Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Stir-Fried Chicken Strips with Vegetables in Wholemeal Wrap


This feels like I am cheating on my thesis, but for the sake of food, it outranks a thesis anytime!

Okay, getting along. On a bid to stay healthy, I turned to a healthier carbo option: the wrap! Not just any wrap, it's a wholemeal wrap. Mind you, wholemeal isn't bland. In fact, with the right ingredients, you could have a great tasting dish using wholemeal.

So this dish is called Stir-Fried Chicken Strips with Vegetables in Wholemeal Wrap. Continuing the simple sandwiches series, this dish is a version of a sandwich only using a different kind of bread to sandwich the filling. And for those who want to watch their diet, this is possibly a good alternative to the usual white bread that you are used to. 

So what are the ingredients:

1 wholemeal wrap
1 portion of chicken breast
10 to 15 French beans
1 medium sized carrot
1/2 medium sized yellow onions
2 red chillies
1 red bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Marinade for chicken breast:
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cornstarch / cornflour
1 tsp soy sauce
a dash of finely ground black pepper

Method:
  1. Firstly, slice your chicken breast into strips. Then in a bowl, mix the chicken breast with the marinade and leave for the marinade to sip into the meat.
  2. Whilst waiting for the chicken to absorb the marinade, prepare your vegetables. Julienne all the vegetables into long strips measuring about 5 cm.
  3. Prepare a frying pan over high heat and add in the onions and oil first. Stir until onions turn translucent and emits fragrance before adding salt and chicken. Reduce to medium heat before continuing to stir fry. When chicken is 3/4 cooked (this means you can see only lines of pink along the strips), add in the carrots and beans first as this take longer to cook. When it is just about turning colour, add in the bell peppers and continue stir frying. Lastly add some pepper for additional taste.
  4. On a separate pan, heat it up with no oil. Next place the wrap just to give it a quick heat up before lining it on your cutting board. You can opt to spread some butter here but since the filling already contains oil, then there is no need. However, if you are like me who likes a huge spicy boost, I spread chilli sauce.
  5. Next lay filling nearer to one edge of the wrap. Be careful when wrapping the filling as it needs to be tight in order for the filling to encased by the wrap and not for it to fall out. Like spring roll pastry, wrap it up by first lifting the edge to cover the filling and then tuck it underneath the filling. Next, bring it in ensuring that is no space for the filling to move. Then fold in the sides using your remaining fingers before continuing to roll it up. You can choose to hold the wrap with a toothpick or leave it as it is.
  6. Now you have a perfectly good home made wrap!
For those who much prefer raw vegetables in your wrap rather than cooked ones, then no problem. Replace the vegetables with iceberg lettuce or rommaine lettuce. Be sure to slice the vegetables thinly. Alternatively, you can use the iceberg lettuce leaf as a liner as well for the wrap. How? After placing the wrap on the cutting board, add a lettuce leaf or two if it is not big enough on the wrap before spooning in your filling. If you want some sauce, then mayonnaise is great combo. After that spoon in the chicken and wrap it up! 

A great meal for those who want a more fulfilling one yet not too big and at the same time you can do so much with the filling to make it even more delicious. Other kinds of filling can be deep fried chicken strips, salmon fillet, prawns and even pork or beef. Take it from me, this is certainly easy and there is no need to run out to the store to get ingredients. Just use what you have in the fridge! No wrap, use up your baguette. 

Exploring more about the sandwich phenomenon,
The Innovative Baker


Monday, 26 April 2010

Chicken and Ham Sandwich with homemade Chilli Mayonnaise



I am a fan of making my own mayonnaise and chilli is like a staple in my diet. So what better than to combine both into a sauce.

How did I make the sauce?

Ingredients:

3 whole red chillies - deseeded and sliced in large pieces
4 egg yolks (save the egg whites for a quick stir fry)
1 whole lime
whole black pepper (crushed with pastel and mortar) or in pepper mill
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of salt
50ml olive oil

Method:
  1. Place deseeded chillies into blender. Add in egg yolks, crushed black pepper and pinch of sugar and salt. Add in some lime rind and the juice of one lime.
  2. Start the blender and as it blends and combines the ingredients, dribble the olive oil in. You will get a light pink texture with bits of black pepper and chillies. If the mayonaisse doesn't look like it's thickening, add more olive oil but only until you see it thicken. That means the mixture takes on a denser form and looks spreadable rather than dribbling.
  3. Pour into a glass jar and put in the fridge.
For the Sandwich, all you need is:

1 chicken breast - defrosted
2 thin slices of ham - to your liking
cucumber slices
bread rolls
butter
pepper and salt to taste

Method:
  1. Boil a pot of water. When almost to the point of boiling, add in your chicken breast and reduce heat. Simmer until chicken breast is fully cooked. Poke through the breast to check whether it is cooked thoroughly. This would take about 10 minutes.
  2. Let the chicken breast cool down. Next whip out your mayonnaise from the fridge, put some in a bowl. Cut your chicken into thinner slices or use your finger and tear the breast into long strips. Add the chicken into the mayonnaise. Add enough for 2 sandwiches. Stir to ensure chicken pieces are covered.
  3. Slice your cucumber into rings. Say about 10 pieces should be enough.
  4. Spread butter onto bread rolls, line cucumber pieces and place ham slices along each side of roll. Spoon in the chicken, add some pepper and salt and sandwich it. 
There you have it! A perfect sandwich for the healthier you. If you do not like boiled chicken, you can opt to grill it instead. How much did this cost? Nothing...because everything was from my fridge :) No chillies, no worries, add a dollop of mustard into the mayonnaise and you will have a tangy mustard. You can replace the lime with lemons as well.

Have a happy sandwich!

The Innovative Baker



Saturday, 10 April 2010

Simple Chilli and Garlic sauce


I get tired of store bought sauces after a while, so using my past experiences of watching my mom cook, she came up with an ingenious way of innovating the Hainanese Chicken Rice Chilli and Garlic Sauce. No blender needed, only a knife!

Ingredients:

2 whole red chillies - diced and deseeded
2 cloves garlic - diced
1 whole lime - for the juice
1 tsp finely granulated sugar
a dash of salt

Method:
  1. After dicing both the red chillies and garlic, place them in a bowl, juice the lime into the bowl withholding the pips, add the sugar and a dash of salt.
  2. Let it sit while you prepare your chicken rice. Serve along with it. 
It is as simple as ABC. Seriously! It tastes great as a condiment with your cold noodle salad too. More like a dressing to be exact. Replace the salt with fish sauce instead, and you have Vietnamese version of this sauce. 

Seriously yummy and easy,
The Innovative Baker



Thursday, 8 April 2010

Dry Egg Noodles with Button Mushrooms, Chicken Breast and Vegetables

 

Tired of having fried noodles? Then this is actually a healthier version for you. Living in non-Asian countries means most noodles come in dried format. Very much like the instant noodles and pasta you find in major supermarkets. However in Asia, noodles are made fresh, delivered fresh and used fresh. But of course, I'm writing from a world away from Asia and that fresh noodles are difficult to get especially rice noodles and egg noodles. But not to fret, the cooking process is as easy as 123 and you'll have fun preparing this.

Ingredients:

For condiments:
150gms chicken breast - sliced and marinated with oyster sauce, black pepper, sesame oil
5 - 6 button mushrooms - sliced

1 portion mustard leaves or rommaine lettuce (as per the pic above) - washed and cleaned off of any sediments
1 bunch of dried egg noodles
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 small baby onion or shallot - sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing for Tossing of noodles:
1 tbsp thick soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 puff or dash of white pepper
1 round of sesame oil

Method:
  1. Prepare your condiments first. Marinade your chicken with the ingredients and leave aside. You can replace oyster sauce with soy sauce and add in chilli flakes if you wish.
  2. First boil a pot of water, half filled. Add some vegetable oil and salt to ensure noodles remain crisp. When water is boiling, add in your noodles. Reduce the heat. Your noodles will soon loosen up. Keep it simmering for another 2 minutes or soft to the touch. How? Take a loose strand and pierce through with a fork, chopstick or your fingers. Remove from heat, drain and cool with cold water. Leave aside.
  3. On a separate pan, heat up the vegetable oil. Add in the baby onion and stir till fragrant. Add in chicken and cook for a few minutes making sure the meat turns white in the centre before adding in mushrooms. Add some water to let chicken and mushroom simmer and soak up the juices. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Once cooked leave aside.
  4. Remove noodles from original pot to boil another pot of water. When water is boiling, add in the vegetables to blanch them. It will turn a deep green when cooked. Remove from water.
  5. Now, prepare the dressing for the noodle tossing. On a flat bowl or plate, pour the dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil on the base. Place cooked noodles on top of it. Use the salad tosser or a pair of chopsticks and run the noodles with the dressing. Add in light soy sauce should it not be salty enough. Leave noodles on plate. 
  6. Place the chicken mushroom stir fry over the noodles and line it with your cooked vegetables. 
  7. Serve while its still warm!
There you go, a simply recipe for you. The noodles can be anything really. The condiments can also be replaced with sliced pork, beef or tofu if you are a vegetarian. If you cannot have eggs, then use rice noodles like vermicelli or flat rice noodles (kueh teow). You want it spicy? Then, add in a dash of chilli oil when tossing the noodles and sliced red chillies when cooking the chicken and mushrooms.

A serving of chinese noodles always take the cake!
The innovative Baker



Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Yummy Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes



Yummy Mashed Potatoes are actually really straight forward. Though many still do find it difficult to make it. But what essentially makes the Mash that yummy? It's all that extra love you give to it :) I personally like my Mashed Potatoes with some potato lumps in them but it is to ones taste. Again, there is no need to go out and buy any ingredients really. Just what you have in the kitchen.

Ingredients:

2 - 3 large potatoes (look for those that indicate fluffy and easy to mash - it is normally stated on the packaging or ask your local grocer)
some black peppercorns (to be crushed with a pastel and mortar) or freshly grated black pepper.
50 ml double cream or full cream milk 
1 tbsp grainy mustard of any kind (omit if you do not like mustard)
100 gm butter (cut into cubes for easy mashing into potatoes)
some salt to taste

Method:
  1. First prepare a pot with water. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile clean your potatoes and cut into smaller chunks. Coarsely chopping it is fine. You can opt to keep the skin on or have it removed. I like it either way. When water is starting to boil, add in your potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce fire to medium heat.
  2. To know whether your potatoes are cooked through, take a fork or a thong and grab the potatoes. When it is easily inserted through and breaks when it is trying to be lifted, it is ready to be removed. Get a sieve and pour contents to remove all access water. Or, alternatively, use the lid of the pot to act as a strainer. Be careful however when pouring the water as it is hot!
  3. With boiled potatoes in the same pot, begin mashing them with either a masher or a large fork. In the midst of mashing, add in your butter, pepper, cream or milk and mustard. If mustard is not your thing, you can add a bit of horse radish. If not, omit it all together. Only add in salt when it is not salty enough as the butter is already salted. Continue mashing until you get a creamy consistency. VoilĂ  you have your own home made Mashed Potato. Plus there is no extra ingredient to be bought. 
An alternative to your potato would be the sweet potato. This tastes super yummy as well and it is of course a much healthier version. However, as sweet potatoes are sweet, mustard may not go down as well as compared to the potato itself. So just be sure what your preference is. 

If you want a herby mash then try adding a fresh portion of finely chopped basil or rosemary. This accentuates the mashy flavours for sure :)

Mash can be made in 30 minutes so it isn't exactly that long in the kitchen. 


More easy recipes coming up!
The Innovative Baker


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