Saturday, 11 September 2010

Korean spicy chicken stew

This stew is so easy to make. One of those recipes I have repeated time after time when I crave for a warm hearty stew but could not be bother or too tired to hang around long in the kitchen. All I have to do is cut the vegetables and chicken, then just add water and boil till just about tender then add spicy sauce. That is it. Couldn't be simpler, grease free cooking. It does look good with a bight red soupy sauce, lovely strong peppery flavoured but doesn't blow your head off.

The essential ingredients for this stew are Korean chilli powder and Korean fermented chilli paste called gochujang.

Korean chilli powder does look very red but it's quite mild - medim hot. Essential ingredient for making kimchi. I can find it easily at most oriental supermarkets.

Gochujang is a mild - medium hot sticky fermented chilli paste, quite sweet. It is  is available in most oriental supermarkets, usually in a rectangular red plastic box, like this

For this chicken stew here is what I did.

about 650 - 800g chicken with bone (or 500g boneless chicken), leg or breast or any part of chicken
few potatoes, around 400g
2 - 3 medium carrot
about 300g daikon or mooli (I usually put this but this time I don't have any)
1 large onion around 180g peeled

Chicken marinate
1 tbsp light soy
2 tbsp Korean wine or Japanese cooking wine or sake
1 - 2 tsp sesame oil
** If I am too lazy I will leave out the marinate, just add plain chicken to the stew.

2 - 5 tbsp Korean chilli paste, much as you dare/ I normally use about 3 - 4 tbsp
1/2 to 2 tbsp Korean chilli powder, much as you dare. I normally use about 1 tbsp
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 - 3 tsp sugar
2 tbsp light soy

Chopped spring onion for garnish
salt if needed


  • Cut chicken into chunks. Mix with marinate and leave for about 15 - 20 minutes
  • Peel and cut vegetable into bite size or chunks.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together
  • Put vegetables in a pot, add about 1.5 -2 cups of water. Boil/simmer till vegetables are almost tender. 
  • Stir in the chicken. Simmer for few minutes then add sauce. Continue simmering till chicken is cooked. For boneless chicken in small chunks this will take about 10 - 15 minutes after adding the chicken. Chicken with  bone with take longer, from 15 - 25 minutes depending on size.    
  • When chicken is cooked. taste to see if you need more chilli paste, chilli powder, salt or soy to taste. 
  • Its now ready to eat, If you are not in a hurry and the sauce is a bit too runny leave it for a while the potato will absorb some of the liquid. I find the stew actually tastes better sitting around for a while, potato and chicken will absorb the flavour much better. 
  • Before serving sprinkle on some chopped spring onion. 
  • Serve with rice. 

For a change, you can add tofu pieces and kimchi, just as nice. This will make it more like a chigae or jiigae.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Fish fragrant aubergine jiaozi-wartip 魚香茄子味餃子鍋貼

This recipe is inspired by two of my favourites, fish fragrant aubergine and jiaozi dumplings. This isn't a classic recipe but a tasty combination. If you don't believe me give it a try you will be addicted. The dumplings are tasty with a nice spicy flavour. Tasty enough without needing any dipping sauce, but I still make a ginger spicy vinegar to go with.

Unlike standard fish fragrant aubergine, i.e. deep frying the aubergine then braise in a spicy sauce with minced pork, these dumplings' filling used all the ingredients as in the standard fish fragrant aubergine recipe but method is different.

Here is the recipe. This recipe will make about 50 - 55 dumplings. Can half or make1/3 if you want to make less. I can eat 10 dumplings in one go.


A. Filling

1 large or 2 medium small aubergines, about 500 - 600g with the stem on

450 - 500g minced pork (ground pork), or can sub with beef, chicken or turkey
2 tbsp chilli bean sauce or douban jiang (I used Pixian)
4 - 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small chunk of ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper
0.5 - 1  tbsp chilli oil with some of the solid, how much chilli oil depending of how hot you like it, recipe of chilli oil can follow this or this
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
1tbsp light soy sauce
0.5 tsp chicken bullion powder, if you don't like to use this, can leave out or add 1/4 tsp salt or extra tsp soy
1.5 tbsp Chinkiang black rice winegar
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1.5tbsp cornflour

4 - 5 stalks spring onion (scallion), chopped

  • Score the aubergine skin into fine thin strips. Remove stem and cut aubergine into quarters. Place on a steamer and steam on high heat for about 8 minutes or till just tender but not mushy soft. Leave to cool, drain off any liquid. Shred or roughly chop the aubergine. 
  • Put aubergine in a large mixing bowl, add in pork and the rest of the ingredients, except spring onion. Mix thoroughly together. Best mix by hand. Finally add spring onion, lightly mixed together. 

B. Dumpling dough

about 300g white bread flour*
about 150+ ml (g)water (about 50 - 55ml (g) of water per 100g of flour)
extra flour for dusting and coating dough pieces

* Can also use plain flour or all purpose, I find bread flour dough is more elastic, easy to wrap and won't split during wrapping and steaming. Most of all I like the texture better.
* I don't add salt to this dough because the filling is salty enough. You can add some salt if you want to.

  • Add water slowly into flour, mix and gently knead till no more dry flour left. Amount of water needed depends on type of flour, use your own judgement.
  • At this time the dough can be a bit lumpy. Don't worry. 
  • Cover and leave it to rest for about 15 - 20 minutes. Then knead till smooth. 
  • Rest for few minutes to relax the dough. Cut into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a long sausage about 2 cm thick. Cut into small pieces about 8 - 9g each. You should get about 50 - 55 pieces of dough. If the dough sticks to the working surface dust with a little flour before cutting.
  • Coat the small pieces with some dry flour. Cover with dry clean cloth to prevent drying. 

To wrap dumplings

  • Take a piece of dough, roll it out very thin into a round disc about 5 - 6cm wide. Dust dough and rolling pin with flour is dough is sticky.  
  • Put the disk on your hand put on some filling. Fold over into a half moon but do not seal. Pinch the centre part of the folding edge together.
  • Then start pleating. I normally pleat from centre to end on one half side then pleat the other half from centre to end again. Pleating is only on one side of the wrapper facing you or backside whichever way you pleat. One side pleated the other side is flat. By the time you finish pleating pinch the edge so it seal properly. 
** The wrapping method is up to you. There are many methods how to pleat or wrap this type of dumplings. Do what you know best and quickest if you like. Don't spend half a day shaping the dumplings perfect, this is home cooking. If you can't be bother to pleat or don't know how to just fold over and seal without any pleats like a half moon, wrap them like wontons or you can shape the dumplings like in this recipe

Dust a tray or couple of plates with flour then place the dumplings on, do not let dumplings touch each other or they will stick together, cover with clean dry cloth prevent drying. Continue making the rest.

You can wrap what you need. Cook and eat. Keep the remaining dough and filling in the fridge, wrap and cook with 1 - 2 days. Best cook and eat straight after wrapping.

Dipping sauce
Make a dipping sauce by mixing about 2 - 3 tbsp finely shredded or grated ginger, 2 - 2.5 tbsp Chinking vinegar, 1 tbsp light soy sauce and about 2 tsp chilli oil. I like more ginger and I like them shredded more then grated.

I finished wrapping the whole lot of the dumplings per this recipe, half of them I fried making pot stickers dumplings or wartip and the other half I simply boiled like normal jiaozi. One recipe two ways of eating.

To fry dumplings like war tip 
Need some cooking oil, water and a frying pan with lid (best use non stick pan)

Add oil and water and steam fry dumplings

Cooked dumplings ready to flip over onto a plate

Fried war tip with dipping sauce
  • Add some oil to the pan. Heat till warm. Heat on low. Then arrange dumplings anyway you like I like to arrange them circular like a flower pattern. Prettier to tip out when cooked. When done turn the heat up a notch. Fry till base of dumplings is light brown, check by take one or two out to check colour. 
  • Then add about 5 - 6 mm deep of water surrounding the dumplings. (If you use a 30cm pan like I did, you need about 1/2 cup water). Heat on medium high and cover with lid. Let the water boils with the lid on, the steam will cook the dumplings. 
  • When you can hear pan is lightly sizzling when all the water is boiling off. Remove the lid and let the dumplings fry a little longer till the base is golden and crisp. 
  • Now ready to remove onto serving plate. You may need a spatula to loosen the base of dumplings if the pan is not completely non stick. Place a plate on top of the dumplings then tip the pan upside down and all the dumpling will drop onto the plate with golden side facing up.
  • Ready to eat. Best eaten while hot on their own, with dippinig sauce as suggested above or with light soy, chilli oil or sweet chilli sauce. 

To boil dumplings
Optional, for a better taste need some sesame oil and chopped spring onions to dress the dumplings after cooking. Sesame oil also helps to separate the dumplings.

  • Boil a large pan/wok of water till rapidly boiling. Continue on high heat, drop in the dumplings one by one, do not crowd the pan. After about a minute or two, you may need to lift the dumplings with a spatula if they stick to the bottom of the pan. Continue boiling till all the dumpling floats onto the top. Then they are cooked. 
  • Remove and sprinkle on few drops of sesame oil and some chopped spring onion.  Ready to eat with or without sauce. I like it with the ginger vinegar sauce as suggested on this recipe. You can use any dipping sauce you like. 
I am sorry about the quality of some of the pictures, not realizing I got too close to the steaming pan and the lens has a condensation spot affecting some of the final shots.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Sweet corn juk (rice soup) 玉米粥

Sweet corn is in season again. One of the simplest way I like with fresh sweet corn is to make juk for breakfast/brunch. It's so simple just two ingredients plus lots of water. This juk is similar to Cantonese sweet corn soup without the chicken bits, meat stock etc..., very simple but refreshing with a lovely sweet flavour.

Take about 3/4 cup of glutinous rice. Rinse and soak with 1 cup of water for about 1 hour or you can soak this overnight for next morning breakfast. With the water still in it. Rub with your hand to break up the rice grains as fine as you can.

Take 2 - 3 ears of decent size sweet corns. Grate with a coarse or cheese grater. You will get about 1 1/2 - 2 cups grated sweet corn. If you are like me who do not like the skins too much sieve it with an extra coarse sieve or small colander, press the grated corn through with a spoon. Squeeze out juice from remaining skins by hand. Discard skins.

Measure about 5 cups of water, add glutinous rice mixture and boil for about 15 minutes till mixture is thickened. Stir and scrape the pan bottom few times, rice may stick to the pan.
Then add grated sweet corn, boil for another 5 - 8 minutes till liquid is rapidly boiling. Check for thickness if too thick add some more water, if too thin thicken with a little slackened cornflour. Thickness of juk is to your liking. I like it not too thick.

Heat off and ready to serve. I like it plain as it is. You can add some salt if you like and little chopped spring onion or chopped coriander. If you have some goji berries sprinkle few on top this will make it looks pretty and good for you too. If you have some Chinese fried bread stick (you char kway) this goes really well with this corn juk, best use fresh bread sticks or reheated in oven to make sure they are crispy.

**If you have the time before boiling the juk, you can make a stock with the remaining corn sticks after grating. Chop them into small chunks and boil with about 6 cups of water for about 15 minutes. Then strain the liquid. This stock has lots of flavour. Use this stock to replace water to boil the juk.

** If you don't have glutinous rice you can sub jasmine rice or any plain white rice. The texture of the juk will be less sticky and less smooth.

** Can grate and sieve the corn night before and store in the fridge ready for next morning.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Kuih Momo (Kuih Makmur)

It's still Ramadan at the moment. Hari Raya or Eid is coming soon. When I was still living in the Far East, one of the sweet cookies I remembered popular during Hari Raya is Kuih Momo. In Brunei and East Malaysia, these cookies are commonly known as Kuih Momo and in West Malaysia I think they are more commonly known as Kuih Makmur.

Other than Hari Raya, we also make these cookies for Chinese New year. Thus they are some kind of celebration cookies.

These cookies are very rich with ghee with a strong milky flavour. The icing sugar (confectioner sugar) coating makes them look like snow balls. The characteristic of kuih momo is it should melt/crumble as soon as you pop one into your mouth. Thus they are very fragile to handle.

For the recipe there is one unusual traditional step not known in western baking. It's to dry roast (stir fry) the flour prior to mixing the dough. Strange but it works to ensure the cookies melt/crumble easily. I have seen recipes heating the flour in microwave, I find this method unreliable because microwave can lead to uneven heating and burning spot.

Here is the recipe I have been following since I knew how to bake in my young teen. Years ago we never follow an exact quantity recipe, the mix was always by eye or feel only.

Kuih Momo


250g plain flour or all purpose flour
40g icing sugar (if you like a sweeter taste, add up to 75g icing sugar)
75g full cream milk powder*
150g ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk

about 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar (confectioner sugar)

*Full cream milk powder is not common in UK. It is available in some big supermarkets like Sainos at the Asian products shelf, or in most Asian, Chinese or Middle Eastern grocery stores. If you prefer not to use or cannot find full cream milk powder, can sub with skimmed milk powder granules. Granules need to ground to powder using a coffee grinder or mini blender.

  • Add flour to wok or frying pan. Dry fry at medium low heat for about 5 - 6 minutes. Keep stirring the flour to avoid burning till flour becomes very hot and smells lightly nutty. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  • Ground salt with 1 tsp of the dry roasted flour using pestle and mortar to a fine powder. Add this to flour.
  • Add milk powder and icing sugar.
  • Mix dry ingredients together then sieve, break up any large lumps with fingers, remove any remaining gritty grains.
  • Melt ghee in microwave for about 20 - 30 sec. Beat in the egg yolk.
  • Pour ghee and yolk mixture into the dry mixture. Mix with a folk or spoon then finish by rubbing with fingers till dough is evenly mixed.
  • The dough is crumbly but should form a lump when squeeze together.
  • Take a handful of dough, squeeze with hand to form a lump then break it up into smaller pieces. Squeeze each small piece again into a rough lump. Continue forming these little lumps.
  • Lightly roll each lump between palms into a ball without pressure or it will crumble. Size of the momo balls is up to you. I like them quite small about 1.5 - 2cm diameter.
  • Place balls on baking tray (pan) lined with parchment paper, arrange balls with some space for expansion.
  • Preheat oven to 160deg C. Put the tray of cookies in the oven, lower heat to 140 deg C fan oven (or 150 deg non fan oven), bake for about 12 - 15 minutes till light golden. Momo balls will expand slightly after baking.
  • Leave to cool for few minutes till cool enough to pick up by fingers. Then coat generously with icing powder. They are very fragile, be gentle and don't crowd the bowl.

These kuih momo will keep fresh for couple of weeks in airtight container.