Feast from the East – Clay Pot Chicken Rice

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

It’s mesmerizing watching street vendors make this dish with 10 charcoal stoves on the go.  They place the pots with rice on top of the hob, which gives the dish its smokiness.

Claypot chicken

Serves : 2

Ingredients :
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
150g boneless chicken thighs, sliced
1 tblsp vegetable oil
10g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced
4 tblsp sweet soy sauce
1 tblsp light soy sauce
3 tblsp water
200g jasmine rice
Birds-Eye Chilli and Soy Dip and Stir-Fried Lettuce, to serve (Optional)

For the marinade :
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
large pinch of caster sugar
1/2 tblsp cornflour

Step One : Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, cover with cold water and set aside to rehydrate for 2 hours.  You can speed up the rehydration by covering them with just-boiled water.  Drain the mushrooms, squeeze them to discard any excess water and cut off and discard the stalks.  Quarter the mushrooms and set aside.

Step Two : Meanwhile, put the chicken in a bowl and add the marinade ingredients.  Stir and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, or 2 hours (covered) in the fridge.

Step Three : Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant, then add the sliced sausage and fry for a further minute.  Add the marinated chicken and the mushrooms to the pan and continue to fry until the chicken turns opaque.  Add half the sweet soy sauce and all the water.  Continue to fry for 2 minutes more (the chicken needs to be nearly cooked through).  Set aside.

Step Four : Wash the rice in cold water and drain, then repeat twice with fresh cold water.  This will get rid of excess starch.  Transfer the drained rice to the clay pot, then fill it with water, until the water sits about 2.5cm above the rice.  Bring it to the boil over a medium heat, then turn down to a low simmer.

Step Five : For about 10 minutes, once the rice has absorbed nearly all the water, put the chicken mixture on top of the rice and cover the clay pot.  Continue to cook on the hob over a low heat for a further 10-13 minutes.  The rice will form a crust at the bottom of the pot.   If using:  serve with Bird’s Eye Chilli and Soy Dip and the Stir-Fried Lettuce on the side.

Feast from the East – Steamed Hake with Garlic Oil and Oyster Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

Steaming fish is a great way to cook it as it stays moist and it locks in all the nutrients. This recipe also works well with seabass and salmon.  Bear in mind, cooking time will vary with different fish.

Steamed HakeServes : 2

Ingredients :
1 spring onion, finely sliced lengthways into strips
small handful of coriander leaves, torn
2 hake fillets (about 150g each), skin on
2 tblsp Garlic oil
2 tblsp oyster sauce

Step One : Place the steamer ring at the bottom of a wok.  Boil some water and pour it into the wok, up to the level of the ring.  Place the wok over a medium heat, and bring it to the boil, then lower the heat a little.

Step Two : Place the spring onion strips in a bowl of ice-cold water with the coriander: this will keep them fresh while the fish steams.

Step Three : Place the hake fillets, skin-side up, in a shallow, heat-proof bowl, making sure they are not overlapping, then add the Garlic oil and oyster sauce.

Step Four : Transfer the bowl to the steam ring, cover the wok and steam for 5 minutes.  Uncover and add three-quarters of the spring onion and coriander leaves to the bowl.  Recover and steam for a further 8 minutes.

Step Five : Carefully remove the bowl from the wok, sprinkle the rest of the spring onion and coriander leaves over the fish and serve immediately.

Feast from the East – Ngau Yuk Fun – Beef Noodles across two borders

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

This is a wonderfully comforting dish influenced by a delicious food stall in Ping’s home town of Ipoh in Malaysia and one in Thailand.

Makes : 2 bowls

Beef noodlesIngredients :
1.5kg beef bones
5cm cinnamon stick
30g fresh root ginger, cut into thick slices, unpeeled
2 star anise
8 cloves
1.7l water
1 1/2 tblsp chicken stock powder
200g mooli or daikon radish, peeled and cut into chunks (optional)
50g calf’s liver, trimmed, very thinly sliced and covered with cold water until required
100g prime beef fillet, very thinly sliced, at room temperature
Few pinches of sea salt
2 x 100g balls of wonton noodles
Vegetable oil for dressing
1 spring onion, finely chopped
4-5 celery leaves
Bird’s Eye Chilli and Soy Dip or dried red chilli flakes, to serve

Step One : Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6.  Place the beef bones in a roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes.

Step Two : Put the roasted beef bones, cinnamon, sliced ginger, star anise, cloves, water and chicken stock powder into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  After 15 minutes of simmering, remove the cinnamon from the stock.

Step Three : Add the mooli or daikon radishes, if using, to the pan after the broth has been simmering for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  Simmer for a further 20-30 minutes, until softened.  If you’re not using the radishes, ignore this step and just simmer the broth for approximately 1 3/4 hours.

Step Four : Strain the broth through a fine sieve into a separate pan and set aside, discarding everything left in the sieve, except the mooli or daikon radishes, if using.  Place these back into the broth.

Step Five : Drain the calf’s liver and pat it dry.  Season the beef fillet and calf’s liver with a pinch of salt and put to one side.  Bring the broth to the boil and season with salt to taste.

Step Six : Bring a separate pan of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and cook the noodles for a few minutes, until al dente.  Drain in a colander.  If the noodles are a little slimy, keep them in the colander and pour over some boiling water to get rid of the excess starch.

Step Seven : Dress the noodles with a little vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together, and divide them between two bowls.

Step Eight : Arrange the slices of beef fillet on top of the cooked noodles.  Place all the slivers of calf’s liver in a large slotted spoon, then lower them into the broth and cook for 10-15 seconds.  Then, lift them out and arrange on top of the noodles.

Step Nine : Take the mooli or daikon, if using, out of the broth and place them around the meat in the bowls.  Make sure the broth is still boiling and ladle it generously over the beef and liver.  Garnish generously with spring onion and celery leaves.

Step Ten : Serve immediately with the Chilli and Soy Dip or a large pinch of dried red chilli flakes.