Chicken Kra-pow

Krapow-Gram-(1-of-1)

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO OF THIS RECIPE.

This might just be the easiest Thai recipe I know. Just a few ingredients in perfect balance for a delicious and authentic meal.

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic
2 large red chilies, seeds removed
500g chicken thigh (you can use breast, or a mixture of the two)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp fish sauce
½ tsp caster sugar
1 ½ cups loosely packed Thai basil leaves
a wedge of lime and a fried egg (optional), to serve 

 

Method

  1. Roughly chop the garlic and chilli together on a board. In a separate bowl, coarsely chop the chicken to your preferred consistency and mix through the oyster sauce.
  2. Heat a wok and add in the oil. Fry the garlic and chili for a few minutes until fragrant and then add in the chicken. Mix the chicken with the chilli and garlic and distribute it over the surface of the wok for a minute or two to caramelise slightly. Toss, then allow to sit in contact with the wok again for another minute. Add in the fish sauce and sugar, toss and continue to fry for another minute or so, moistening with a little water or stock if it starts to get too dry.
  3. Stir through the basil leaves and remove from the heat. Top with a fried egg if you like, and serve with rice and a wedge of lime.

This recipe appears in my third book, Asian After Work.

Asian After Work

 

Steamed Ginger Chicken

Steamed Ginger Chicken

Watch a video of how to make this recipe here.

Ingredients

600g chicken thigh fillets

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp cornflour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

2 spring onions, finely chopped

¼ cup coriander leaves, to serve

Method

  1. Cut the chicken pieces into 5cm chunks. Mix the chicken with the ginger, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, cornflour, salt, sugar and spring onions. Set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Arrange the chicken in a single layer over a heatproof serving plate that will fit inside your steamer. Bring the water under the bamboo steamer to a boil and place the plate of chicken inside. Cover the steamer and steam for 10 minutes for boneless pieces, and 12 minutes for pieces on the bone.
  3. Remove the plate from the steamer and allow to stand for a minute. Scatter the chicken with the coriander and serve immediately.

This recipe is from my book, Asian Cookery School. I hope you like it!

Watch a video of how to make this recipe here.

Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School

Beef and broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

Ingredients

500g rump steak, very thinly sliced on an angle

2 cups broccoli florets

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced

3 thin slices of ginger, bruised

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

¼ cup oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

½ tsp sugar

2 tbsp Coarse stock, Chicken stock or water

1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp cold stock or water

Meat marinade

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 tsp sesame oil

½ tsp cornflour

a pinch of white pepper

 

Method

  1. Combine the beef with the meat marinade ingredients and marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Heat about a cup of water in the wok until boiling, add dash of oil and blanche the broccoli for about 1 minute until it is bight green and slightly softened. Drain and set aside until ready to fry.
  3. Drain the water from the wok and dry the wok over the flame. Add about 2 tbsp oil and add the ginger first then the garlic to the oil, then the onion and fry until the onion is softened. Scoop the onion, ginger and garlic out of the oil and add to the broccoli. Using the flavoured oil left in the wok, fry the beef in batches until well browned. Return all the ingredients back into the wok and toss together. Add the the oyster sauce, soy sauce, stock and sugar and toss to coat. Slowly drizzle the cornflour mixture into the wok while tossing until the liquids thicken and cling to the ingredients. Immediately remove to a plate, rest for a moment and serve with rice and little chilli in soy sauce.

This recipe can be found in my book, Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School.

Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Watch a video of this recipe here.

Taiwanese food is a great mix of local dishes with influences from China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Popcorn chicken is a popular street food and once you try it you’ll see why. The crunchy texture of the sweet potato flour coating is incredible.

Ingredients

600g boneless chicken thigh fillets, preferably skin-on

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp five spice powder

1 cup sweet potato flour

2L oil, for deep frying

1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves

Spiced Salt

1 tbsp salt

¼ tsp five spice powder

¼ tsp white pepper

a pinch of chilli powder

Method

  1. Slice the chicken into 3cm pieces and combine with the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar and five spice powder and set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Toss in the sweet potato flour, shaking off any excess.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan. When the oil reaches 150°C scatter the basil leaves into the wok and stir for about 20 seconds until the basil crisps and turns translucent. Remove from the wok and drain. Increase the heat of the oil to 170°C and fry the chicken in batches for about 3 minutes until golden brown, regularly skimming any floating flour bits from the oil.
  3. For the spiced salt, mix the salt and other seasonings together and toast in a dry frypan over low-medium heat for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. To serve, toss the chicken with the fried basil leaves and a good pinch of the spiced salt. Serve immediately.

This recipe and many more like it can be found in my fourth book, Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School.

Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School

How to Cook Fried Rice – Egg Fried Rice

Egg Fried Rice

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL VIDEO OF THIS RECIPE.

The first thing you need to know about wok cooking is that oil is very important. To carry flavour around your dish, flavour the oil first. If you want to learn good wok technique, this simple fried rice is a good choice.

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 tsp sesame oil

¾ tsp salt

4 cups leftover cooked jasmine rice, cold

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 spring onions, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp soy sauce

¼ tsp white pepper

Method

  1. Beat the eggs with the sesame oil and ¼ tsp of salt. Heat the wok over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Add half the spring onions, garlic and the remaining salt and fry until fragrant. Add the rice and soy sauce and toss to coat in the oil, pressing the rice against the side of the wok to break up any clumps.
  2. When the rice softens and begins to toast, move all the rice to one side of the wok and add the egg mixture to the open side. Stir the eggs until they are nearly set, then combine with the rice. Add the remaining spring onions and white pepper and toss through.

This recipe is from Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School, page 78.

Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School

How to Cook Asian Greens

Oiled Greens

If you’ve always wanted to make Asian greens taste like the dish you order in a Chinese restaurant, this is how.

Ingredients

1 bunch Chinese broccoli (gai lan) (about 250g)

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp vegetable oil

 

Oyster Sauce

¼ cup oyster sauce

¼ cup coarse stock, chicken stock or water

¼ tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp stock or water

 

Method

  1. Trim the Chinese broccoli of any dry ends and rinse it well in cold water. Cut into 10cm lengths, grouping together the thick stalks, thin stalks and leaves separately. Split any very thick stalks in half lengthwise.
  2. Bring 2L of water to a rolling boil and add the salt. Add the thick stalks and boil for about a minute, then add the thin stalks and the leaves on top. Pour over the vegetable oil and boil for a further 2 minutes, occasionally shaking the greens in the water with tongs or chopsticks to coat them in the oil and to dissolve the salt into the water. Remove from the water and drain well.
  3. For the oyster sauce, bring the oyster sauce and stock to a simmer, then add the cornflour mixture. Stir until thickened then remove from the heat.
  4. Serve the greens as they are, or with some of the oyster sauce poured over the top.

CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO OF THIS RECIPE. 

This recipe is from Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School, page 133.

 

Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School

Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny Soup

For more recipes and great food ideas, follow me on Instagram. For recipe videos, hit up my Youtube channel.

This soup was born out of the times of the British Raj, with obvious English and Indian influences. The addition of rice is all important, and I like it when it’s cooked almost to a porridge-y consistency.

Ingredients

1 tbsp each butter and olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic

1½ tbsp curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

2 tsp salt

1 can diced tomatoes (400g)

1.5L chicken stock

½ cup washed uncooked brown rice, or jasmine rice

1 Granny smith apple, peeled and finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 small sweet potato, peeled and finely diced

2 cups cooked shredded chicken (optional)

coriander and yoghurt, to serve

 

Method

 

  1. Heat a large pot over high heat and fry the onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil. Add the curry powder, garam masala, salt and tomatoes and fry for a minute until the spices are fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken stock and the brown rice and simmer covered for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally. Add the apple, carrot and sweet potato and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Adjust for seasoning with a little salt if necessary.
  3. Stir through the Shredded chicken and a little yoghurt, and scatter with chopped coriander to serve.

This recipe is from my third cookbook, Adam’s Big Pot.

Adam's-Big-Pot-Cover-(Low-Res-Web)

Fish Sauce Roast Chicken

Fish Sauce Roast Chicken (1 of 1)

 

For more recipes and great food ideas, follow me on Instagram. For recipe videos, head over to my Youtube channel.

If you sometimes get sick of the same old roast chicken, the sticky Thai flavours in this bird will be a welcome change. Even if you don’t like fish sauce, don’t be deterred; all that’s left of that fishy, pungent taste after roasting is a thick, caramelised glaze that’s full of flavour.

Ingredients

1 whole 1.75kg free-range chicken

1 red onion, peeled and chopped into eighths

Marinade

1/3 cup (80mls) fish sauce

1 whole coriander plant, roughly chopped (including one single root, and all stems and leaves), some leaves reserved for garnish

1 clove garlic, sliced

2 tbsp caster sugar

3 birdseye chillies, finely sliced

juice of ½ lemon

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 180C (fan-forced). Mix all of the marinade ingredients together, and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside while you prepare the chicken.
  2. Rinse the chicken under running water and pat it dry inside and out with paper towel.  [Update: Recent British NHS guidelines released after this post recommend against washing poultry before cooking.] With kitchen scissors or a heavy knife, cut down either side of the backbone of the chicken and remove the backbone completely. Remove the wishbone if you like, as this will make carving the breast easier after the chicken is cooked. Press down on the breast of the chicken to flatten it. (Discard the backbone or, if you prefer, chop it into large pieces and place the pieces into the roasting tray to add more flavor to the pan juices.)
  3. Work your fingers under the skin of the breast and thighs. Spoon the marinade over the inside and outside of the chicken, as well as between the skin and meat, getting as much of the solid ingredients in the marinade under the skin as you can. Place the onion in a roasting tray and lay the chicken skin-side up on top of the onion.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes. Remove the chicken when the skin is dark and caramelised (it will be darker than a normal roast chicken from the caramelised sugars), and the meat is only just cooked through. Rest the chicken in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.
  5. While the chicken is resting, pour the juices from the pan into a jug, leave the onions in the tray. Skim off any liquid fat. Pour the juices back into the roasting pan with the onions and place the pan over heat. Stir the pan juices together with the onions and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Spoon the sauce and onions over the chicken, scatter with the reserved coriander leaves and serve.

This recipe appears in my second cookbook, Asian After Work.

AAW Cover - Web

Asian After Work is finally here!

AAW Cover Shot Landscape (1 of 1)

 

I’m so pleased to announce that after months of hard work and a lot of love, my new book Asian After Work is finally available in bookstores around Australia.

It’s a book full of real Asian recipes that are simple and easy to make, and which use ingredients you can find at your ordinary local supermarket. It’s the kind of stuff I used to cook for years when I worked an office.

You can read a little more about the book here.

If you’re outside Australia, don’t worry. I’ll update this post with further news of international releases as I find out about them. There may even be a bit of a surprise coming too 😉

UPDATE (11 October 2013): Asian After Work is now available WORLDWIDE as an ebook through iTunes HERE!

Very shortly I’ll be posting a few sample recipes from the book on this site so please check back soon.

I really want to thank the fantastic team that helped put it together. My publisher Vanessa Radnidge at Hachette, my editor Jacquie Brown, my exceptional stylist Lisa La Barbera, the best home economist in the business Nick Eade, the amazing Steve Brown who photographs all my books, and the design king Reuben Crossman. Most of all though I’d really like to thank my wife, my grandmother and my mother (to whom I’ve dedicated the book). Strong, caring and inspiring women who I am lucky to have in my life.

I hope you enjoy the book. It’s one I’m just so proud to have written.

Happy cooking!

Adam

AAW Cover - Web

 

 

Authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice

This post has been through a number of revisions of the years. A few little changes to the recipe as my style of making it changes, as well as additional information added for those who want to know a little bit more about the dish. You can jump ahead to the recipe and video below, but if you want to read on I’ve now included a bit of background on one of Southeast Asia’s most influential dishes.

For those new to it, Hainanese Chicken Rice is a dish primarily attributed to Malaysia and Singapore although versions exist in Thailand (khao man gai) Vietnam (com ga) and Indonesia as well. It was created by migrants from the island of Hainan in China’s far south who arrived in Southeast Asia around the turn of the 20th century. My family is Hainanese, and my grandfather arrived in Malaysia from Hainan in around 1915.

The dish itself is based on a traditional Hainanese delicacy called Wenchang chicken. Specific free-roaming chickens from the Hainanese town of Wenchang are fed on peanut bran, coconut and various other things and they are famed for their generous fat, flavourful meat and tender skin. The most prized birds are the capons, huge 3-4 kilogram castrated roosters with incredible flavour. On Hainan, the Wenchang chickens are usually boiled just in salted water with the pure flavour of the bird itself. It’s then served with a sauce of some kind, which can vary from establishment to establishment. One popular sauce is made from salt-fermented crushed yellow chillies. The orange-coloured ginger and chilli sauce served with Hainanese chicken rice in Southeast Asia is an adaptation of this.

Wenchang chickens on Hainan.

Cooked Wenchang chicken as served in Haikou, Hainan.

Of course, the dish is Hainanese chicken rice is very different from its origins in Wenchang chicken. The elements are generally (1) free-range or kampong chicken poached in a broth This recipe is my own, a combination of what I learned from my Hainanese grandmother (my grandfather passed away before I was born), my Singaporean-English mother, and my elderly cousin who ran a very popular chicken rice stall in Singapore for more than 40 years (it’s now closed).

I’ve written about Hainanese Chicken Rice for the Wall Street Journal (Chicken Rice for the Soul) and published versions of this recipe in two of my six cookbooks (my grandmother’s “Original Recipe” in Two Asian Kitchens) as well as this updated and version which appears in my latest book Destination Flavour: People and Places, which is a combination of recipes from my SBS television series of the same name.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

1 large whole chicken (about 1.7 kg), at room temperature

5cm fresh unpeeled ginger

2 tsp salt

1/2  tsp monosodium glutamate, or 1 tsp chicken stock powder (optional)

1 tbsp sesame oil

coriander, to serve

sliced cucumber, to serve

 

Ginger and spring onion oil

2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

½ tsp salt flakes

4 spring onions, thinly sliced, green tops reserved

¼ cup peanut oil

 

Chicken Rice

3 1/3 cups (675g) jasmine rice

1/4 cup (approx.) vegetable oil

4 garlic cloves

2 eschallots, roughly sliced (or 1 brown onion, roughly sliced)

2-3 pandan leaves (optional)

 

Dressing

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 cup chicken stock from poaching chicken

 

Chilli Sauce for Chicken

4-6 red birds-eye chillies

6 thick slices of peeled fresh ginger

6 garlic cloves

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 cup chicken stock from poaching chicken

2 tbsp calamansi lime juice (or other tart citrus juice)

2 tbsp rendered chicken fat (or other oil)

 

Method

For the ginger and spring onion oil, pound the ginger and salt to a rough paste with a heatproof mortar and pestle. Add the spring onion and pound lightly to combine. Heat the peanut oil in a small frypan until it is smoking then pour the hot oil over the ginger mixture. Stir, then set aside until ready to serve.

For the chilli sauce, pound the chilli, ginger, garlic, sugar and salt together in a mortar and pestle until very smooth. Pounding chilli can take some time so to speed up the process you can start it in a blender or food processor and pound to finish, or grate the ingredients into the mortar using a rasp grater. Add the boiling stock to the pounded mixture. You can vary the amount of stock depending on the consistency of the chilli sauce you’re after. Stir in the juice, then adjust the seasoning if necessary so that the balance of sweet, sour and salty tastes is pleasant. Heat the chicken oil in a small saucepan until hot, the pour over the chilli mixture and stir to combine.

Remove the fat deposits from inside the cavity of the chicken, near the tail. Roughly chop the fat and place in a small frying pan over very low heat to render. Render the chicken fat, stirring occasionally for about an hour until you all the fat is rendered and the solids are crisp. Remove the solids and use them for another purpose. Reserve the chicken oil.

To begin poaching the chicken, pound the unpeeled ginger in a mortar and pestle and add to a large pot containing about 4 litres of water, along with the tops of the spring onions used for the ginger and spring onion oil. Add the salt and MSG or chicken stock powder (if using) and bring to the boil over high heat. Taste the water and adjust the amount of salt so that it tastes savoury and a little salty. Reduce the heat to very low and add the chicken to the pot. There should be enough water in the pot so that the chicken doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot, as that will cause the skin to tear. Lift the chicken in and out of the water a couple of times to change the liquid in the chicken’s cavity. If you have poultry hooks, use them to hang the chickens in the pot (see video below). The water should now be steaming but not bubbling. Keep the heat low at this level and cook the chicken for 45 minutes.

Using the poultry hook (or slotted ladle), carefully lift the chicken out of the pan, ensuring you don’t break the skin, and plunge into a large bowl or sink of salted iced water. Reserve the stock and stand the chicken in the iced water for at least 10 minutes, turning once. This will stop the cooking and give the skin its delicious gelatinous texture. Remove from the iced water and hang over a bowl or the sink to drain well. Rub the skin all over with the sesame oil. The chicken should be cooked very lightly, pink inside the bones and with a gelatinous skin.

To make the chicken rice, pound the garlic and eschallot (or onion) to roughly bruise with a mortar and pestle. Combine the rendered chicken oil with vegetable oil to make ½ a cup of oil. Heat in a wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger stir until starting to brown, then strain through a sieve. Reserve the oil and discard the solids. Place the rice in a rice cooker or heavy-based saucepan. Add about 1.2L of the reserved stock from the chicken (strained) and the reserved flavoured chicken oil (or use the proportions as indicated on your rice cooker). Tie the pandan leaves in a knot (if using) and add to the rice. If cooking in a pot, bring to the boil over high heat and continue to boil for about 5 minutes until the level of the liquid reaches the top of the rice, then reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and cook for 12 minutes, then remove from the heat and stand for another 10 minutes.

For the dressing, combine the ingredients with about half a cup of the stock from cooking the chicken. When the rice is ready, use a cleaver to slice and debone the chicken Chinese-style and pour the dressing over it. Scatter with the coriander sprigs, and serve with sliced cucumber, tomato and serve with the rice and sauces.

Family-style chicken rice.

Key Tips for Hainanese Chicken Rice

  • The key to this whole dish is seasoning the stock. If you find the stock, chicken, rice or sauces taste a little insipid, it is because the stock is not correctly seasoned. Taste the stock after cooking the chicken, it should taste like a strongly savoury chicken stock. If it tastes weak, add a little more salt. You can also boost it with a dash of fish sauce if you like, or some MSG if you are not opposed to it. Alternatively, do as I mention in the video and cook 2 chickens at once.
  • Please don’t overcook the chicken. A slow, gentle simmer for 45 minutes will produce chicken with a very pale pink blush to the meat and the inside of the thigh bones should be bright pink. If they are brown or grey the chicken is over cooked. That’s OK, but the texture will not quite be right.
  • Often in Singapore this will be served with thick black cooking caramel or kecap manis over the chicken, but I prefer the sesame dressing included here.
  • When making the chilli sauce, look for the colour of the sauce, rather than following the recipe exactly. It should be a bright orange, and that colour will give you a good indication of the proportion of chilli to ginger and garlic. The heat of the sauce should depend on the kind of chillies used, not the amount. The flavour of chilli in this sauce is more important than the heat.

This recipe appears in my new cookbook, Destination Flavour: People and Places (2018) which follows my travels across my SBS television series of the same name. The book covers Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Singapore and China.