Chicken

Meals for homeless – poached chicken with oyster sauce (FODMAP friendly)

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This is a simple and delicious meal with whole chicken(s) and a few other ingredients –  oyster sauce, sesame oil, ginger, shallot and corn flour.  For a FODMAP friendly recipe, use only green part of the shallot.

Meal for homeless - slow poached chicken with oyster sauce and green shallot (FODMAP friendly)

Here are the easy steps:

Chicken feet and corporate greed

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Chicken feet and corporate greed

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”. Winston Churchill.

I thought of corporate greed.

They share their goals and visions loud and proud – the best interest of shareholders.  They sack as many workers as possible, and take the fat and bones out of the operation until it is on the verge of collapse.  This enables them to harvest bonus, and enjoy big fat golden handshakes when the real situation unfolds.

Does it have to be like that?  Why can’t corporations work for the best interest of all stakeholders including their customers and employees?

Corporate greed reminds me of chicken feet – skin and bone, tasty, yet unfulfilling as a meal. If a worker is struggling to feed his family and put a roof over their heads  – is this meal a blessing or misery?

Collaboration with Woofy Comics
Collaboration with my son @ Woofy Comics

Cooking method is as follows:

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Meals for the homeless – Indian spiced chicken

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This week, I made some Indian spiced chicken drumstick fillets for our homeless friends.

I marinated the chicken thigh fillets with garlic and ginger paste, yogurt, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, mustard oil, sesame oil, salt and black pepper. Then I grilled the chicken pieces until they are cooked.

Pan fried spiced chicken fillets

Fried rice with Asian spices, and memories of Auntie Wong (gluten free option)

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Fried rice with Asian spices

I first learned how to use Asian spices from my best friend’s late mother whom I dearly called Auntie Wong.

Growing up in Malaysia, Auntie Wong was an acrobat in a circus, and later became a self-trained dentist. ‘How do you install a denture for an old lady without a single tooth,’ she laughed,’ luckily I was young and good looking then, I asked male dentists for helps and was never refused’.

Auntie Wong migrated to Australia in early 1980s with her three daughters. She ran a small take away shop in Glebe, an inner Sydney suburb, selling Malaysian fast food. To supplement the limited income from the shop, in the evenings she made spring rolls for catering companies. My friend Mei, the youngest daughter, helped with the spring rolls while she was still in primary school.

Some years later, Auntie Wong saved up enough money and bought a studio apartment. Auntie and Mei lived there for many years, sharing a bed. In their tiny but always welcoming home,  Auntie Wong cooked me many heart-warming meals. The smell of delicious food filled the small space, and what a wonderful place it was.  My favorite dishes were the Singapore meat and bone soup, noodles with salmon XO sauce, and fried rice with Indian spices.

While enjoying meals, auntie told me many of her life stories. I was always inspired by her amazing abilities to adopt to changes, and her keen spirit for new adventures.

Here is my version of a spiced fried rice  – simple, aromatic and satisfying, with fond memory of Auntie Wong’s kindness and love. 

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Snow fungus (雪耳), goji berries (枸杞) and chicken soup

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Snow fungus, goji berry and chicken soup

Cantonese love soups.

There are soups for every weather condition, every season and very occasion. There are soups to warm your body, or to cool your temper. The key to a good soup is to balance all the ingredients for maximum nurturing effect. Snow fungus with goji and chicken is one of these well-balanced soups that can rejuvenate your mind and soul.

Snow fungus, also known as the silver fungus, is sometimes recognized as the champion of all fungus.  Historically it was used by the royals and rich families as a remedy to boost their health, with supposedly nurturing effects for internal organs, skin and brain, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects.

Goji berries as a herbal remedy, was documented in various ancient Chinese medicine compendiums dated as early as the 1500’s. Today, it is a common Chinese ingredient with supposedly positive effects on liver, kidney, sore back, joints, tiredness and poor eye sight. Families use it frequently in soups and teas.

Sounds like a magic, doesn’t it. The soup is warm, gentle and comforting. Hope you will like it.

Easy method is as follows:

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Meals for the homeless – chicken siumai dumplings

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Winter is here, and it rained most days last week. It was very uncomfortable for our rough sleepers. So I made an extra effort to make them some chicken siumai dumplings.

Although time-consuming, chicken siumai dumplings are very easy to make. My simplest version has only a few key ingredients – wonton wrappers, chicken mince, chicken bouillon powder, salt and white pepper, and cooking oil for pan-frying.

Meals for the homeless - chicken siumai dumplings

I first made the meat paste, then wrapped the dumplings. I steamed the dumplings, following by pan-frying the dumplings slightly, so they won’t stick during transit to the homeless feed.

The easy method is illustrated as follows:

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Shandong shredded chicken, memory of a cranky Mr. Chen (FODMAP friendly option)

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Shandong Shredded Chicken

As the years went by, I found myself complaining more – the traffic, the bad drivers, so many conflicts around the world. Why can’t everyone just do the right thing, and the world could be a better place?

Some days, I thought I might have turned into a cranky person, like Mr. Chen.

Mr. Chen was a university friend to my father. During the culture revolution, his family was labeled as the enemy of the state. His house was searched, and wealth stripped; his father was prosecuted and thrown into jail; and Mr. Chen himself without a job or means to support himself.  Like many others ahead of him, he took the dangerous journey to the Pearl River Delta, jumped into the river, and swam across the sea to seek freedom.  He was shot at by the soldiers, but fortunately landed safely in Hong Kong.  Worked as an engineer, he married a lady 10 years younger. He was very fond of Mrs. Chen and constantly praised her achievements, such as being able to speak fluent English, and had worked as an executive assistant to a hotel general manager.

The Chens migrated to Australia in early 1980s. With their savings, they bought a small grocery store at Rose Bay and an apartment at Point Piper, both are rich suburbs of Sydney. Their apartment, although had wonderful views of the Sydney harbor, was dark, miserable, and quite a mess.

When I arrived in Australia in late 1987, my father asked the Chens to provide me with guidance and helps. Whenever Mr. Chen had the opportunity, he would talk about Chinese politic. He spoke with the deepest anger and hatred, teeth crunching and fist waving.  He yelled at me from time to time, for my lack of interest of his topics, and I did not keep my mouth firmly shut.

Within a few months, I found a job at a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant specialized in mid-north cuisine, such as Peking ducks and spicy Sichuan dishes.  The Chens had dinner in the restaurant one night, and particularly liked the Shandong shredded chicken.  They asked me to get the recipe, which was refused by the chef.  The Chens did not speak to me ever since.

I found out many years later, that Mr. Chen told my parents, who were afar, that I was very naughty – I enjoyed working as a waitress; and I went out for suppers with with co-workers after work.

The last time I heard of the Chens, they were running a small restaurant in a suburban office park.  Every morning at 3am, Mr. Chen, then 78 of age, got out of bed to collect supplies; then he joined his wife at the restaurant to work.

I can’t say that I appreciated my experience with Mr. Chen.  But I sincerely hope they are enjoying their life, and are happy.

And here is my version of a Shandong chicken, recalling the ingredients and method I learnt from the restaurant. I first placed the chicken in brine overnight, then shallow-fried the chicken with soy sauce, steamed the chicken, shredded the chicken, and served the chicken with a tangy and spicy sauce.

The most important element of this dish is the sauce. It is sweet, sour, salty and spicy – just like life, never boring.

Recipe and easy steps are as follows:

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Meals for the homeless – chicken and apricot terrine, with ham fat, raisin, strawberry jam, thyme and bay leaf

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Last Saturday my 10 year old boy bought a ham for the homeless feed out of his own pocket money. He and his dad sliced up the ham and left a pile of ham fat behind.

This Saturday was the Christmas dinner for our homeless friends.  So I made this colorful chicken terrine with left over ham fat. I also added apricot, raisin, saute onion, corn kennel, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, thyme, bay leaf, strawberry jam, salt and black pepper.

Looks and tasted great, and so easy and cheap to make.

Chicken and apricot terrine, with ham fat, raisin, strawberry jam, thyme and bay leaf

 

Chicken and apricot terrine, with ham fat, raisin, strawberry jam, thyme and bay leaf

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Fresh cactus flower soup 曇花汤

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I had been waiting for my  cactus flowers ‘tanhua’  to bloom. Such beautiful dedicate living wonders, with flowers only open up for one precious night.

The unusual weeks of Sydney rain stopped briefly on Sunday afternoon. The flowers quietly bloomed during the night. I harvested 3 flowers,  but hesitated on the thoughts of making a soup,  Traditionally, the flowers are sun dried, then boiled with meat for hours, ending up all marshy and  grey like the rainy weather. What a depressing thought.

 

4S2B1972A #3

 

 

I gently washed and sliced the flowers into quarters. I dropped the flowers into a saucepan of water with thinly julienne chicken breast;  brought it to a boil, added a dash of sesame oil, a dash of dark soy sauce and a few pinches of white pepper. The soup was done in 3 minutes.

And here it was, a simple soup to show my appreciation of these natural beauties.

Fresh cactus flower soup

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Salt and pepper chicken (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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I work in an unremarkable looking building in the city that was built in the 70’s. When I started working there 12 years ago, the food court were ordinary but cheap. Then the landlord renovated the food court and increased the rents. Now the food is still uninspiring, but expensive.   I had a salt and pepper chicken there last week – and it ended up in the garbage bin.

With an unsatisfied craving for salt and pepper chicken, I made my own today.

Salt and pepper chicken (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:

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Asian inspired Paella with miso & wasabi (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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One of my friends and her 2 gorgeous children came over for lunch today. She has really good taste with food and wine, previously ran an restaurant in Italy while she was married to an Italian young fellow who cooked beautifully. Now a single mum, things are not as easy, and she is also having a difficult time at work. So I decided to cook her a heart warming meal to cheer her up – a dish with chicken, salmon, prawns, mussels, baby octopus sounded just like the perfect dish. To make it a bit more special, I gave the paella an Asian twist with miso, wasabi and Korean pepper.

 

Asian inspired Paella with miso & wasabi (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:

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Simple Korean chili chicken

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My first restaurant meal in Australia was a Korean BBQ at a quaint little restaurateur at the back of Potts Point, an fringe suburb of Sydney filled with eateries, bar and clubs. It was an amazing experience for me – BBQ meat with rich flavors and  endless little side dishes.

Here is my simple and quick Korean chili chicken, which is marinated with Korean pepper, cooked on a griddle over a gas BBQ stove. It is really nice to eat with warm rice, or in a lettuce wrap.

Simple Korean chili chicken

Recipe is as follow:

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Simple chicken stir fry with vegetable, egg and peanuts (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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On Fridays I work from home so I can drop my little boy off at school and pick him up. I am often swamped with work and I have something really quick for lunch at home (like a bowl of instant noodles cooked in the microwave). This week I was in luck with some free time – so I decided to cook a simple stir fry for lunch.

Simple chicken stir fry with vegetable, egg and peanuts (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:

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10-minute chicken & seaweed soup (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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This is probably the quickest, nutritious, and the most delicious soup I could cook in 10 minutes.  The whole family loves it especially my little boy who is a picky eater.

Chicken & seaweed soup (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:

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Kimchi chicken with preserved vegetables

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Some weeks ago I made a huge batch of kimchi using Maangchi’s recipe.  I freeze the kim chi in small bags so we can enjoy for months to come.  I also topped up my pantry with loads of dry goods including a few packs of salted radish.

Today I made a simple dish with the salted radish and kim chi. I first bring some cooking oil to high heat in a frying pan; add slice onion & some sliced salted radish. I stir fried the ingredients briefly, then added sliced chicken thigh fillets to brown the meat. Once the meat is browned, I added sliced kim chi. I coverred the frying pan with a lid and let is simmer for 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Dinner is ready, easy!

Kimchi chicken with preserved vegetables

You can find Maangchi’s kim chi recipe here https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/tongbaechu-kimchi

Homemade kimchi
My homemade kimchi

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Chop suey with chicken and Chinese vegetables

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I was really keen to make some fun-guo dumplings this week for Chinese New Year.  When I finally got around to made the filling for the dumplings, I ran out of time to make the dough. We had this chop suey for dinner with some rice, it was really yummy.

Chop suey with chicken and Chinese vegetables

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Morrocan spiced lamb and pumpkin puffs

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Here is another pie/pastry filling I made this week. I used the spiced lamb with pumpkin in mini pies, puff triangles and round puffs. The mini pies and puff triangles looked immaculate (and hence uninteresting). The round puffs, however, was bursting with the beautiful lamb and pumpkin, looked so delicious and tasty so good.

Moroccan and cumin lamb and pumkin puffs

Recipe is as follows:

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Simple chicken dijon with bacon, leek and onion

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I mentioned some weeks ago that I had been experimenting pies for the school food festival.  This chicken Dijon dish was great as a light lunch or dinner, and it was fantastic as a pie filling.

Chicken dijon with bacon, leek and onion

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Fragrant yellow fried rice (nasi kuning inspired)

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Nasi kuning is an Indonesian rice dish cooked with coconut milk and turmeric. If you have a rice cooker, my ‘relaxed’ version of fried rice with ready made nasi kuning paste is easy and delicious.

Fragrant yellow fried rice (nasi kuning inspired)

Method is as follow:

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Twice cooked chicken mini drumsticks

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These chicken mini drumsticks are gently cooked in a stock with with Chinese spices,  then pan fried with mushroom soy sauce. Finger licking good !

Twice cooked chicken mini drumsticks

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Curry laksa with white cooked chicken

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I left China to study in Australia in late 1980s. When I was in University, I worked in an Asian restaurant during some evenings, waiting at tables together with a lovely young lady called Linda. Linda was from Malaysia, a medical student at University of New South Wales. Petite, quiet and super intelligent, Linda had a wonderful personality with gentleness and calm. She always listened patiently to my grunts and dropped a few humorous comments from time to time. One day, she went to the kitchen and made us Malaysian curry laksa for supper. The laska was very different to the Thai version I had at various restaurant. When I was enjoying the laksa, I  felt that I really missed home, not my own, but Linda’s home at Malaysia, and it was a wonderful feeling.

Curry laksa with white cooked chicken

And here is my version of curry laksa… Read the rest of this entry »

Asian spiced chicken drumsticks (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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Growing up in Southern China, chicken drumsticks were the most desirable parts of a chicken. This is because the meat on the drumsticks is juicy and flavorsome, whereas chicken breast meat is thick and it is difficult to infuse flavors into the meat.

I love baking drumsticks in an oven bag –  just taste extra juicy and pack of flavors.

Here is my version of an Asian chicken drumstick recipe with soy, ginger, chills, coriander, turmeric, coconut milk, sesame oil and tomatoes.

Asian spiced chicken drumsticks (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:

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Malaysian chicken curry and leek pie

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I have set myself a challenge to make 4 different type of mini meat pies – traditional beef, pepper steak & mushroom, curry chicken, potato & leek. I started with curry chicken because I had some leftover curry from the night before.  I was not prepared at all – I didn’t have time to make the pastry myself and I used ready made puff and short crust pastry.

So here is my lazy Sunday afternoon chicken pie  – hmm.. they taste pretty good.

Malaysian chicken curry and leek pie

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken chop suey, my father’s story of radish

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Chicken chop suey, my father's story of radish

I sent some chicken chop suey with sweet-salty radish to father’s house today. Examining the food, my father told me the following story.

My father went to a major university in Wuhan in the late 50s. During the 4th year in the university,  the school canteen ran out of food, meat or vegetables, as they were not able to source any supplies locally. With very little excess funds, the university  asked the students for loans. When the school collected sufficient money, they sent a truck to farms in the next province and came back with a load of radish. Students were organized into groups to preserve the radish – peeling, sliding and drying the radish in front of the dormitories.  The canteen cooked dried salted radish most of the year with steamed plain wheat buns (‘mantou’).  That was the year my father suffered malnutrition with swollen legs. Many people died over this period, referred to as the ‘Great Chinese Famine’. Fortunately, the situation improved quickly after a couple of years.

My father and other college students having a picnic after a swimming session,  summer 1961
My father and other college students having a picnic after a swimming session, summer 1961

Father and I sat down to enjoyed the chicken chop suey I made. It was juicy, sweet and salty. We were thankful for our delicious food.

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Poached chicken in Chinese rice wine (gluten free)

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If you like flavorsome, juicy & tender white cut chicken, you should try this recipe with Chinese rice wine. So simple and no recipe required.

Bring a pot of water to boil, drop in 1 inch of ginger (sliced), 2 inch of lemongrass (lightly bashed), 2 chicken breast fillets (whole) and season with salt; bring the water back to gentle boil; turn off the heat and leave the pot on the stove (not turn on) for 25 minutes or so; Check the chicken, this should be just cooked after 25 minutes; Slice the chicken into strips and pour over Chinese rice wine that is just enough to cover the chicken pieces;  drizzle with some sesame oil and a small dash of soy (optional); leave the dish aside  in room temperature for a while (30 minutes) for the flavor to develop; Serve at room temperature or chilled;  Garnish with chopped shallot that’s been quickly pan fried in some hot oil then dusted with some sea salt.

Poached chicken in Chinese rice wine (gluten free)
Poached chicken in Chinese rice wine (gluten free)

‘Salty-sweet-sour’ chicken with soy, vinegar & preserved turnip

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I bought a pack of preserved turnip from an Asian grocery store over the weekend, and decided to use this to create a salty-sweet-sour dish. It is really simple –  300g chicken sliced chicken fillet marinated with a sauce consists of a dash of soy sauce, a dash of balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs of sugar, 1 tsp of potato starch mixed well with 1 tbs of water and 1 tbs wine.

The cooking method is also super simple – heat up a frying pan with some cooking oil, first add a few pieces of thinly sliced ginger, then 2 tbs of diced salted turnip, quickly stir fry for 20 seconds, and add the marinated chicken, stir fry until cooked on medium heat – you may prefer to close the lid for a few minutes which will keep the chicken juicy.  Served on a bed of rice and salad or steamed vegetables.  Really hearty and flavorsome.

'Salty-sweet-sour' chicken with soy, vinegar & preserved turnip

Steamed turmeric chicken, with coconut milk, lemongrass and ginger rice (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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Have you ever try a one-pot meal using a rice cooker?  A rice cooker often comes with a plastic steamer – it is handy when you want a quick & easy meal.

Steamed turmeric chicken, with coconut milk, lemongrass and ginger rice (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Here are the simple steps: Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken soup with ginger bok choy (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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On most Fridays I work from home. Some days there seems to be so much happening that I barely have time to make lunch. This is one of my Friday 10 minute meal – it is delicious and recharges me on cold winter days. No recipe required.

Chicken soup with ginger bok choy (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

I boil some water in the kettle while I thinly slice 2 chicken tight fillets, wash & slice some bok choy,  and slice up some ginger; Then I  heat up a little cooking oil in a pot, pan fry the ginger slightly, then fill the pot up with 2 cups of water and the chicken pieces; bring the water to boil, add the bok choy, bring it to boil again; check if the chicken is cooked through; and lunch is served with a pinch of salt and pepper.  If you like, you can add a dash of oyster sauce.

So simple and heart warming – the ginger brings out so much flavor.

Serves 2.

 

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White cooked chicken with a tangy soy and vinegar sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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When I got off the train from work this evening, I realized that we didn’t have any food in the fridge for dinner. I picked up some chicken thigh fillets and a bunch of shallot from a local grocery store, and walked home to make a quick meal.

When I got home, I first put on the kettle for some hot water; then put on some rice in the rice cooker. I placed the whole chicken fillets in a saucepan with a piece of ginger and a few pinch of salt, poured over the hot water to cover all the pieces, brought it to boil over the stove top, then put the lid on and turned the heat to very low. Off I went to get change out of my work clothes. When I was back in the kitchen, I chopped up some shallot and chili (note1). I heat up a frying pan with some oil, pan fry the shallot & chili with a little sugar & salt (1 minute) –  dinner’s nearly ready.

The chicken was just cooked (approx 15 minutes) – beautifully tender and juicy. I sliced the chicken and mixed the pieces with a dash of soy (use gluten free soy sauce for a gluten free option), a dash of sesame oil, a dash of rice wine vinegar, a dash of white wine. Add the pan fried shallot and chili, garnish with coriander, and dinner was served.

White cooked chicken with a tangy soy and vinegar sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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Rice paper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and lettuce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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A friend has recently moved to a low FODMAP diet. When we have dinner parties, I try to accommodate his diet with the simplest, freshest ingredients with low FODMAP. It is fun and challenging working with limited ingredients.

Here is a super easy recipe & well balanced – the pan fried capsicums & pumpkins add lots of sweetness to this dish, lettuce add  crunchiness, quinoa adds texture, chicken for protein.

Rice paper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and lettuce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

White cut chicken with Vietnamese slaw, memories of the Chinese New Year’s Eve feast

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White cut chicken is so very close to my heart.

When I grew up in the early 70s in Southern China, we lived simply on limited resources. Earning a first prize in school meant a lot to me, as the prize was typically a pencil with a rubber at the end, a real luxury. I would jump for joy if I received a prize of a few new exercise books as they were frequently out of stock at the shops.

My father was a university graduate and a mechanical engineer.  The year that I was born, he was ‘redistributed’ to work at a factory 150km away from home. Those days, 150km means a 5 hours journey on a train. My father’s monthly salary was about $60 yuan (approx USD10 based on today’s exchange rate). He kept $30 yuan for himself and sent the rest to us. My mother was a factory hand whose monthly salary was $37 yuan (approx USD6 based on today’s exchange rate).  Once a year, our Singapore uncle sent us a little money. My mother would buy some fabric, sew a new piece of clothing for me on my grandmother’s old sewing machine. Our Singapore uncle was very kind to us –  he had a large family to support and he was not well off himself.

At the end of each Chinese Luna year, my father was entitled to a 10-day holiday to spend Chinese New Year with the family. As a special treat for the New Year’s Eve family dinner, my father always brought home a farm chicken which cost around $10 yuan. He had to save up for months to buy the chicken. My grandmother carefully slaughtered and poached the chicken, then served it at the Chinese New Year Eve dinner.  The chicken was shared among the whole family – grandmother, uncles, aunties and us.

White cut chicken with Vietnamese slaw   &  the Chinese New Year's Eve feast

There were only a few pieces for each of us. Grandmother was entitled to the chicken’s bottom, a delicacy. I was the first grandchild born in the house and was entitled to one of the wings – another delicacy. How delicious it was, our once a year white cut chicken feast.

Over the years in Australia I had many white cut chicken dishes – some were delicious, some were cooked without care. I started cooking my own version of the boneless white cut chicken, and my friends always enjoyed the dish.

This recipe is a modern fusion of Chinese & Vietnamese – gently poached juicy tender chicken breast fillet on a bed of fresh Vietnamese style slaw.

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken San Choy Bao

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When I was in university, I worked in a Chinese restaurant as a pantry girl. I cut hundreds of san choy bao leaves each evening before meal time. It was one of the most popular dishes.  I wondered if there was such a real dish in China called the San Choy Bao – I never heard of it before.

Anyway, I made some for the school fete, a big hit. And I was happy.

Chicken San Choy Bao

 Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken stir fry with lemongrass and chili (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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Thai food always brings back memory of a pink restaurant where I worked for a few years during my university days.

The restaurant was owned by a kind Vietnamese couple – An the husband and Ly the wife.   Ly looked after 3 young children and worked in the tiny kitchen every night. An was a full time engineer who managed the dinning room and delivered takeaway food.

When they spoke about their past, I could see Ly’s eyes sparkled, and warm smiles on An’s face. In the old days back home, Ly was known as the ‘Saigon rose’ for her exceptional beauty, and An was a young, well educated officer working for the American army.

I learned to cook some wonderful dishes from Ly. One of my favourite was a ‘xa ot’ dish, meaning lemongrass and chili.

Here is my version of a xa ot chicken.

Chicken stir fry with lemongrass and chili

Easy method is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »