Monday, September 3, 2012

Asian Baked Chicken

This is what a perfect week night dinner recipe should be...easy, inexpensive, delicious, and most of all, fast.

I adapted this recipe from here but instead of chopping the aromatics, I grate them.  Much, much quicker.  And all moms know that on week nights, every minute counts!

I marinate the chicken the night before so that I can just pop the entire thing in the oven when I get home.  But if you're using boneless chicken pieces, even just a couple of hours in the marinade is enough.

Anyway, here goes...

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1-2 tbsp grated ginger (depending on how much you like ginger!)
5-6 cloves of garlic, grated
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
10-12 pieces of chicken

For the chicken, I sometimes buy a whole one and have it chopped, or I use a combination of chicken pieces (like in the photo above), or I will also use boneless, skin-on thighs or breasts.  You can use skinless chicken pieces too but I find that it dries up too much before the sauce gets nicely caramelized.

And another tip: When I buy ginger, I cut them up into 2-3 inch pieces and grate as I need. I could never finish those huge pieces and used to end up throwing a lot of shriveled ginger.  Now, I always have fresh ginger on hand.  Plus, if you grate it, you don't even have to peel!  How grate (pun intended) is that?!

On to the rest of the recipe...

In an oven proof dish, mix the first 6 ingredients.  Coat chicken pieces well with the marinade and leave for 12-24 hours in the fridge.  When you're ready to cook, take the chicken out about an hour before to let it come as close to room temperature as possible.  Bake in a 475 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.  Baking time will largely depend on what pieces you decide to use and whether you use bone-in or boneless chicken.  If you don't get that nice crust on top and the chicken is already done, turn on the broiler for a few minutes.  Watch closely because the sugar in the marinade will cause it to burn quickly.

Serve with lots of white rice to sop up all the sticky, sweet, savory sauce.

Chili Mushrooms and Tofu

Stir frying is one of my favorite cooking techniques. It's quick and always produces such excellent results. There are a few things to keep in mind when stir frying though. First, have a HOT pan. Second, have dry ingredients. These two factors will contribute greatly to the success of the dish. Third, make sure the ingredients are cut in relatively small pieces. They will need to cook in a very short period of time so size is important. Fourth, work quickly. Mise en place is especially important when stir-frying. And last, serve the food while it's hot. They Cantonese have a term for the aroma that comes from freshly stir-fried's called wok hay, a concept I came to know through one of my favorite cookbooks.

1 bag pre-fried tofu squares (any Chinese grocery should have this)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used king oyster)
2 stalks green onions, sliced
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. XO sauce ("bits" and oil)
3 tbsp. oyster sauce
3 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp. bland cooking oil with a high smoke point (e.g. peanut, safflower, etc)
few drops of sesame oil

1. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan until very hot. Stir-fry garlic and green onions.
2. Add mushrooms and all the sauces. Stir-fry for a minute or two.
3. Add the tofu. Mix until all the tofu pieces are coated with the sauce.
4. Sprinkle a few drops of sesame oil. Stir a few times.
5. Done!

Braised short ribs

I found this recipe from Anne Burrell and was intrigued by the fact the the mire poix in her recipe is not chopped but pureed.  Plus, she also asks you to from a crud.  Now any recipe with the word crud is certainly worth trying!

Here's the recipe

And here's my finished product:

I have to say, crud makes for very good short ribs!

Sweet and sour meat balls

Once in a while, I like to pretend I'm on Iron Chef or Chopped :)

I had more beef patties left over after I made this so I checked my pantry and looked at what I wanted to finish off.  I found half a bottle of teriyaki sauce, 1/3 bottle of banana catsup, 1 can of mandarin orange slices in syrup and these: packets of ketchup and chili sauce from previous take out and delivery meals:

So I divided up the beef patties into meat balls and stuck them in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes to brown.  Into a sauce pan went the teriyaki sauce, banana catsup, the entire can of oranges with the syrup, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1 diced onion, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, several packets of tomato ketchup, and several packets of chili sauce.

I simmered the sauce for a few minutes then threw in the browned meat balls.  Simmered again for 15 minutes or so until all the flavors came together and the sauce thickened up to just the right consistency.

Success!  I love it when I'm able to put a dish together on the fly, made with ingredients just sitting in the pantry.  And using up the chili sauce and ketchup packets cluttering my kitchen...that was the best part :)

Burger steak

We had a barbeque a couple of days ago and I set up a burger bar here at home.  Chili, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, 3 kinds of pickles, the works.  Of course, true to Filipino form, I bought too much food and now had to contend with lots and lots of burger patties in the fridge.  It's a good thing Son #1 absolutely loves, and I mean LOVES, burger steak.

6 large beef patties (got mine from Costco so they were gigantic) or 12 smaller ones
1 can low-sodium Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, sliced into rings
steak seasoning
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard

1.  In a large pan, brown patties well on both sides.  They don't have to be cooked all the way through, but a nice brown crust is essential.
2.  In the same pan, saute the onions and mushrooms.
3.  Add the mushroom soup.  Fill the can with water and pour that in as well.
4.  Mix in the mustard and season with steak seasoning (alternatively you could use liquid seasoning, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, beef bouillon, or even just salt and pepper).
5.  Place the patties back into the pan, partially submerging them in the sauce.
6.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes until beef is cooked through.
7.  Uncover and continue to simmer until sauce thickens a bit.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

Son #1, this is for you :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Korean Chicken Wings

I'm not happy with the fact there BonChon Chicken does not have a presence in Toronto. I am quite displeased, in fact. So what does one do when one cannot buy Korean chicken wings? One googles a recipe and tweaks it to one's own taste....


48 Chicken Wing Pieces (cut off excess thick skin/fat)

4 Tablespoon of rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon of salt

½ Teaspoon of black pepper

4 Garlic Cloves (whole)

1 Small onion (whole)


Some rice flour (about a cup) for dredging wings

Peanut oil for frying


2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

4 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar

3 Tablespoons of Koh Chu Jang (hot red pepper paste)

4 Garlic Cloves, grated

3 Tablespoons of Thai sweet chili sauce or honey

2 Tablespoon of dark brown sugar


1) Soak wings in cold water for about 5 minutes, drain and repeat 2 times.

2) In the meantime, bring a pot of water to boil and add in all the “A” ingredients. Boil for 5 minutes.

3) Add the chicken wings to the pot and boil until the meat is cooked (do not over cook).

4) Drain the wings in a colander.

5) Lightly dredge wings in with rice flour.

6) Heat up the oil for frying. Fry wings until lightly golden brown and crisp.

7) Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, add all the “C” ingredients. Simmer until sauce thickens (about 5-10 minutes). Should not be too thick, about the consistency of maple syrup.

8) Toss wings in sauce. Add a bit at a time. Don’t put too much sauce or the wings will become soggy.