Easy Chicken ‘n Rice

This recipe is easy because it is basically a dump-the-ingredients-into-the-pot recipe.  The secret to this dish is a rice cooker!  A rice cooker is a staple in Asian kitchens, and while I’ve seen high-tech ones (with goodness-knows how many settings), for me, nothing beats the simple standard!

First thing to do – make the Ginger Dipping Sauce!

Grate some fresh ginger to measure about 2 tablespoons. Squeeze ginger juice out of the grated ginger in a bowl (keep the ginger juice!!!) Mix the grated ginger with 1 teaspoon minced spring onions, green part only, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon canola oil, and a pinch of salt. Let the mixture sit in the fridge until the dish is ready.

Next, rinse 700 grams of boneless chicken thighs and pat dry.  Slice the chicken into bite size pieces, then marinate, for 30 minutes, in a mix of:

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon light soya sauce
1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
the reserved ginger juice from the grated ginger earlier
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon shao xing wine
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Meanwhile, prepare the following:

1 piece Chinese sausage, sliced thinly (but I omitted this)
about 6 large pieces dried mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced into strips
(reserve 1 tablespoon of the mushroom soaking liquid)

1-1/2 cups white rice grains, rinsed clear (I use Dinorado, not laon variety)

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced into matchsticks
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon mushroom soaking liquid
1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
3 cups chicken stock, more or less, depending on the type of rice used

Place the rice grains into the rice cooker (I don’t remember the capacity of our rice cooker but it is definitely not a big one. This recipe fills it to the brim). Place all other ingredients in it (do not include the chicken pieces). Stir lightly, cover, then turn the rice cooker on. Cook until the mixture is bubbly and rice grains are puffed but not yet done.

Using tongs, place the marinated chicken on the rice (do not pour in the marinade). Cover and cook further. If the rice cooker goes on “keep warm” check if the rice is done (move chicken slightly to expose rice and get a small teaspoonful to check). If the rice is done, leave on “keep warm” 5 more minutes then turn off. If the rice is still undercooked, press the “cook” button after 5 to 10 minutes to cook further.

When the rice is done, garnish with sliced spring onions and serve with ginger dipping sauce.

NOTE #1 – the chicken pieces should not be too big or it will not cook fully.
NOTE #2 – the dish can be served as faux “Claypot Chicken Rice”. When the rice is done, mix the rice and chicken together before serving.

Enjoy!

I served this to “the boys” and it was gone in an instant!!!

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Braised Chicken Thighs & Eggs

This recipe is a winner! I know because the extremely picky kid ate everything on her plate!

The recipe –

about 8 thin slices of ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
about half or whole tablespoon of whole black peppercorns

8 pieces chicken thighs

12 pieces dried shitake mushroom, rehydrated, reserve soaking liquid
100 grams cooked chestnuts, optional
boiled eggs, optional

4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 pieces star anise
2 pieces whole cloves
1 piece cinnamon stick
1 to 2 pieces dried chili

Rinse the chicken thighs and remove the fatty membranes. Pat dry.

Sauté half the garlic, ginger and peppercorns. Add the chicken skin side down. Cook (don’t stir) chicken about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms on top of the chicken, and all the seasonings. Add enough water to just cover the chicken. When the sauce starts to simmer, turn the chicken over and lightly mix. Leave to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is done (don’t overcook). If the liquid evaporates too much, add some hot water. To add more flavor, use the mushroom liquid, by tablespoons.

Don’t forget the chestnust and eggs, if using – add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Make sure that the eggs get enough color from the sauce.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

Roast Chicken over Scalloped Potatoes

My little electric oven is such a treasure!  While my gas-fired baby oven is my ultimate favorite (after all I have been baking with it for more than 3 decades – so now you know how old I must be!), my little electric is really more convenient since there’s usually just 4 or 5 of us.  It is just a bit larger than a toaster oven (but yes, it is a fully functioning oven, with rotisserie too!). The largest sized pan that can fit in it is a 9-inch square and even that is a bit pushing it.

Still, it is absolutely perfect for half a batch of cake, 6 cupcakes, a regular brownie or a dozen cookies or so. And for meals? It is just right! A whole chicken with the rotisserie function (but no, a turkey or a super jumbo chicken won’t fit) or half a chicken in a baking pan.

Take this roast chicken meal… quick and easy, and best of all, tasty!

6 pieces chicken legs, cleaned and patted dry
salt and pepper, to taste

5 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly
1/2 cup shredded mixed cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan mix)
butter
1/4 cup 35% whipping cream
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Make slits on the chicken legs.  Rub the chicken legs with salt and pepper (I like using sea salt), place some between the skin and meat as well.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 375F.

Butter a baking dish (mine is about 6 by 8 inches.  Arrange half the sliced potatoes in the pan, sprinkle the shredded cheese all over.  Top with the remaining half of potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour the cream and milk over the potatoes.

Arrange the chicken legs over the potatoes.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is done, at 165/170F internal temperature.  Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

Adobong Manok at Atay

Chicken and Liver Adobo

My family prefers the pork variety of adobo to the chicken variety. But hubby and B’s lola like liver; and liver cooked adobo-style is especially tasty for them. So, since the other family members do not particularly care for liver, I mix in chicken so that everyone can eat! Win-win, right?

My recipe for Chicken and Liver Adobo is a bit different from our favorite pork adobo, although the basics are similar – adobo is adobo after all.

500 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs
300 grams chicken liver (remove any other attached organs)
5 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons sukang puti
1/2 cup chicken stock or plain water, or more as needed
Bay leaf

First thing to do is to mix the adobo sauce together – soy sauce, vinegar and half of the smashed garlic. Let it sit for a minutes while the chicken and liver are being cleaned. I remove the white fatty, slimy thingies from the chicken and slice each piece in half to form chunky pieces. Clean the liver as well and remove any slime, and other non-liver parts.

Marinate the liver in about 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce, and the chicken in the remainder of the sauce. Do not marinate together in the same bowl.

Meanwhile, heat some canola oil in a pan. Flash fry the liver but do not cook all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add oil in the pan, if needed. Sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add the peppercorns. Add the chicken pieces (don’t pour in the marinade yet). Stir fry a couple of minutes, until the surface of the chicken is lightly browned. Pour in the rest of the marinade and the chicken stock; add the bay leaf as well. Simmer about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked just about through.

Pour in the liver and simmer several seconds more or until the liver is just cooked. It is crucial not to over-cook the liver.

This is the saucy, soupy kind of adobo. For the other kind – the oily kind, take the chicken (and liver if desired) out of the sauce/soup and sauté for a few minutes in hot oil, adding adobo sauce if necessary. And that’s it!

Now, I have beed asked a few times why I flash fry the liver first and add it again later. Honestly I don’t know the reason. All I know is, that has been the way it has been done in the family. I will admit, however, that at one time I was feeling lazy and skipped the flash frying of the liver and just dumped it toward the end of the cooking. It just was not the same… so even if I was feeing lazy, I didn’t skip the flash frying… instead I would skip the pre-marinating part! 🙂

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts and Mushrooms

Once in a while I cook for my mom and when I do, I always try to make the dish no-salt-added.  Why?  Because she developed hypertension early (in her late 30s I think) and since then she has tried to reduce her salt intake.  So her taste buds (and ours, too because she cooked reduced salt for everyone!) favors the blander side of food.

When I cook of course I use soy sauce and other condiments to flavor the dish, but if the dish is for my mom, I would never add table salt or sea salt, or fish sauce.  Of course it goes without saying, we don’t use MSG.

It is not easy to please my mom, but somewhere along the way, I stopped trying.  I just send over the dish and if she has no complaints, then it’s good news to me!

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts and Mushrooms, no salt added.

400 grams boneless, skinless chicken wings
12 pieces dried shitake mushroom, rehydrated, reserve soaking liquid
100 grams cooked chestnuts
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
about 8 thin slices of ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 pieces star anise
1 piece cinnamon stick
1 to 2 pieces dried chili
3 stalks leeks, sliced diagonally, white and green parts separated
boiled eggs, optional

Rinse the chicken thighs and remove the fatty membranes.  Slice each into 2 or 3 chunks.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of mushroom soaking liquid, half the ginger, half the garlic, star anise, and cinnamon stick.

Saute the remaining garlic and ginger, onion, dried chili, and white part of the leeks.  Add the chicken and marinade.   Add the mushrooms and chestnuts.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  If the mixture seems too dry, add reserved mushroom liquid by tablespoons.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the boiled eggs in the last 3 to 5 minutes, if using.  Thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Garnish with the green part of the leeks.  Serve immediately.

The secret to the dish is the very flavorful mushroom soaking liquid!

Marjoram Citrus Roasted Chicken Thighs

One my most favorite chicken dishes! The best part is it is soooooo easy to make. Here is the recipe:

5-8 pieces chicken thighs, with bone
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rock salt, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced thinly
1 lime, sliced thinly
1/2 an orange, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram

Rinse the chicken pieces clean and pat dry.
(note re the chicken, if using large pieces 5 will do, for smaller pieces, use 8.)

Mix together the oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken in a 9-inch pie plate (I used a glass baking dish), skin side up. Pour the olive oil mixture over the chicken pieces and make sure that they are well coated. Arrange the slices of lemon, lime and orange all around and even under the chicken. Sprinkle the fresh marjoram all over.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 45 to 60 minutes.

 

Chicken Gyros

The “boys” haven’t been around for a while, but tonight they’re here!  So they are having something that hubby really likes!

Chicken Gyros with Tatziki, My Way…

Chicken:
1/3 cup olive oil
juice from 1 large lemon
6 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt

750 grams boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips

Mix all marinade ingredients together. Add the chicken and mix until the chicken is well coated with the marinade. Set aside in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When it’s time to cook, heat a skillet until very hot and cook the chicken until done (do not over-cook!)

Tatziki:
1 large cucumber, grated, water squeezed out
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
juice from half a lemon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or as desired
fresh ground black pepper
splash of olive oil

Mix all ingredients and store in the fridge until ready to serve/eat.

tomatoes, sliced thinly
onions, sliced thinly
iceberg lettuce, sliced thinly

pita bread or soft tortillas

To serve, warm the pita bread and/or tortillas. Add shredded lettuce, onions and tomatoes. Top with chicken and tatziki. Fold the tortilla and enjoy!

Baked Chicken and Potatoes

When I was young ( a long time ago! ), the turbo broiler was a popular kitchen appliance.  We often had turbo roasted chicken.  The seasoning/s we used were rather simple – rock salt, pepper, garlic and calamansi.  The problem I usually had with the turbo broiled chicken was that it was almost always a dry bird!

But, to be honest, I didn’t know if the dryness was because of the turbo broiler or human error.  In any case, the turbo broiler was never a priority in my kitchen because it seemed to me to be a heavy, bulky appliance that was only good for one thing…  And since I have my little electric oven that was a rotisserie as well, I did not really need a turbo broiler!

What I wanted was a taste of my childhood chicken sans the dryness!

Unfortunately the market was out of whole birds, so I had to settle for the drumsticks.  But I forged ahead…

There wasn’t a “real” recipe for the chicken of my childhood…. it was more of a just do this and that and pop it in the broiler thing – basically juice from several calamansi would be rubbed all over the chicken.  Then a mixture of rock salt, coarsely ground black peppercorns and minced garlic would be rubbed on the chicken and under the skin ( if there were gaps ).  The chicken would then be placed in a cellophane bag and left in the fridge for at least an overnight.

In the present case, I thought since I veered away and used chicken drumsticks, I might as well make another change, which was to put thinly sliced potatoes under the chicken… the drippings from the chicken would surely make the potatoes really tasty!!!

And it did!  The chicken was even better than I remembered as a child and the potatoes? well, let’s just say the hubby is a happy hubby!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inasal na Manok

Hubby is predicting that our electric bill is going to skyrocket, with the baking I am doing with the small electric oven!

But I am just soooo excited!  And I’m having fun with it.  Especially the rotisserie function.  Here’s my second chicken project – the Inasal Chicken.

Inasal Chicken is a local dish of Bacolod, in the Western Visayas (Panay region) and its neighboring provinces.  The chicken is marinated in native vinegar, calamansi, achuete and pepper, then roasted, in pieces on a wooden skewer, on a charcoal grill.

My chicken inasal, at least for this occasion, is not grilled over charcoal.  Instead I cooked it rotisserie style.  I really like the rotisserie function of my ovenette – it enables me to multi-task.  I put the chicken in and leave it to roast.  I go and do whatever else that needs to be done and violà, an hour and a half later, we get to eat!  Isn’t that wonderful?

The recipe –

1 whole chicken, about 1.2 kilograms, cleaned and patted dry

8 cloves garlic, grated
1-1/2 tabelspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup sinamak (spiced coconut vinegar)
1/3 cup pure calamansi juice
2 to 3 stalks tanglad (lemon grass), white part only, smashed
reserve the green part
1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 tablespoon fresh coarsely ground pepper
a pinch of annatto powder

Clean the chicken and pat dry.  Place the chicken inside a ziplock bag.

Combine the marinade ingredients together.  Pour into the ziplock bag containing the chicken.  Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 48 hours, turning the chicken every 4 to 6 hours.

Skewer the chicken on the rotisserie rod, stuff the cavity with the reserved green part of the tanglad (lemongrass) and (as I prefer) tie the chicken securely.  Roast the chicken at 240C for about 70 minutes.  Check the inner temperature of the chicken.  It should be between 75C to 77/78C.  Alternatively, chop into pieces, skewer on wooden sticks and cook over charcoal.

I got my recipe from a friend who claims to have gotten it from a native of Bacolod.  She says that the secret is using sinamak, the native spiced vinegar.  Sinamak is also the condiment served with the chicken.  Sinamak can be purchased at the supermarket but it is not difficult to make your own!  (Recipe coming up in the next entry!)

Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie chickens from the grocery store or the neighborhood “iwahan” (grillers) are life-savers! Whenever I am pressed for time (or feeling lazy), I just buy a rotisserie chicken and serve that for lunch or dinner. Extra bonus that leftovers (rare as they may be) can easily be transformed into other dishes!

I have long wanted to try and make my own rotisserie chicken. But for me to do that, I needed a rotisserie! And I didn’t have one because it was bit too much to buy a rotisserie for that specific purpose, and it would take too much space in the kitchen.

So I would roast the chicken in my big gas oven… and I would worry about the gas consumption!!! and truth be told, the oven is way too big for a single chicken cooking inside (the oven can actually fit a small piglet for lechon!)

Fast forward to the present when our microwave exploded (yes, it kinda did when it sparked, put out a soft “boom” and died). We don’t really need a microwave (we only got one when we were displaced by Ondoy and lived elsewhere) so I thought of getting a small electric oven instead. But even then I never got around to buying one although I went around looking.

Until I found a small electric oven that had a rotisserie and grill function… and a very reasonable price!

Guess what the first thing I did after getting the oven?

Yep, I went out and bought a whole chicken!  And as my mother taught me, smaller chickens are more tender and flavorful.  So I never bought a whole chicken that weighed more than 1.2 kilograms!  Besides there’s just 4 of us plus a little kid who does not like eating… so a small-ish chicken is good enough for us.

As for the marinade, I found several in my mother’s recipe files… here is the first one I tried:

1 whole chicken, about 1.2 kilograms, rinsed, cleaned and patted dried

1 cup Sprite (or 7-Up)
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (optional)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh, coarse ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt (not iodized refined salt)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Mix the marinade ingredients together.  Place the chicken in a ziplock bag and pour in the marinade.  Here is the secret – leave the chicken to marinate for 3 whole days!  Yes, 3 whole days!  Just flip and massage the chicken every half day or so.

Then, AFTER the 3 day-marinating period, skewer the chicken on the rotisserie rod and, if desired, tie the chicken securely (this is so the chicken stays put while the rotisserie rod goes round and round).

Roast the chicken at 240C for about 70 minutes.  Check the inner temperature of the chicken.  It should be between 75C to 77/78C.

If you like a bigger chicken, then the same marinade can be used for a chicken up to 2 kilograms, but it would be necessary to turn the chicken more often.  Roasting time is about 80 to 90 minutes.

If you don’t have a rotisserie, the chicken can be roasted in an oven.  But I have discovered that if it is to be roasted in a roasting pan in the oven, it is better to butterfly the chicken so that all of the skin is browned evenly.

Enjoy!!!!

(My next chicken project is… Inasal Chicken!!!)