Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fortune cookies for the new year

Fortune cookies for the new year

[Recipe] Chicken Arroz Caldo

Chicken Arroz Caldo
It was raining hard a few days back and sometimes the weather would remind me of a particular food that I would like to eat. The wet and cool atmosphere made me think of 2 things. Hot Chocolate and a steaming bowl of Chicken Arroz Caldo. The next day I was in the grocery near my home hunting down what I would need to cook this dish back home. I was not able to find some of the ingredients (like the safflower or kasubha - so made do with turmeric for the distinctive pale yellow color of the dish), but I think I was able to make a decent enough dish. I am therefore pleased to share this recipe with all of you. :) (OK I admit that by the time I cooked this dish the weather was so hot but that did not prevent me from enjoying a piping hot bowl of Chicken Arroz Caldo in the confines of my air conditioned room with the thermostat set to very cold haha).

Ingredients:
1/2 Kilo Chicken Wings (or whichever parts you prefer cut into small pieces)
5 pcs Hard boiled eggs, shelled
1 Cup Uncooked Rice, washed and drained
2 liters chicken stock
1 small finger sized Turmeric, peeled and cut into fine strips (used primarily for coloring) 
2-finger sized Ginger, peeled and cut into big sticks then lightly crushed (I prefer them big so that I can set it aside and not accidentally eat it)
4 cloves of Garlic (minced)
1 medium sized white Onion, roughly diced
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons Dried Safflower (or Kasubha)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Toppings:
Minced Garlic, fried golden brown
1 Tablespoon spring onion (or alternately chives), chopped


Preferred Condiments:
Calamansi, squeezed over the bowl
Patis (Philippines Salty Fish Sauce - or alternately can use Thai Fish Sauce)


Optional: Try substituting 1/3 of the rice above with glutinous rice for thicker texture


Directions:
In a big pot, heat the vegetable oil in high heat and saute the garlic and onions with salt and pepper. Mix in the turmeric and then the chicken pieces. Brown the chicken slightly in the oil then pour in the chicken stock and the ginger and cover until it boils. Add the rice to the pot and let it boil without the cover for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature and cover the pot and let simmer stirring occasionally for another 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked (should be soft). Add more water if necessary (if the porridge is becoming too thick - the amount of water the rice will absorb will depend of the variety of rice used). It is OK if the porridge is a bit bland since you can add the Patis on the dish later. Stir in the Safflower and the hard boiled eggs just before you turn off the heat. Top with crunchy fried garlic and spring onions. Enjoy while piping hot with your preferred condiments (I suggest Patis and Calamansi).

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Fruits for the New Year

Fruits
It is a family tradition of our to always have 12 fruits on the table when welcoming the New Year and this year is no exception. With my parents visiting we went out and explored what fruits are available here in Malaysia favoring those that are not too common back in the Philippines. So what did we have in our list of fruits for the new year?


  1. Rambutan 
  2. Langka 
  3. Kiwi 
  4. Grapes 
  5. Mangosteen 
  6. Apples 
  7. Pear 
  8. Grapefruit 
  9. Navel Oranges 
  10. Durian 
  11. Lanzones 
  12. Dragon Fruit  

Pomegranates


plus Pomegranates since I actually thought they were Persimmons (haven't seen one before) and I was curious what it tasted like. My parents have gone back home and now I still have all these fruits in my refrigerator. Durian-Kiwi shake anyone? :-/

Oh and I don't know if I would ever get rid of the smell of Durian in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

[Recipe] Pato Tim (Duck)

Pato Tim
I had my parents come over and visit me over the Christmas and New Year holidays and that meant good home cooked meals (actually it is more of me cooking for them rather than my mother cooking for me). We were contemplating on what will be the main dish of our New Year feast and considering the availability of local ingredients, we decided on making Pato Tim which is very similar to the Pata Tim. It is a Filipino-Chinese dish with a savory-sweet sauce traditionally prepared during special occasions. I actually did not have much experience cooking duck but I do have a recipe for Pata Tim so I based it from there. I needed help in finding out how to prepare the duck though (thanks Google) to render out the duck fat from that fatty layer just underneath the skin. Hope you all enjoy the recipe and feel free to add suggestions in the comments section. Oh by the way, my parents loved it and my mother asked me to write down the recipe here :)


Ingredients:
1 to 1.5 Kilos Dressed Whole Duck (I cut out the head and the feet but it all depends on your individual preference of course)
1 small can pineapple tidbits in syrup (about 300 grams) do not drain
1 cup sliced straw mushrooms
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 cups roughly chopped Chinese Pechay
1 cup Asparagus tips
1/2 cup celery stalks chopped
3-5 pieces Star Anise (optional) 
1-2 rolls of cinnamon bark (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized onion, quartered
1/2 pinkie finger sized ginger cut into strips (not your standard cooking measurement and you may want to adjust that since I have a big finger haha)
3 pieces Bay Leaves 
2 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
2 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
2 Tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon ground dried oregano
1 can 7-UP or Sprite (or alternately you can use brown sugar to sweeten to taste)
1/4 cup thick Soy Sauce or 1/2 cup Light Soy Sauce
1/3 cup Oyster Sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt to taste


Directions:
Preparing the duck: After thawing the duck (if you bought your duck frozen like what I did), poke holes on the skin of the duck all over with a pointed knife so that the fat can render out during cooking. On a steamer, steam the duck for at least an hour to let the fat render out.


On a separate pot (a big Wok in my case - big enough to fit in the duck and you can still cover it properly), saute the garlic and onions in vegetable oil until garlic is golden brown, add the mushrooms into the mix then the ginger followed by the whole can of pineapple tidbits, syrup and all. Add the Bay leaves, cinnamon bark, Star Anise, ground peppercorns, oregano and pour in the rest of the liquid ingredients namely the oyster sauce, the soy sauce, the Worcestershire sauce, the white vinegar and the 7-Up or Sprite. Bring to a simmer while waiting for the duck.


After an hour has passed, place the steamed duck on the pot with the simmering sauce. Try to bathe the duck with the sauce inside out (using a pair of tongs to firmly hold the duck)then let simmer in the sauce first on one side then on the other so that the duck gets all the flavors all over. Cook for another hour or so. Then place the duck on a deep baking dish (I use a non-stick Tefal pan with removable handles for this) and broil in the oven until brown. Let the remaining sauce reduce in the pot and do all the necessary last minute adjustments on the taste (at this point you may want to remove the star anise, cinnamon bark, and bay leaves). Add the Pechay (stalk first then the leaves) and the chopped asparagus and on a small bowl dissolve the corn starch in water and combine with the reducing sauce to let it thicken. Pour the sauce into the browned duck on the baking dish and bake for another 10 or so minutes.