The Making of Mexican Tacos

Last Friday, my colleagues and I went to a Mexican joint for lunch, where I had a burrito with extra spicy salsa. One of the signature of Mexican food is their spiciness, and God knows how I love spicy food! So I came across the idea of making my very own Mexican meal for dinner last weekend, much to the amusement of Saucer. As a beginner, I didn’t want to go through the trouble of making my own spices from scratch, so I decided to opt for the quick DIY way, using one of the established Mexican recipes from Old El Peso. Instead of Burrito, I decided to make crispy tacos!

Old El Peso

Mexican Tacos

The first thing I did was to head to the local supermarkets and hunt for the Mexican food aisle. Once I was there, the bright yellow Old El Peso packages were hard to miss. So I started browsing through them to look for the crispy taco shells and a spicy mix! I chose the most spicy level that I could find from the aisle, which was the Chili Spice Mix.

P1100471

Old El Peso Taco Shells and Chili Spice Mix

Old El Peso

Recipe at the back of the Taco Shells box

And as a bonus, there was even a recipe at the back of the Taco Shells box! That saved me the trouble of hunting for the right recipe to use the spice mix. Using the recipe as a guide, I modified a few steps and ingredients since I didn’t have some of them at home. For example, I substituted the beef with chicken, and omitted the cucumber. Here is the adapted version of my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 brown onion chopped
  • 400g chicken thigh fillet chopped
  • 2 small carrots grated
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 bunch of coriander chopped
  • 1/4 iceberg lettuce sliced
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Old El Peso Chili Spice Mix
  • 8 Old El Peso Taco Shells

Steps:

1. Heat oil in frying pan and brown the onions until they are soft.

2. Add in grated carrot and chicken cubes. Cook for about 5 minutes.

3. Add in Spicy Chili Mix and 3/4 cup of water. Simmer until sauce thickens (it took me about 5 minutes).

4. In the meantime, chop tomatoes and coriander and mix them in a bowl to create fresh salsa.

5. Preheat oven to 180C and spread out the taco shells on a baking tray. Bake them for about 5 minutes.

6. Finally, remove taco shells from the oven and chicken from the stove.

7. Start dressing your own taco shells with spicy chicken, fresh salsa, lettuce and some grated cheese on top.

Old El Peso

Adding in chicken and grated carrot to the soft onions

Old El Peso

Salsa and lettuce ready to be served

Old El Peso

Spicy chili chicken Mexican style

Old El Peso

Fresh salsa

Old El Peso

The complete Mexican Tacos meal

I loved how spicy the chili mix was! It had a nice kick that was not overpowering yet fragrant and flavorful. The best part was, the spicy chili chicken was so versatile that we could eat it with not just tacos, but with a piece of wrap or even a slice of toasted baguette. It’s all in the flavor. It’s such a simple meal that I prepared in less than 20 minutes, and the plus point is I was given the thumbs-up by Saucer too! And that, my friends, is part of getting your way to a man’s heart. :)

Old El Peso

Mexican Chili Chicken Taco

Mexican Chili Chicken Tacos
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • ½ brown onion chopped
  • 400g chicken thigh fillet chopped
  • 2 small carrots grated
  • 2 tomatos chopped
  • 1 bunch of coriander chopped
  • ¼ iceberg lettuce sliced
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Old El Peso Chili Spice Mix
  • 8 Old El Peso Taco Shells
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in frying pan and brown the onions until they are soft.
  2. Add in grated carrot and chicken cubes. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in Spicy Chili Mix and ¾ cup of water. Simmer until sauce thickens (it took me about 5 minutes).
  4. In the meantime, chop tomatoes and coriander and mix them in a bowl to create fresh salsa.
  5. Preheat oven to 180C and spread out the taco shells on a baking tray. Bake them for about 5 minutes.
  6. Finally, remove taco shells from the oven and chicken from the stove.
  7. Start dressing your own taco shells with spicy chicken, fresh salsa, lettuce and some grated cheese on top.

Home-Made Char Kuey Teow

Whenever I describe Char Kuey Teow to someone in Australia, he/she would immediately say, “That sounds like Pad Thai!”. While Pad Thai may have some similar ingredients as Char Kuey Teow, they are definitely not the same dish, in that the sauce and preparation are very different. Having worked in Penang for a good few years before this, I have had my share of authentic Penang Char Kuey Teow (really, the only place to find the best Char Kuey Teow in the world) that I have not been able to find anywhere else in the country. Some versions of Char Kuey Teow in KL were pretty decent, but they were just not quite the same. Now that I’m in Sydney, it’s even harder to find a good plate of Char Kuey Teow, not to mention an authentic Penang-flavoured one! Therefore, I put it as a mission for myself to cook up a plate of Char Kuey Teow on my own, just to satisfy my cravings. Of course, what I get is still a far cry from the original version, but I’d have to make do with whatever ingredients and equipment I have to come up with the best that I can. :)

Char Kuey Teow

Home-cooked Char Kuey Teow

Ingredients:

Chilli paste:

  • 8 dried chillies (soaked in water)
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies (optional)
  • 1 large shallot or 2 medium shallots
  • Dash of salt

Sauce:

  • 5 tbsp of light soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • Dash of salt and white pepper

Others:

  • 10 prawns deshelled
  • 500g flat rice noodles / hor fun
  • 2 Chinese sausages / lap cheong sliced
  • 300g bean sprouts
  • 20 slices of fish cake
  • 5 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 stalks of spring onions chopped into 4-cm lengths
  • Cooking oil

Char Kuey Teow ingredients

Some of the ingredients – prawns and fish cake slices

Lap cheong

Lap cheong / Chinese sausage

Steps:

1. Blend the ingredients of chilli paste until fine.

2. Heat the wok with 2 tbsp of oil and fry the garlic until slightly golden.

3. Add in the chilli paste and stir fry until fragrant.

4. Add in the prawns and fry until they turn orange in colour.

5. Add in the fish cake slices and Chinese sausages and fry until the fat of the sausages start to melt.

6. Add in the flat rice noodles, give a few good stir and pour in the sauce mixture.

7. Stir fry until the sauce covers all the noodles, and make space to break the eggs on the pan/wok.

8. Break the eggs and stir fry the noodles at high heat.

9. Lastly, add in the bean sprouts and spring onion.

Char Kuey Teow

Char Kuey Teow

The Char Kuey Teow turned out to be hot and spicy, just the way I like it. The drawback though, was that I don’t have a gas cooker at home, only an electric cook top. That meant that I couldn’t use a wok and flame to get the wok hei (heat of wok) that’s required to make this dish brilliant. Given what limited resources that I had, I was pretty satisfied with the outcome, and quite proud of myself too! I’m hoping that in the future, when we do get a gas cook top with a proper wok, I could improve on the taste of this home-cooked Char Kuey Teow. :)

Char Kuey Teow

4.0 from 1 reviews
Char Kuey Teow
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Malaysian
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
Chilli paste:
  • 8 dried chillies (soaked in water)
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • 2 bird's eye chillies (optional)
  • 1 large shallot or 2 medium shallots
  • Dash of salt
Sauce:
  • 5 tbsp of light soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • Dash of salt and white pepper
Others:
  • 10 prawns deshelled
  • 500g flat rice noodles / hor fun
  • 2 Chinese sausages / lap cheong sliced
  • 300g bean sprouts
  • 20 slices of fish cake
  • 5 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 stalks of spring onions chopped into 4-cm lengths
  • Cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Blend the ingredients of chilli paste until fine.
  2. Heat the wok with 2 tbsp of oil and fry the garlic until slightly golden.
  3. Add in the chilli paste and stir fry until fragrant.
  4. Add in the prawns and fry until they turn orange in colour.
  5. Add in the fish cake slices and Chinese sausages and fry until the fat of the sausages start to melt.
  6. Add in the flat rice noodles, give a few good stir and pour in the sauce mixture.
  7. Stir fry until the sauce covers all the noodles, and make space to break the eggs on the pan/wok.
  8. Break the eggs and stir fry the noodles at high heat.
  9. Lastly, add in the bean sprouts and spring onion.

Kai See Hor Fun

Growing up in Perak, it is a given that we have had some experience with Kai See Hor Fun or Nga Choy Kai in Ipoh at some point or other in our lives. The likes of Lou Wong or Onn Kee are common to anyone who visits Ipoh for the famous and smooth hor fun / flat rice noodles and tender chicken. So what happens when we live so far away from Ipoh and yet crave for the heartwarming good hor fun? DIY! Granted, there are a lot of variables that could make or break this dish, but when one is desperate, one can’t be too fussy. :) So here is my simple Kai See Hor Fun recipe, inspired by the Ipoh-style nga choy kai (bean sprouts with chicken). The recipe for poached chicken is similar to the one I used for Hainanese Chicken Rice, but for ease of reference, I’ll copy and paste it again here.

Kai see hor fun

Kai See Hor Fun / Flat rice noodles with chicken

Flat rice noodles soup

Slippery smooth!

Ingredients:

a) For Chicken

  • 1/2 a chicken (free range preferably)
  • 2 stalks of scallions
  • 1/2 bulb garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger (about 2 to 3 inches long)
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 3 tsp of garlic and shallot oil
  • Coriander

b) For noodles

  • 500 g of fresh hor fun / flat rice noodles
  • 10 medium size prawn heads
  • Shallots
  • Coriander
  • Cooking oil
  • Coriander
  • Bird’s eye chillies
  • Soy sauce

c) For Beansprouts

  • 500 g of bean sprouts
  • Dash of white pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Shallot oil
  • Coriander

Flat rice noodles soup

Poached chicken with hor fun

Bean sprouts

Bean sprouts

Flat rice noodles soup

Serve with bird’s eye chillies and soy sauce

Steps:

a) For Chicken:

1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Make sure the water level can cover the whole chicken when it’s dipped in.

2.Marinate chicken with salt and sesame oil by rubbing them in liberally on the surface. Remove excess chicken fat.

3. Peel the garlic cloves, chop the scallions into about 3cm length and slice the ginger before putting them all into the boiling water.

4. Once the water is boiling hot, place the chicken into the water and let it boil for about 5 minutes.

5. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the chicken simmer inside the hot water for about 30 minutes (or more depending on the size of chicken). If you’re worried about the chicken being too pink (like me), turn on the heat again after about 15 minutes, and turn it off once the water starts boiling.

6. Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a big bowl filled with ice water. Let it soak for about 2 minutes.

7. Drain the ice water and chop the chicken into pieces.

8. Drizzle chicken with garlic and shallot oil and soy sauce. Garnish with coriander.

Kai see hor fun

Complete Kai See Hor Fun meal

b) For Noodles:

1. While the chicken is boiling, heat up a small pot with about 4 tablespoons of oil.

2. Fry the prawn heads until they turn crispy and the oil becomes orange-red in colour.

3. Drain the oil into a bowl and set aside.

4. Once the chicken is cooked, blanch the noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until they are soft and disintegrated.

5. Place the noodles in a boil and pour chicken stock (from the poached chicken) onto the noodles. You can flavour the chicken stock at this point by adding in more salt or chicken stock cubes if required.

6. Drizzle with 3 teaspoons of prawn oil to get that orange colour and nice fragrance.

7. Garnish with some fried shallots and coriander.

c) For Beansprouts:

1. Blanch the beansprouts in boiling water for about 3 minutes (until water is bubbling).

2. While waiting, heat up some oil and fry shallots until golden and fragrant.

3. Transfer the cooked beansprouts to a plate and drizzle with some shallot oil.

4. Add a dash of white pepper and soy sauce onto the bean sprouts, and garnish with coriander.

Ipoh kai si hor fun

Perfect meal for a cold winter night

To me, this bowl of hor fun was perfect during a cold night. Somehow, the act of slurping smooth and slippery noodles is just therapeutic, and coupled with the piping hot soup, it really is food for the soul.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Kai See Hor Fun / Flat Rice Noodles soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Malaysian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
a) For Chicken
  • ½ a chicken (free range preferably)
  • 2 stalks of scallions
  • ½ bulb garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger (about 2 to 3 inches long)
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 3 tsp of garlic and shallot oil
  • Coriander
b) For noodles
  • 500 g of fresh hor fun / flat rice noodles
  • 10 medium size prawn heads
  • Shallots
  • Coriander
  • Cooking oil
  • Coriander
  • Bird's eye chillies
  • Soy sauce
c) For Beansprouts
  • 500 g of bean sprouts
  • Dash of white pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Shallot oil
  • Coriander
Instructions
a) For Chicken:
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Make sure the water level can cover the whole chicken when it’s dipped in.
  2. Marinate chicken with salt and sesame oil by rubbing them in liberally on the surface. Remove excess chicken fat.
  3. Peel the garlic cloves, chop the scallions into about 3cm length and slice the ginger before putting them all into the boiling water.
  4. Once the water is boiling hot, place the chicken into the water and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
  5. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the chicken simmer inside the hot water for about 30 minutes (or more depending on the size of chicken). If you’re worried about the chicken being too pink (like me), turn on the heat again after about 15 minutes, and turn it off once the water starts boiling.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a big bowl filled with ice water. Let it soak for about 2 minutes.
  7. Drain the ice water and chop the chicken into pieces.
  8. Drizzle chicken with garlic and shallot oil and soy sauce. Garnish with coriander.
b) For Noodles:
  1. While the chicken is boiling, heat up a small pot with about 4 tablespoons of oil.
  2. Fry the prawn heads until they turn crispy and the oil becomes orange-red in colour.
  3. Drain the oil into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, blanch the noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until they are soft and disintegrated.
  5. Place the noodles in a boil and pour chicken stock (from the poached chicken) onto the noodles. You can flavour the chicken stock at this point by adding in more salt or chicken stock cubes if required.
  6. Drizzle with 3 teaspoons of prawn oil to get that orange colour and nice fragrance.
  7. Garnish with some fried shallots and coriander.
c) For Beansprouts:
  1. Blanch the beansprouts in boiling water for about 3 minutes (until water is bubbling).
  2. While waiting, heat up some oil and fry shallots until golden and fragrant.
  3. Transfer the cooked beansprouts to a plate and drizzle with some shallot oil.
  4. Add a dash of white pepper and soy sauce onto the bean sprouts, and garnish with coriander.

Chinese Steamed Fish Recipe

Today’s post is contributed by a guest writer, Tom Lee, who is also a lover of fish!

The following recipe is something that I ate all the time when I was younger. Coming from a family with a Chinese heritage, steamed foods were very common. My favorite was a soy sauce steamed fish. The finished product looks like it would take quite a bit of effort to make, but in reality it’s one of the simplest dishes ever! There are only 7 ingredients and the whole process takes just 10 steps. Hope you enjoy it!

Steamedfish

Chinese Style Steamed Fish

Ingredients:
–  2 Stalks of Green Onions / spring onions
–  2 inch Piece of Ginger Root
– ¼ Teaspoon Chopped Thai Chilies (Optional)
– 2 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
– 1/8 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
– 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
– 4 Ounce Halibut Fillet

SteamedFishPREP

Ingredients

Instructions:

1. Julienne the green onions and ginger into 2 inch strips.

2. In a heat safe plate (one that will fit on top of a steamer plate/basket), place some of the julienned green onions on the plate. You want enough to separate the halibut from the plate itself, but also save some to top on the fillet after it is done steaming.

3. Cover the top of the fillet with the ginger.

4. Fill your pot or pan with about an inch of water and turn the heat on high. When the water is boiling place your fish in there, on top of the steamer plate/basket, and steam for 5 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakey.

5. While the fish is steaming, grab another small pot or pan and bring the tablespoon of canola oil to a boil.

6. In a separate bowl mix 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with equal parts water and 1/8 teaspoon of sesame oil (½ of a ¼ teaspoon or about 2 drops).

7. When the fish is done, you will want to carefully pour out all the water that has collected around the fish from the steam. An alternative is to transfer the entire fillet to a new plate. Whichever is easier. Keep the green onions that are on the bottom of the fillet, but discard the ginger on top.

8. Put the rest of the green onions on top of the filet, as well as the Thai chilies. If you prefer something without a kick, then the chilies can be omitted.

9. Carefully pour the hot oil over the green onions and chilies that are on top of the fillet.

10. Without putting the oil pot/pan back on a heat source, pour the soy sauce mixture into the pot/pan to heat up the mixture a little bit from the residual heat. Then proceed to pour over the fish. Here you can pour as much or as little sauce as you want, depending on how saucy you like your dishes.

About the guest writer:

My name is Tom and I grew up in sunny Southern California. I came over to the United States from China when I was about 8 months old. Although I have been living in the United States since then, I have always eaten very traditional Chinese foods growing up. I never even had a hamburger until I was in middle school. I owe this to my Grandma and Mother who cooked such wonderful tasting food, for such a long time. As I ventured off to college I saw family less and less. However, my cravings for the food they made kept increasing. That’s when I started looking into making food for myself. Having no culinary experience, I was pretty intimidated. However, after doing some research, it turns out that there are many recipes that are very simple. Once I realized that cooking could be simple, I started cooking more and more. This is how I began to create recipes that are easy to make, affordable, and healthy.

Tom Lee is a business development associate for the Santa Barbara Fish Market where you can support local fishermen and buy fresh seafood online or buy fresh fish online.

Chinese Steamed Fish Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 2 Stalks of Green Onions / spring onions
  • - 2 inch Piece of Ginger Root
  • - ¼ Teaspoon Chopped Thai Chilies (Optional)
  • - 2 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • - ⅛ Teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • - 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • - 4 Ounce Halibut Fillet
Instructions
  1. Julienne the green onions and ginger into 2 inch strips.
  2. In a heat safe plate (one that will fit on top of a steamer plate/basket), place some of the julienned green onions on the plate. You want enough to separate the halibut from the plate itself, but also save some to top on the fillet after it is done steaming.
  3. Cover the top of the fillet with the ginger.
  4. Fill your pot or pan with about an inch of water and turn the heat on high. When the water is boiling place your fish in there, on top of the steamer plate/basket, and steam for 5 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakey.
  5. While the fish is steaming, grab another small pot or pan and bring the tablespoon of canola oil to a boil.
  6. In a separate bowl mix 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with equal parts water and ⅛ teaspoon of sesame oil (½ of a ¼ teaspoon or about 2 drops).
  7. When the fish is done, you will want to carefully pour out all the water that has collected around the fish from the steam. An alternative is to transfer the entire fillet to a new plate. Whichever is easier. Keep the green onions that are on the bottom of the fillet, but discard the ginger on top.
  8. Put the rest of the green onions on top of the filet, as well as the Thai chilies. If you prefer something without a kick, then the chilies can be omitted.
  9. Carefully pour the hot oil over the green onions and chilies that are on top of the fillet.
  10. Without putting the oil pot/pan back on a heat source, pour the soy sauce mixture into the pot/pan to heat up the mixture a little bit from the residual heat. Then proceed to pour over the fish. Here you can pour as much or as little sauce as you want, depending on how saucy you like your dishes.

 

Easy Lasagne Recipe

One of the recipes that I love to follow when the weather is cold and I feel lazy is a good Lasagne. I have only started to make lasagne after I moved to Australia, simply because I always thought it to be something too rich and filling to cook for 2 people. But during the cold winter months here, one can really eat more than usual! :) So I scouted around for recipe and after some trial and error, came up with my own modification of a quick and simple lasagne recipe. I love this recipe because I only need to spend about 20 minutes preparing and cooking the ingredients, then chuck it into the oven and let the house be filled with the glorious smell of cheese! I can even use the time while it is in the oven to take a good long shower and food will be ready right after that. :)

IMG_2879

Lasagne fresh from the oven

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 100g button mushrooms sliced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 slices pork bacon chopped
  • 575g bottle of tomato pasta sauce
  • 6-8 pasta sheets
  • 2 cups thick cream
  • 2 cups grated / 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Steps:

1. Heat the olive oil on a large frying pan.

2. Add in garlic and onion and fry until fragrant and onions are soft.

3. Add in bacon slices and fry for 2 minutes.

4. Add in beef mince and stir fry until brown.

5. Add in mushrooms and pepper.

6. Pour in pasta sauce and season with pinch of salt and pepper.

7. Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

8. While waiting for the sauce to be ready, preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced.

9. Spoon 1/4 of the pasta mixture onto a baking dish.

10. Drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of cream on the mixture.

11. Drizzle 1/2 cup or 2 slices of cheddar cheese on it then cover with pasta sheets.

12. Repeat steps 9 to 11 for 2 more times.

13. Pour the remaining pasta sauce on the top layer of pasta sheet and drizzle the rest of cheddar and parmesan cheese.

14. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.

15. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is golden. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

IMG_2883

Glorious piece of cheesy lasagne

Easy Lasagne Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Quick and easy lasagne for a cold winter day.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 100g button mushrooms sliced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 slices pork bacon chopped
  • 575g bottle of tomato pasta sauce
  • 6-8 pasta sheets
  • 2 cups thick cream
  • 2 cups grated / 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil on a large frying pan.
  2. Add in garlic and onion and fry until fragrant and onions are soft.
  3. Add in bacon slices and fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add in beef mince and stir fry until brown.
  5. Add in mushrooms and pepper.
  6. Pour in pasta sauce and season with pinch of salt and pepper.
  7. Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
  8. While waiting for the sauce to be ready, preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced.
  9. Spoon ¼ of the pasta mixture onto a baking dish.
  10. Drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of cream on the mixture.
  11. Drizzle ½ cup or 2 slices of cheddar cheese on it then cover with pasta sheets.
  12. Repeat steps 9 to 11 for 2 more times.
  13. Pour the remaining pasta sauce on the top layer of pasta sheet and drizzle the rest of cheddar and parmesan cheese.
  14. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.
  15. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is golden. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

The Perfect Hainanese Chicken Rice

Everyone’s definition of perfect is different, so when I claim this to be the perfect Hainanese Chicken Rice, I really mean it’s perfect for me. My version of the perfect Hainanese Chicken rice is that the rice is flavourful, fragrant, not overly oily, fluffy and not soggy. Saucer had the cravings for Hainanese Chicken a couple of weeks back, and asked if I could make it. Make it? Why, I had never made it before, so I was caught by surprise. But being a person who welcomes challenges, I took it upon myself to give it a try. The first time I did it, the chicken was slightly undercooked with more pink areas that I’d like and the rice was too dry. The second time I did it, the chicken was slightly better, but the rice was still not up to par. And they said, third time’s a charm, and it was! This time, the rice turned out to be exactly how it’s supposed to be, and not even Saucer could find a fault with it. And hence, the recipe has to be recorded for my future records. :)

Hainanese Chicken rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice

There are 3 main components to a complete Hainanese Chicken Rice dish, and they are the chicken, the rice and the chilli sauce. Most recipes require a whole chicken to be poached in order to prepare this dish, but since there were only 2 of us, I only cooked half a chicken at a time.

Ingredients:

a) For Chicken

  • 1/2 a chicken (free range preferably)
  • 2 stalks of scallions
  • 1/2 bulb garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger (about 2 to 3 inches long)
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 3 tsp of garlic and shallot oil
  • Coriander

b) For Rice

  • 2 cups of rice
  • Approximately 40-50g of chicken fat/skin
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 garlic bulb chopped
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 piece of ginger (about 2 to 3 inches long) sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cubes chicken stock (1cm x 1cm cube ~ 4g each) – I used Continental chicken cubes
  • Pinch of salt

c) For Chilli Sauce:

  • 5 red chillies
  • 3 bird’s eye chillies
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger (about 2 inches long)
  • 2 pcs lime

Hainanese Chicken

Hainanese chicken

Steps:

a) For Chicken:

1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Make sure the water level can cover the whole chicken when it’s dipped in.

2.Marinate chicken with salt and sesame oil by rubbing them in liberally on the surface. Remove excess chicken fat (especially near the chicken bottom) for cooking rice later.

3. Peel the garlic cloves, chop the scallions into about 3cm length and slice the ginger before putting them all into the boiling water.

4. Once the water is boiling hot, place the chicken into the water and let it boil for about 5 minutes.

5. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the chicken simmer inside the hot water for about 30 minutes (or more depending on the size of chicken). If you’re worried about the chicken being too pink (like me), turn on the heat again after about 15 minutes, and turn it off once the water starts boiling.

6. Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a big bowl filled with ice water. Let it soak for about 5 minutes.

7. Drain the ice water and chop the chicken into pieces.

8. Drizzle chicken with garlic and shallot oil and soy sauce. Garnish with coriander.

Hainanese Chicken rice

Chicken rice

b) For Rice:

1. Wash 2 cups of long grain rice and drain.

2. On a frying pan, heat the cooking oil and chicken fat. You can find plenty of chicken fat near the chicken bottom.

3. When the oil is hot and chicken fat starts to melt, throw in the chopped garlic and shallot and sliced ginger. Fry until lightly browned.

4. Pour in the rice and stir fry for about a minute.

5. Add in sesame oil and dash of salt. Fry rice for another minute or two.

6. Transfer rice into rice cooker.

7. Melt the chicken stock using the soup from the chicken in a). Use in total 2 cups of soup for the rice.

8. Give the rice a good stir when it’s cooked before serving.

Chilli sauce

Chilli sauce

c) For Chilli sauce:

1. Blend the red chillies, bird’s eye chillies, garlic and ginger until fine.

2. Add in juice of 2 limes.

3. Add in about 3 tbsp of chicken soup from a) (or more if you prefer a more liquid texture).

Hainanese Chicken rice

Perfect chicken rice – fluffy, flavourful and fragrant

Finally, serve all 3 components together for a completely satisfying Hainanese Chicken Rice meal. The chicken was smooth, tender and juicy, and the chilli sauce had a nice kick to it. Remember, the trick is not to completely boil the chicken in boiling water or it will turn out to be hard and dry! I am keen for anyone out there to try out this recipe, especially the chicken rice, because both Saucer and I absolutely love it!

Hainanese Chicken rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice with the works

Hainanese Chicken Rice
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
For Chicken
  • ½ a chicken (free range preferably)
  • 2 stalks of scallions
  • ½ bulb garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger (about 2 to 3 inches long)
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 3 tsp of garlic and shallot oil
  • Coriander
For Rice
  • 2 cups of rice
  • Approximately 40-50g of chicken fat/skin
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • ½ garlic bulb chopped
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 piece of ginger (about 2 to 3 inches long) sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cubes chicken stock (1cm x 1cm cube ~ 4g each) - I used Continental chicken cubes
  • Pinch of salt
For Chilli Sauce:
  • 5 red chillies
  • 3 bird's eye chillies
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger (about 2 inches long)
  • 2 pcs lime
Instructions
For Chicken (a):
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Make sure the water level can cover the whole chicken when it's dipped in.
  2. Marinate chicken with salt and sesame oil by rubbing them in liberally on the surface. Remove excess chicken fat (especially near the chicken bottom) for cooking rice later.
  3. Peel the garlic cloves, chop the scallions into about 3cm length and slice the ginger before putting them all into the boiling water.
  4. Once the water is boiling hot, place the chicken into the water and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
  5. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the chicken simmer inside the hot water for about 30 minutes (or more depending on the size of chicken). If you're worried about the chicken being too pink (like me), turn on the heat again after about 15 minutes, and turn it off once the water starts boiling.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a big bowl filled with ice water. Let it soak for about 5 minutes.
  7. Drain the ice water and chop the chicken into pieces.
  8. Drizzle chicken with garlic and shallot oil and soy sauce. Garnish with coriander.
For Rice:
  1. Wash 2 cups of long grain rice and drain.
  2. On a frying pan, heat the cooking oil and chicken fat. You can find plenty of chicken fat near the chicken bottom.
  3. When the oil is hot and chicken fat starts to melt, throw in the chopped garlic and shallot and sliced ginger. Fry until lightly browned.
  4. Pour in the rice and stir fry for about a minute.
  5. Add in sesame oil and dash of salt. Fry rice for another minute or two.
  6. Transfer rice into rice cooker.
  7. Melt the chicken stock using the soup from the chicken in a). Use in total 2 cups of soup for the rice.
  8. Give the rice a good stir when it's cooked before serving.
For Chilli sauce:
  1. Blend the red chillies, bird's eye chillies, garlic and ginger until fine.
  2. Add in juice of 2 limes.
  3. Add in about 3 tbsp of chicken soup from a) (or more if you prefer a more liquid texture).