Chicken with Bell Peppers意式炖鸡

This colourful one-pot dinner dish is warm and comforting. You may have all the ingredients in your pantry already!

Serves 4

  • 1.2 kg (about 2.5lb) chicken or 900gram chicken thigh, cut into serving pieces
  • salt and black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons        olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 120ml or (1/4 cup)   white wine
  • 2 large bell peppers, red, yellow or green, sliced into small strips
  • 2 big tomatoes, fresh or canned, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Clean the chicken under running water. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Cut the chicken/chicken thigh into serving pieces. Season the chicken with salt ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan or casserole. Add the onions and cook over low heat until soft. Transfer to a side dish.

2. Increase the heat to medium. Add the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes to brown both sides. Return the onions to the pot. Pour in the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in chopped tomatoes. Add chopped garlic. Lower the heat. Cover the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes.

3. Add the pepper strips and stir well to coat. Cook for another 4 – 5 minutes until the peppers have softened and chicken is cooked. Taste and add more salt if needed. Stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Lotus Root and Pork Rib Soup莲藕排骨汤lián ǒu pái gǔ tāng

This is a classic dish of Hubei food, one of the eight major China regional cuisines. Though pink lotus blossoms reach peak bloom in high summer. The rhizomes (the Lotus Root) hidden underneath the plant and in the pond are harvested much later. The most prized rhizomes are the fat, long, juicy specimens that are almost meaty, which is best served in late autumn or early winter.

Serve 3-4

  • 500g (a little over 1LB) pork ribs, cut into bite size
  • 1 tablespoon              cooking oil
  • 2 inches, fresh ginger, sliced生姜
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons    Chinese cooking wine
  • Boling water, as needed
  • 2 lotus roots
  • Salt to taste
  • White peppercorn powder白胡椒粉, optional
  • 1 spring onion, minced
  • 1 sprig, cilantro, coarsely chopped

Method

  1. Soak the pork ribs in cold water for a half hour. Rinse thoroughly and drain. The soaking process helps to get rid of any impurities or blood, to keep the soup clear.

2. In a large stock pot, heat the cooking oil over medium high heat. Place into the pork ribs, and then brown the meat on all sides. Tie the 2 spring onions into knots. Add into the pot the spring onions and sliced ginger. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add into the cooking wine. Cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Cover the ribs with water. Bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot with lid. Cook for about 1 hour until the meat is very tender.

4. While the meat is cooking and almost done, peel and clean the lotus roots. Trim the ends and roll cut them into pieces in inch wide. If you notice any mud at all inside the roots, wash it off carefully.

5. Discard the ginger and spring onions from the pot. Add the salt to taste. Add into the lotus roots. Bring the pot a boil again before lowering the heat to a simmer. Cook the lotus roots until tender, about 30 minutes.

6. Portion out the soup into large individual bowls, sprinkle with white peppercorn powder, chopped green onions and cilantro. Serve hot.

Roasted Sweet Potato with Orange, Honey and Chili 橙汁蜂蜜烤薯条chéng zhī fēng mì kǎo shǔ tiáo

Many root vegetables are really good for us. They are known for their concentrations of Vitamin C, B and A as well as their level of health-promoting antioxidants which help enhance the body’s immune system. These lightly sweet potato chips can be either a good snack choice or served as a side dish for dinner.

Serves 3-4 (as side dish)

  • 900g                                                      various sweet potatoes of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons                                    olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons                                    honey
  • 60ml                                                      orange juice
  • 2/3 teaspoon                                     salt
  • A pinch                                                 black peppercorn            

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C°/400F°.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into the pieces (a little thicker than French Fries). Place the potato pieces in a bowl. Add into the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.

 

Braised Mushrooms and Minced Pork Noodles香菇肉碎面Bak Chor Mee

A typical Singapore hawker staple (street food) that I had always enjoyed and have missed so much. This has to be the only kind of food that I can have for any meals of the day. In Singapore, it’s not often that people tend to cook this from home, partly because of the much efforts involved, partly because it doesn’t make economic sense as it is available for any hawker stalls conveniently located in most of the neighborhoods.

Properly braising mushrooms is the key to make a good bowl of the noodles. The mushrooms have to be simmered long enough to absorb all the flavors. In the hawker center, very often you will see a slow cooker that’s used to simmer the mushrooms for hours and are kept warm all the time so that the mushrooms just get tender and softer.

Although it might seem too cumbersome a dish to prepare at home, but all in all, I took less than an hour to serve up this dish from simmering the mushrooms, to boiling the soup to preparing the noodles. It’s not as intimidating as it seems after all. 

Serve 1 (this is the recipe for 1 serving, just multiply the quantities of the ingredients if you wish to have more servings.)

  • 100g       Chinese egg noodles (click here for homemade egg noodles)全蛋面
  • 50g                        minced/ground pork猪肉末
  • 3 pieces                meatballs肉丸 (available at the frozen section of Asian market)
  • 5 slices                 fishcake鱼饼 (available at the frozen food section of Asian market)
  • Some lettuce
  • 1/2 cup                  mung bean sprouts (optional)豆芽

For the Braised Mushrooms

  • 4 pieces                dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and soaked in hot water. Remove the stem and sliced thinly, 干香菇泡发切丝
  • 250ml                   mushroom water, retained from soaking the mushrooms
  • 200ml                   water
  • 1 tablespoon      oyster sauce蚝油
  • 1 teaspoon          light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 teaspoon          dark soy sauce老抽
  • 10g r                                      rock sugar冰糖
  • 1 star anise八角
  • 3 slices        ginger生姜
  • 3 cloves       garlics, slightly crushed蒜头
  • 2 piece      dried orange peel (optional, to add some tanginess to the sauce)陈皮

For ground pork marinade

  • ½ tablespoon    light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon          corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon          sesame oil
  • A pinch of white peppercorn powder

For the soup base:

  • 300ml stock
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tablespoon            shallots oil (fry the slices of shallots in the oil over low medium heat) or just use a tablespoon of cooking oil
  • A pinch of salt + white peppercorn powder

For the noodles sauce (mix all together):

  • 1 tablespoon sambal paste (this is a spicy paste, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon                      shallots oil (fry the slices of shallots in the oil over low and medium heat) or just use a teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon    braised mushroom sauce
  • 1 tablespoon                      soup base
  • 1 teaspoon                          Chinkiang vinegar

Method

  1. Combine the mushrooms and the braised sauce together and simmer over medium low heat for at least 30 minutes or more. Top up with more water if the sauce gets dry out too fast. You can also braise the mushrooms over a slow cooker for at least 2 hours.

2. Combine the ground pork together with the marinade ingredients, mix well and set aside in the fridge.

3. Combine the stock and water with the shallot oil, salt and white pepper corn powder to make the soup base. Cook till it boils. Add in the meatballs and fish cakes. Cook about 3-5 minutes. When all has floated to the surface of the soup, drain them and set aside. Add in the minced pork into the soup. Cook it briefly till done and drain. Blanch the mung bean sprouts. Drain.

4. Heat up another pot with some water and cook the noodles in the boiling water. Drain once cooked.

5. To serve, get a big serving bowl. Add the noodles sauce to the noodles and stir to mix well, place a few lettuce leaves and some mung bean sprouts. add into the noodles. Top the noodles with braised mushrooms, meat balls and fish cakes. Garnish with some minced spring onions, but this is optional. Serve hot.