Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Magadip - Madurese Aromatic Chicken Stew

Have you tasted before a recipe that has no chillies, garlic or coconut milk in its ingredients yet it's just as potent ? The recipe I'm referring to originates from Madura, an Indonesian island located East of Java in the Greater Sunda Islands Archipelago. The dish was a surprise for me, as we knew that most Indonesian dishes are hot and spicy and every dishes cooked or Sayur Lalap must have some chillies of some sort like Sambal Oelek, Sambal Terasi, Sambal Badjak pastes added as condiments with their meals. My favourite is Rijsttafel that ends with Spekkoek and coffee... it's a wonderful ending!

This Madurese speciality dish I'm sharing is called Magadip or better known as Madura Aromatic Chicken which is easy to prepare and you can actually used the ingredients for lamb as well. You can prepare it 1 to 2 days ahead which will make the dish tastes even more delicious after you let the flavours permeate the meat or freeze it until it's needed. The ingredients I'm using are for 2-4 persons as part of a meal but you can easily double the portions to suit your needs.

Serves 2-4

500 g - 600 g Chicken or any part of chicken you like
1 Tbl Coriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
4 pcs Cloves
1 bulb Onion - small size, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Palm Sugar/ White Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Tumeric powder
1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder (freshly grounded)
1 tsp Black Peppercorns (freshly grounded)
125 ml Chicken Stock/Water
1.50 cm Fresh Ginger - peeled and sliced
2.50 cm Cinnamon stick
Extra Salt and Pepper to taste

Garnish: Onion Crisps, Spring onions or Coriander leaves.

1. In a large pan, dry fry the coriander, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin and cloves over medium heat until fragrant (it's very important not to burn your spices or you'll end up with bitter and burnt gravy.) Add in the tumeric powder and nutmeg powder. Give a quick stir to mix the spices thoroughly. Remove from heat. Grind in a food processor until fine. Set aside.
2. Blend the onion and ginger until smooth paste. Set aside.
3. Wash the chicken and cut into frying pieces. Put the chicken pieces in a deep pan or casserole. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. Toss the chicken pieces thoroughly (supposed to help release the juices in the chicken.)
4. Add in the grounded spices, onion and ginger paste and chicken stock/water. Mix well into the chicken pieces. Cook over medium heat for 40-50 minutes or until the chicken meat is tender and half the gravy evaporates.
5. Adjust the taste with salt and black pepper as needed.
6. Serve portions of chicken meat with gravy, on rice or as side dish.

Magadip - Madurese Aromatic Chicken Stew

Have you tasted before a recipe that has no chillies ...

See Magadip - Madurese Aromatic Chicken Stew on Key Ingredient.

Note: This recipe can be substitute with lamb and ostrich meat. Cooking time should be adjusted accordingly to the type of meat cuts or until the meat is tender. If the gravy evaporates too quickly, you can add extra 125 ml/ ½ cup of water. In this recipe I added some potatoes wedges which also thickened the gravy.

You can make the dry spices few weeks ahead. Make certain portions for each kilogramme or ½ kg. of meat. Let the toasted spices cool down. Grind into fine powder and keep it air-tight container or vacuum pack. Don't forget to label how many grammes that quantity of spice will give you and how many spoons you need for the amount of meat you use.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stir-fried Chayote Greens With Brown Mushrooms In Miso

I was asked by my neighbour, if I seen or heard this 'Loong Sou Choy' aka 'Dragon Beard' . Ok, I know my Chinese dialects are rusty (I mean since Cantonese it's not my mother tongue) here but I knew what she's referring too. I told her that I bought some ( 2 bundles of 250 g each for less than 0.50 € !) because the price was very, very cheap at the local Tesco supermarket here and my family loves this vegetable. She's not sure of this plant that's why she didn't buy any when she saw at the fresh market. As I explained more to her about this 'Loong Sou Choy', she exclaimed that she bought 2 large 'Buddha's Palms' for soup (Chayote or as I called it 'Boxing Glove') and didn't know that these 2 vegetables are the same! Now, why farmers have to create confusion to end users like us? Buddha's Palm and Dragon's Beard??? Buddha's Palm hold by Dragon's Beard? Hmmm... I'm getting confused here as well :-D

Oh well... I have a 2/3 box of miso left and a box of nice Swiss Brown Mushrooms. I need to clear some space for tomorrow's grocery shopping and with heavy rain and storms predicted for next few days, I better stock up my fridge and pantry as well. Now, about this Miso paste, first time I tasted this product, it reminded me of Tau Cheo or Salted/Fermented/Preserved Soyabeans. This Salted Soyabean product is available in 3 versions - whole beans, coarsely chopped beans and finely chopped beans. I love the addition of Salted Soyabean paste in Ayam Pongteh - without it you will face the wrath of a Peranakan (Baba & Nyonya)!!! Without this magic paste, it's not Ayam Pongteh! :-D

With what I have, this is what came out from the pan... It sounded weird but it turned out very delicious though. There's no addition of salt or stock in this dish... :-) The Miso provides all that!

Stir-fried Chayote Greens With Brown Mushrooms in Miso
Serves 2-3

2oo g Chayote Greens/Shoots - wash & use only tender parts
1 small box Swiss Brown Mushrooms (or any mushrooms about 150 g)
2-3 cloves Garlic - minced
1 medium Carrot
1 Tbl Miso paste
Cooking oil
1/2 cup sake
1 cup water

1. Wash and trim off any hard stems and spoilt leaves. Trim short the tendrils if it's too long :-D Separate the leaves and tender stems and tendrils.Drain and set aside.
2. Clean the mushrooms and remove any grits. Slice into thin pieces or you can quartered them.
3. Wash and julienne the carrot into thin strips. Set aside.
4. Mix the miso with sake until smooth paste (Miso comes in thick paste so, you need to dilute it before usage.)
5. In a deep pan/ wok, add some cooking oil. When the pan is very hot, add in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant (but not burnt!). Add in the julienned carrot. Give a quick mix.
6. Add in the mushrooms; Mix well until slightly wilted.
7. Add in the stems and tendrils; stir quickly as we want the stems to cook evenly first. Then add in the tender leaves and young shoots. Mix throughly.
8. Pour in the water; This will reduce a bit the heat. Now, add in the miso and sake mixture. Give a quick stir because we don't want to destroy the goodness of miso. Stir the vegetables throughly. You can add extra water if you want extra gravy/sauce.
9. Dish out and serve as side dish or steamed hot rice.

Note: You can adjust the quantity of miso by add in half of the mixture first because miso is salty. Then you add in more if you like. For me, the amount I added into the sake mixture was enough for that quantity of vegetable and 1 cup of water used.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yakigyoza - Japanese Pan Fried Dumplings

If you like Dim Sums, definitely you like gyoza dumplings. Regardless how you called it and from which country, there bound to be similarity! As for me, I don't bother which country created this delicious morsels first. It existed and I'm going to learn how to make it and eat all I could ☺. Seems that any Oriental household, the females in the family had been taught somehow at least one type of such dumplings be it Xiao Long Bao, Sui Gow, Siu Mai or Har Gow. Most of these dumplings are meat based like pork or beef but also seafood based like fish, prawns and vegetables.

I normally stashed some wrappers like Spring Rolls wrappers, Wonton or Gyoza wrappers in several shapes and sizes. It's a saviour for quick meal because you can make in advance dozens or hundreds of this dumplings with these wrappers and freeze them in portions for later use. One of my mom's friends taught us to dry left over Wonton wrappers and use it as broad, flat, squarish noodles in soups or stir-fries, like pasta. She always gave us bunches of it because she's a Wonton Noodle Seller ☺.
Yakigyoza - Pan Fried Dumplings

1 Packet Gyoza/ Sui Gow/ Pot Stickers Wrappers
(White opaque round pastries made from eggs and wheat)

2 tsp Sesame Oil
Some vegetable oil for cooking

For Fillings (Mix all into smooth paste):
100 g Chinese Cabbage - hard stems removed & finely chopped
150 g Minced Pork
100 g Chinese Flower Chives - hard stems remove and cut about 3" in length OR 2 stalks Spring Onions - finely chopped
1 tsp Finely Grated young/fresh Ginger
2 cloves Garlic - grated
1 tbl Thin Soya Sauce - Japanese brand like Kikkoman
3 tsp Sake
2 tsp Mirin
Generous Pinch White Pepper

Dipping Sauce:
80 ml Japanese Rice Vinegar (you can use Chinese Rice/Glutinous Rice vinegar)
8o ml Thin Soya Sauce
2 tsp Sesame Oil or Chilli Oil (S&B Chilli Oil/La Yu Oil)
Young Ginger - julienne thinly (optional-I like to add it into the soy sauce mix)

1. To make Dipping Sauce; put all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Divide among smaller sauce dishes.
2. Wrapping - Lay a wrapper in your palm and put about 2 - 3 tsps of filling in the middle. Lightly dampen the edge of wrapper with water, then fold the edges together to form semicirlcle. Press firmly to enclose the fillings. Lightly dampen the curved edge of wrappers again, then overlap the edge to form pleats (you can watch a video here.) Put dumplings on a lined tray with Cling Wrap. Repeat the whole procedures again until finished. Refrigerator dumplings until ready to cook.

Note: For this recipe I skipped the pleating method for this time :-D I folded the wrapper into halves with the fillings in the middle as you can see in the picts. I learnt it from Harumi Kurihara's book - Harumi's Japanese Cooking. You can also add chopped fresh prawns into the filling which would made it tastes sweet and succulent. Sometimes I added in finely chopped Jicama or water chestnuts for extra crunch!

3. In a large non-stick frying pan over medium-heat. Put the dumplings in the pan in the pot, flat-side down, in single layer.
Cooked for 2 minutes or until bottom is crisp and golden. Combine 1/2 cup of boiling water (125 ml) with 2 teaspoon of vegetable oil and the sesame oil) then add to the pan. Cover, reduced heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove lid/pan cover, increased the heat to high and cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Remove fried dumplings from the pan and drain on paper towel. Serve with the dipping sauce.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Okinawa Spinach (Handama) With Scrambled Eggs and White Sesame

I saw this 2-sided vegetable in the local supermarket and I had to buy it! The label/price label indicated it as 'Purple Spinach'. Hmmm... which I doubt so judging from the smell and the texture of the plant. Perhaps, a distant cousin of Popeye's favourite source of iron??? What attracted me to it was the iridescent purple color below the leaves and dark green on top of the leaves. The tangy taste of the thick leaves with a hint of bitterness, reminded me of Shungiku, Tang O/Tong Hao in Mandarin or Chrysanthemum Leaves. This edible Chrysanthemum Leaves frequently used in stir-fry, soup and omelette (my preferred choice as the eggs brings out the flavour.)

In Japan, this bicolour colored vegetable (pictures below) is called Handama, Suizenjigusa or Okinawa Spinach ( Gyunura Crepidioides) where you can find Okinawans in Japan (hence the name) planted this vegetable which acts as ornamental ground cover and edible plant! C'est une géniale idée! There are 2 varieties (a) Dark green on top and purple on the bottom (b) Brighter Green on both sides but has milder taste. For this gorgeous vegetable I cooked like Chan Coi with eggs but I added toasted sesame for extra texture. This vegetable is also delicious when eat raw in salad or with sambals to maximise the intake of its medicinal properties.

Bunch of Okinawan Red Spinach.

Closer look of the Handama or Okinawan Spinach. I love the colour purple on this plant.

Another similarity with this plant is the Chan Cai, Shan Tsoi, Slippery Vegetable, Poi or Malabar Spinach (It's not spinach but of Basellaceae family.) I had grown this Malabar Spinach (Red Stem) aka Tsuru Murasaki before from seeds in large rectangular boxes; there are 2 species - Malabar Green Stem and Malabar Red Stem. Keep the seeds when they are dried so that you can replant fresh batch. It's a fast thriving vegetable in warm/hot climates :-) You need to fix trellis around this plant to give support to the stalks... pity I don't see any Giant's castle above the clouds with golden goose because they were trimmed ✄ down to feed my stomach first! ☺

There's a warning though when you cook such vegetable, the beautiful purple/red color 'leaks' out into the juice or gravy and you won't see the color purple/red at all after cooking (pictured above ☹.)

Handama (Okinawan Spinach) With Scrambled Eggs and White Sesame
Serve 2-3

250 g Handama/Okinawan Spinach
2 nos Eggs
2 cloves Garlic - minced (optional)
1/2 pc Carrot - julienned
1 tbl Sesame Oil
2 tbl White Sesame Seeds - toasted until golden brown
1 cup Chicken Stock
Cooking Oil


1. Wash the vegetables; Discard any spoilt or wilted leaves - we use only the leaves, tender shoots and stems. Set aside.
2. In a wok/deep pan, heat some cooking oil until it's really hot; Add in the minced garlic, stir a bit to avoid burning. Add in the carrot and Okinawan spinach. Give a quick stir.

Note: Wok needs to be hot to achieve quick stir-fry process because we don't want to destroy the vitamins and if you cook too long, it will become mushy.

3. Make a hole in the centre of the wok, crack the eggs into the centre. When the eggs start to turn opaque, stir the mixture with spatula to break apart the cooked egg mixture (remember the wok is very hot, so you have to work fast.)
4. Pour in the chicken stock and stir to mx all the egg mixture with the vegetable.
5. Dish out on a serving plate. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.
6. Spoon the sesame oil around the vegetable and serve hot.

Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did... Enjoy!


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