginger, and the curry spices. Cook the aromatics with the onions until fragrant.
aromates

3. Rinse the chickpeas and add to the pot. Peel the sweet potato and cut roughly into cubes. Add it to the pot as well.
veggies1

4. Add the coconut milk and the water.
Mix well and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potato cubes are tender.
liquids

5. Stir in the frozen peas.
peas

6. And the tomatoes.
Once the peas and tomatoes are heated through the curry is ready.
tomatoes

7. Serve with the basmati rice.
serve

Lazy Jambalaya

Wholly inaccurate, but easy enough on a weekday. A satisfying one-pot meal with plenty of leftovers for lunches. Leftover portions freeze rather well, so that is always a bonus.

Ingredients :
3 Italian sausage (spicy)
1 onion, chopped
3 celery branches, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 table spoon cajun spices
1 table spoon paprika
1 lb shrimp
olive oil
ingredients

1. In a large enamel faitout or dutch oven, warm about a table spoon of the oil. Remove the casing from the sausages and add to the pot.
sausage1

2. Break apart into clumps as it cooks.
sausage2

3. Once the meat is almost fully cooked, add the onion, bell pepper and celery.
veggies

4. Stir in and cook for a  minute or two then add the frozen peas.
peas

5. Give the peas a mine to start thawing then add the tomatoes and garlic.
tomatoes

6. Add the rice. Stir it in, to coat the rice.
rice

7. Add the chicken broth, paprika and cajun spices.
stock

8. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes (to get the rice started)
cook1

9. Add the shrimps, still frozen, in a single layer on top.
shrimp

10.  Cover and return to heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimps are nicely pink.
shrimp2

11. Allow to stand for a few minutes (the liquid will be absorbed). Portion out and enjoy!
serve

Arroz con Pollo

Well, not a traditional version., but close enough. A nice warm and filling casserole of spicy chicken and savory rice. Reheats beautifully for lunches and has enough depth of flavor that you don’t get bored eating it after a few days.

Ingredients:
1 table spoon apple cider vinegar
2 tea spoon red pepper flakes
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon pepper
6 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on if you want)
1 onion
2 bell peppers
4 cups chicken stock (1 liter)
generous pinch of saffron threads
1 pint diced tomatoes
1 dried yunnan pepper
1/2 tea spoon cumin
2 bay leaves
2 cups rice
ingredients

***

1. Combine the apple cider vinegar, pepper flakes, minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper.
marinade

2. Put the chicken in a large ziploc bag.
chicken1

3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage to coat the meat. Put in the fridge for 1 hour minimum, up to overnight.
chicken2

4. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, chop the onion and bell peppers.
veggies

5. Pour the chicken stock in a large pot and bring to just under a boil.
broth

6. Warm the oil in a large enamel cast iron pot (Dutch oven or French faitout). Retrieve the marinated chicken and add to pot in a single layer over medium to medium-high heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes, just to get some color.
Don’t breathe in the fumes… vinegar and red pepper flames are hard on sinuses.
meat1

7. Flip and color the other side then set aside.
meat2

8. Your broth should be warm by now. Add the saffron, then turn the heat to low and allow to steep.
broth2

9. Drain excess fat from the pot (especially if you cooked your chicken with the skin on).
Add the vegetables to the pot. use the moisture from the onions to scrape up any tasty stuck bits. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until softened and the onions start turning translucent.
veggies2

10. Add the tomatoes.
tomato

11. Once the tomatoes are bubbling, add the ground cumin.
cumin

12. Add the rice.
rice

13. Stir the rice until it has absorbed the pan juices, about 3-5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot.
rice2

14. Add the saffron broth, bay leaves and crumble in the yunnan pepper.
liquid

15. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a low simmer and cover.
liquid2

16. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Then turn the heat off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
cooked

17. Portion out and enjoy!
portion

Dirty rice Pilaf

Recipe over by the great blog CultureEatz. Go have a look! Only pictures here.