Tag Archives: spices

effortless grilled chicken Wings with Asian spices

Grilled Chicken Wings with Asian Spices

When I was thinking which recipe to submit to BloggerAid, I was struggling if I should submit this grilled galangal chicken wings or the Chinese Potato Pancakes with a Swiss touch, quite a tough call! The thinking behind was most of us loves chicken wings in all forms, I am definitely one of them and would never refused.

At home, we don’t like deep frying very much and grilling is an excellent solution to get crispy results and not too oily. This is absolutely effortless to prepare but with a fabulous flavor and results.

Ingredients:

  • 12 Chicken Wings or more as you like

Seasoning Mix:

  • 3 tbsp Galangal powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin seeds 
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp White pepper

Method:

  • Defrost the chicken wings if required, wash, drain and pat dry on kitchen paper.
  • Cut the wings into 2 pieces
  • Mix the above seasonings in a bowl and then pour on flat plate/ bowl.
  • Line aluminium foil on oven tray
  • Dust the chicken wings on the seasonings and lay them on the grilling rack/ tray.
  • Turn on the griller in the oven
  • Place the chicken wings on the top rack and grill until they turn golden brown & crispy. Turn the wings and grill on the other side. This would take about 12 mins on each side.
  • Remove the chicken wings from the oven when they are cooked and crispy.
  • Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

What’s in my Bah Kut Teh (pork rib soup, 肉骨茶)?

Bah Kut Teh  (肉骨茶), literally translates as “meat bone tea”. I found out from Wikipedia that actually Bah Kut Teh is originated from Hong Kong, Canton and Fujian where Chinese workers introduced to Malaysia in the 19th Century. This is a Chinese soup very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. It consists of pork ribs and mushroom simmered for hours in a complicated mixture of Chinese herbs and spices.

Bak Kut Teh made to my perfection
Bak Kut Teh made to my perfection

 

 

I am making one using the premix Spices bought from Singapore.  There is a street in Singapore where there are numerous shops selling these spices and Singapore food. It was not an easy to know which one I will like best so I relied my ex-colleagues who knew which one they thought is the best.

Bak Kut Teh Spices Premix Pack

I have to say I never like Bah Kut Teh in the past, the first time I tried was when I was still in university in UK. I found a premix in London China Town and was so excited, bought a pack and make it myself. Unfortunately I was so disappointed with the taste that I only had a small bite and had to throw everything away. I think the mix was not blended to my taste and had too much star anises, cloves and licorice.

This pack I bought from Singapore is much much better. A box contains 20 packs, I gave half of them away as souvenir. This is the third time I make and this time I want to take a closer look of what spices and chinese herbs are inside my Bah Kut Teh, as I am sure I will get this question from my hubby, so he won’t be scared by the exotic ingredients.

There is no single formula for a truly authentic Bah Kut Teh, just like any other recipes as a matter of fact. Each place has their own secret recipes but the key spices that a Bah Kut Teh should consist are : star anise, cloves, garlic, cinnamon and Dong Quai (當歸). Whether it’s good or not, it’s very personal, you are the one to judge yourself!

 There are 3 main types of  Bak Kut Teh, the most common one is Teochew style which is lighter in color and with more white pepper in the soup. Hokkien is a second variation which is more salty and the Cantonese one, which we loves long-cooking soup, like adding more medicinal herbs to create a stronger flavoured soup.

Reading the description on my pack, below is the English translation of the herbs and spices used. The one here consists a lot of Chinese medicinal herbs, maybe that’s why my excolleagues chose this shop.

Here are the ingredients inside my pack:

  • Chinese angelica root or Dong Quai (當歸)
  • Ginseng (人參)
  • Goji berries or Chinese wolfberries (枸杞子)
  • Codonopsis root (党参)
  • Astragalus root (北芪 )
  • Chinese yam (淮山 huai shan)
  • White Pepper
  • Licorice (甘草, gancao)
  • Suk Tei
  • Cinnamon bark (肉桂, rougui)
  • Cloves 大茴香 or 八角
  • Szechuan Pepper

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1kg pork spare ribs
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 10 puffy fried tofu, blanched to remove excess oil (skipped this time)
  • 1 pack Bah Kut Teh premix
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp black peppercorns

Directions:

  1. Pour 2 litres of hot water into a large pan, bring to boil and blanch the pork ribs for 2 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the ribs in tap water.
  2. Add 2 litres of hot water again to the pan, bring to boil.
  3. Add the Bah Kut Teh premix pack, the two bulbs of garlic into the pan. Simmer for 1.5 hrs.
  4. Skim off the oil that comes out. Add the soy sauce into the soup and 3 tbsp of black peppercorns. Simmer for another 1.5 hrs.
  5. Half an hour before dinner, add in the puffy fried tofu (optional).
  6. You should have about half of the liquid evaporated by end of cooking, if it is too watery, then the taste would not be strong enough.
  7. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and some green leaves vegetables such as watercress or spinach.

Notes:

  • I differ to the recipe described on the pack by adding the extra peppercorns to fit for my taste buds but surprisingly it did not feel that peppery at all, probably because I added them in the second 1.5hrs.
  • The pack says 1.5hrs cooking time but I prefer cooking it for at least 3 hours.
  • To make slow cooking soup, you can stop cooking after 1.5 hrs, keep the lid on, remember not to open the lid, this is to keep the heat and let it continue cooking. Simmer again after you have been outside or 1-2 hrs before dinner time.

Below are some links which I found very useful and interesting to read:

If you are interested in knowing more about chinese medicinal herbs, Phoebe from Homemade Chinese Soups has a blog post which has covered quite a lot common herbs used in Chinese slow-cooking soup:

Heartily thanks to all of you for the great posts!!!

What's in my Bah Kut Teh (pork rib soup, 肉骨茶)?

Bah Kut Teh  (肉骨茶), literally translates as “meat bone tea”. I found out from Wikipedia that actually Bah Kut Teh is originated from Hong Kong, Canton and Fujian where Chinese workers introduced to Malaysia in the 19th Century. This is a Chinese soup very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. It consists of pork ribs and mushroom simmered for hours in a complicated mixture of Chinese herbs and spices.

Bak Kut Teh made to my perfection
Bak Kut Teh made to my perfection

 

 

I am making one using the premix Spices bought from Singapore.  There is a street in Singapore where there are numerous shops selling these spices and Singapore food. It was not an easy to know which one I will like best so I relied my ex-colleagues who knew which one they thought is the best.

Bak Kut Teh Spices Premix Pack

I have to say I never like Bah Kut Teh in the past, the first time I tried was when I was still in university in UK. I found a premix in London China Town and was so excited, bought a pack and make it myself. Unfortunately I was so disappointed with the taste that I only had a small bite and had to throw everything away. I think the mix was not blended to my taste and had too much star anises, cloves and licorice.

This pack I bought from Singapore is much much better. A box contains 20 packs, I gave half of them away as souvenir. This is the third time I make and this time I want to take a closer look of what spices and chinese herbs are inside my Bah Kut Teh, as I am sure I will get this question from my hubby, so he won’t be scared by the exotic ingredients.

There is no single formula for a truly authentic Bah Kut Teh, just like any other recipes as a matter of fact. Each place has their own secret recipes but the key spices that a Bah Kut Teh should consist are : star anise, cloves, garlic, cinnamon and Dong Quai (當歸). Whether it’s good or not, it’s very personal, you are the one to judge yourself!

 There are 3 main types of  Bak Kut Teh, the most common one is Teochew style which is lighter in color and with more white pepper in the soup. Hokkien is a second variation which is more salty and the Cantonese one, which we loves long-cooking soup, like adding more medicinal herbs to create a stronger flavoured soup.

Reading the description on my pack, below is the English translation of the herbs and spices used. The one here consists a lot of Chinese medicinal herbs, maybe that’s why my excolleagues chose this shop.

Here are the ingredients inside my pack:

  • Chinese angelica root or Dong Quai (當歸)
  • Ginseng (人參)
  • Goji berries or Chinese wolfberries (枸杞子)
  • Codonopsis root (党参)
  • Astragalus root (北芪 )
  • Chinese yam (淮山 huai shan)
  • White Pepper
  • Licorice (甘草, gancao)
  • Suk Tei
  • Cinnamon bark (肉桂, rougui)
  • Cloves 大茴香 or 八角
  • Szechuan Pepper

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1kg pork spare ribs
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 10 puffy fried tofu, blanched to remove excess oil (skipped this time)
  • 1 pack Bah Kut Teh premix
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp black peppercorns

Directions:

  1. Pour 2 litres of hot water into a large pan, bring to boil and blanch the pork ribs for 2 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the ribs in tap water.
  2. Add 2 litres of hot water again to the pan, bring to boil.
  3. Add the Bah Kut Teh premix pack, the two bulbs of garlic into the pan. Simmer for 1.5 hrs.
  4. Skim off the oil that comes out. Add the soy sauce into the soup and 3 tbsp of black peppercorns. Simmer for another 1.5 hrs.
  5. Half an hour before dinner, add in the puffy fried tofu (optional).
  6. You should have about half of the liquid evaporated by end of cooking, if it is too watery, then the taste would not be strong enough.
  7. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and some green leaves vegetables such as watercress or spinach.

Notes:

  • I differ to the recipe described on the pack by adding the extra peppercorns to fit for my taste buds but surprisingly it did not feel that peppery at all, probably because I added them in the second 1.5hrs.
  • The pack says 1.5hrs cooking time but I prefer cooking it for at least 3 hours.
  • To make slow cooking soup, you can stop cooking after 1.5 hrs, keep the lid on, remember not to open the lid, this is to keep the heat and let it continue cooking. Simmer again after you have been outside or 1-2 hrs before dinner time.

Below are some links which I found very useful and interesting to read:

If you are interested in knowing more about chinese medicinal herbs, Phoebe from Homemade Chinese Soups has a blog post which has covered quite a lot common herbs used in Chinese slow-cooking soup:

Heartily thanks to all of you for the great posts!!!

NO fast track to a perfect ‘pho bo’ (vietnamese beef noodle soup, 越南生牛肉河)

my bowl of pho bo

I have been craving for a Pho  for months, there are many Thai restaurants in Basel but not a single Vietnamese restaurant here. In Hong Kong, I can find a Vietnamese restaurant easily but a lot of friends comment that there is no real good Pho there which surprised me because HK is supposed to be a “food & drink heaven”. I guess it is because to make a proper Pho noodle soup, you have to invest a lot of time and good ingredients which means $$$, and the rental is so expensive in HK. Moreover, when they go to a Vietnamese restaurant, they will order other dishes to share among the group, not just the Pho alone. That’s my personally experience anyway.

That probably explains why I never know how to appreciate a bowl of Pho until after yesterday, I made some real stuff for my family. I have invested almost a whole day for the Pho, well maybe over exaggerated but from making the soup at 12 noon until 19:30 dinner time, that’s long enough, isn’t it? Six hours had gone to make a perfect stock. Although requiring a lot of hard work but all worth it. All of us finish the noodle soup and drank to the last drop. This soup is absolutely perfect to drink until the last drop as it’s 100% natural. As a kid, my mom did not allow us to finish the soup of any noodle soup we had when we ate out because of the MSG they usually added. And she was right, one time, I could not resist and finished all the soup and I ended up a very bad headache and felt so thirsty afterwards.  

So without ado, here is my recipe, I want to acknowledge the authors of the following recipes which I have sourced from: Wandering ChopsticksEat Drink & be Merry & Allrecipes

Serves 4

Ingredients for the beef stock:

  • 3 medium onion, keep as whole piece
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 small carrots, cut into halves
  • 1 big white radish (daikon), peel & cut into big pieces
  • 5 stalks of celery (discard the leaves), cut into big pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic, bashed
  • big bulb of ginger, ~100g, peeled & bashed
  • 1 kg oxtail pieces
  • 500g beef bone marrow
  • 1 piece of rock sugar

Spices to add to the beef stock:

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 5 star anise
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
Tossing the herbs in a pan to get the flavors out

Tossing the herbs in a pan to get the flavors out

Final seasoning:

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce,
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sesame oil
  • 1 – 16 oz. package of pho/phad thai rice noodles
  • 300g of filet mignon, thinly sliced
Thinly sliced filet mignon

Thinly sliced filet mignon

Accompanies on side:

  • 1 spring onion, cut into small piece
  • 1/2 Onion, cut into thin strips
  • sprigs of fresh cilantro/ coriander
  • fresh basil leaves ( I skipped it this time)
  • fresh mint leave
  • bean sprouts, plug out the ends ( tedious work but make the noodle looks much neat and nicer)
  • lime wedges
  • 1 fresh red chili cut into thin slices
Accompanies for pho

Accompanies on side for pho

Dipping sauces (optional):

  • hoisin sauce
  • sriracha hot chili sauce
  • fish sauce with red chili pieces

 

Method:

  1. Using a a large soup pan, bring water to boil (about 3 litres).
  2. Add oxtail & bone marrow into the pan, bring to boil, keep boiling for a few mins and then simmer at medium high heat for 10 mins or so.
  3. Discard the liquid as you will see the scum floating on top, rinse the meat pieces in tap water.
  4. Pour in new hot water (approx 4 litres) into the soup pan, bring to boil, and add in the celery, carrots, daikon, onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and star anise (after tossed, see point 5).
  5. Toss the rest of the spices in a small pan to let the flavours come out. Don’t over heat or they will get burnt. You can stop when you can smell the frangrant of the spices.
  6. The spices which are smaller in pieces or in powder form (cloves, cardarmon, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, coriander powder), I put them in 2 disposable Japanese green tea bags, the second teabag is inserted in another direction after the first one so the spices  will not leak out (you can use cheese cloth or cotton bag instead of tea bags).
  7. Simmer at medium heat for about 3 hours and then add in the daikon, cook this for another 2-3 hours or until an hour before you are ready to prepare the pho rice noodles.
  8. Skim off the fat from time to time and stir gently just to avoid sticking.
  9. After 5-6 hours of cooking, your stock is now ready remove the ingredients from the soupbase and season with fish sauce, salt, some fresh ground black pepper & sesame oil as desired.***
  10. 40 mins before you want to serve, in a separate deep pan, boil water and cook the rice noodles, unwind the noodles with wooden chopsticks, remove them from the water as soon as they just become soft, transfer to a colander, quickly rinse in cold tap water, drain and set aside. The purpose of this is to cool the noodles immediately and not to let them further cook when warm and not to get soggy. Follow the instructions behind the pack or it should not take more than 2-3 mins. (If you can find fresh pho rice noodles in your neighbourhood, that’s even better.)
  11. Prepare the accompanied side dish as mentioned above. Place them onto one plate.
  12. Prepare the hoisin sauce, sriracha hot chili sauce or you can prepare a third sauce like the Vietnamese restaurant by adding some chili pieces into some fish sauce.
  13. Cut the filet mignon into thin slices****.
  14. Transfer enough soup for 4 portion into a pan, bring to boil, place the noodles into the soup, and quickly divide the noodle into 4 soup bowls (this warms up the noodle again). Line the raw beef slices on top of the noodle, add some onion, spring onion as well and then pour the hot soup over on the beef & noodles.
  15. Serve immediately. Add some bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves, mint & coriander leaves, chili, lime & dipping sauce***** from the accompanied side dish according to your personal taste.
  16. Feel free to finish the last drop of soup.
  17. Any leftover stock can be frozen for later use.

Enjoy the real & great stuff!!!

 
Notes & Tips:

*As usual, not all pho recipes are identical, but I observed one ingredient is also very important, apart from the beef and spices, white radish (daikon) is very absolutely essential. I recalled that the Chinese brisket Noodle and the Korean Beef Soup also use white radishes. So I think I should not miss this out. White radish gives a sweet taste and blends with the beef very well. With the daikon, you will not need more stock powder or MSG! 

**If you have a cleaver (either Chinese or American ones), bash on the garlic and ginger pieces with the knife blade. I learnt this from my mom that the flavor can come out more easily.

***You can prepare the stock a day in advance which I will certainly do next time, it will save you time from running around the kitchen the whole day, my feet were tired last night after dinner, also I found the taste of the soup was even better the following day.

****Tip to cut the beef filet into very thin slices: freeze the meat in the freezer, partially defrost and cut them when it is still fairly hard, you will find this is much easier to cut into thin slices, evenly and nicely. These thinly sliced beef is also suitable for chinese hotpot or fondue chinoise (can’t help to mention, I am a hotpot monster!)

***** Our dipping sauces were left almost untouched as the soup was already very tasty that it did not really need additional flavoring.

NO fast track to a perfect 'pho bo' (vietnamese beef noodle soup, 越南生牛肉河)

my bowl of pho bo

I have been craving for a Pho  for months, there are many Thai restaurants in Basel but not a single Vietnamese restaurant here. In Hong Kong, I can find a Vietnamese restaurant easily but a lot of friends comment that there is no real good Pho there which surprised me because HK is supposed to be a “food & drink heaven”. I guess it is because to make a proper Pho noodle soup, you have to invest a lot of time and good ingredients which means $$$, and the rental is so expensive in HK. Moreover, when they go to a Vietnamese restaurant, they will order other dishes to share among the group, not just the Pho alone. That’s my personally experience anyway.

That probably explains why I never know how to appreciate a bowl of Pho until after yesterday, I made some real stuff for my family. I have invested almost a whole day for the Pho, well maybe over exaggerated but from making the soup at 12 noon until 19:30 dinner time, that’s long enough, isn’t it? Six hours had gone to make a perfect stock. Although requiring a lot of hard work but all worth it. All of us finish the noodle soup and drank to the last drop. This soup is absolutely perfect to drink until the last drop as it’s 100% natural. As a kid, my mom did not allow us to finish the soup of any noodle soup we had when we ate out because of the MSG they usually added. And she was right, one time, I could not resist and finished all the soup and I ended up a very bad headache and felt so thirsty afterwards.  

So without ado, here is my recipe, I want to acknowledge the authors of the following recipes which I have sourced from: Wandering ChopsticksEat Drink & be Merry & Allrecipes

Serves 4

Ingredients for the beef stock:

  • 3 medium onion, keep as whole piece
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 small carrots, cut into halves
  • 1 big white radish (daikon), peel & cut into big pieces
  • 5 stalks of celery (discard the leaves), cut into big pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic, bashed
  • big bulb of ginger, ~100g, peeled & bashed
  • 1 kg oxtail pieces
  • 500g beef bone marrow
  • 1 piece of rock sugar

Spices to add to the beef stock:

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 5 star anise
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
Tossing the herbs in a pan to get the flavors out

Tossing the herbs in a pan to get the flavors out

Final seasoning:

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce,
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sesame oil
  • 1 – 16 oz. package of pho/phad thai rice noodles
  • 300g of filet mignon, thinly sliced
Thinly sliced filet mignon

Thinly sliced filet mignon

Accompanies on side:

  • 1 spring onion, cut into small piece
  • 1/2 Onion, cut into thin strips
  • sprigs of fresh cilantro/ coriander
  • fresh basil leaves ( I skipped it this time)
  • fresh mint leave
  • bean sprouts, plug out the ends ( tedious work but make the noodle looks much neat and nicer)
  • lime wedges
  • 1 fresh red chili cut into thin slices
Accompanies for pho

Accompanies on side for pho

Dipping sauces (optional):

  • hoisin sauce
  • sriracha hot chili sauce
  • fish sauce with red chili pieces

 

Method:

  1. Using a a large soup pan, bring water to boil (about 3 litres).
  2. Add oxtail & bone marrow into the pan, bring to boil, keep boiling for a few mins and then simmer at medium high heat for 10 mins or so.
  3. Discard the liquid as you will see the scum floating on top, rinse the meat pieces in tap water.
  4. Pour in new hot water (approx 4 litres) into the soup pan, bring to boil, and add in the celery, carrots, daikon, onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and star anise (after tossed, see point 5).
  5. Toss the rest of the spices in a small pan to let the flavours come out. Don’t over heat or they will get burnt. You can stop when you can smell the frangrant of the spices.
  6. The spices which are smaller in pieces or in powder form (cloves, cardarmon, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, coriander powder), I put them in 2 disposable Japanese green tea bags, the second teabag is inserted in another direction after the first one so the spices  will not leak out (you can use cheese cloth or cotton bag instead of tea bags).
  7. Simmer at medium heat for about 3 hours and then add in the daikon, cook this for another 2-3 hours or until an hour before you are ready to prepare the pho rice noodles.
  8. Skim off the fat from time to time and stir gently just to avoid sticking.
  9. After 5-6 hours of cooking, your stock is now ready remove the ingredients from the soupbase and season with fish sauce, salt, some fresh ground black pepper & sesame oil as desired.***
  10. 40 mins before you want to serve, in a separate deep pan, boil water and cook the rice noodles, unwind the noodles with wooden chopsticks, remove them from the water as soon as they just become soft, transfer to a colander, quickly rinse in cold tap water, drain and set aside. The purpose of this is to cool the noodles immediately and not to let them further cook when warm and not to get soggy. Follow the instructions behind the pack or it should not take more than 2-3 mins. (If you can find fresh pho rice noodles in your neighbourhood, that’s even better.)
  11. Prepare the accompanied side dish as mentioned above. Place them onto one plate.
  12. Prepare the hoisin sauce, sriracha hot chili sauce or you can prepare a third sauce like the Vietnamese restaurant by adding some chili pieces into some fish sauce.
  13. Cut the filet mignon into thin slices****.
  14. Transfer enough soup for 4 portion into a pan, bring to boil, place the noodles into the soup, and quickly divide the noodle into 4 soup bowls (this warms up the noodle again). Line the raw beef slices on top of the noodle, add some onion, spring onion as well and then pour the hot soup over on the beef & noodles.
  15. Serve immediately. Add some bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves, mint & coriander leaves, chili, lime & dipping sauce***** from the accompanied side dish according to your personal taste.
  16. Feel free to finish the last drop of soup.
  17. Any leftover stock can be frozen for later use.

Enjoy the real & great stuff!!!

 
Notes & Tips:

*As usual, not all pho recipes are identical, but I observed one ingredient is also very important, apart from the beef and spices, white radish (daikon) is very absolutely essential. I recalled that the Chinese brisket Noodle and the Korean Beef Soup also use white radishes. So I think I should not miss this out. White radish gives a sweet taste and blends with the beef very well. With the daikon, you will not need more stock powder or MSG! 

**If you have a cleaver (either Chinese or American ones), bash on the garlic and ginger pieces with the knife blade. I learnt this from my mom that the flavor can come out more easily.

***You can prepare the stock a day in advance which I will certainly do next time, it will save you time from running around the kitchen the whole day, my feet were tired last night after dinner, also I found the taste of the soup was even better the following day.

****Tip to cut the beef filet into very thin slices: freeze the meat in the freezer, partially defrost and cut them when it is still fairly hard, you will find this is much easier to cut into thin slices, evenly and nicely. These thinly sliced beef is also suitable for chinese hotpot or fondue chinoise (can’t help to mention, I am a hotpot monster!)

***** Our dipping sauces were left almost untouched as the soup was already very tasty that it did not really need additional flavoring.

a fusion chicken curry

 

It’s almost end of October, just in time to join the monthly Foodie event: Royal Foodie Joust created by Jenn’s The Leftover Queen’s Forum-The Foodie Blogroll. Each month, the previous month winner will pick three ingredients for the following event.

Last month’s winner, Peter from Souvlaki for the Soul had made a tempting Greek dessert-Halvas of which his wonderful picture had certainly caught my attention immediately. He has picked the following ingredients for this month’s event:

Fennel (whole, ground, seeds)
Dairy (in any form)
Parsley

Personally I am not fond of fennel bulbs (due to the liquorice) but fennel seeds seem to be okay when mixed with other things.

Out of curiosity, I did a little search about fennel seeds and learnt that Fennel Seeds are very effective for digestive problems. These seeds can be chewed for beneficial effects to the stomach. In India, these are routinely chewed upon after meals to aid in digestion after a rich meal while acting as a herbal mouth freshener.

Recently when I spent the holiday in France, I bought three boxes of candies because the tin-containers are pretty (see picture below). Each sweet has a fennel seed inside. I did not know why they have to be like that now I understand the reason behind…..

At first I do not plan to join this month’s event because of the choice of fennel. But tonight, I have a friend coming over for dinner and she hopes I can make something Thai for her so it inspires me to make this Northern Thai curry for her, it’s adapted from Darlene Schmidt’s recipe. We all enjoyed this curry very much, it had a very unique taste that blend the Thai and Indian curries together. I find making curries from scratch are always special because you cannot easily find the same taste in the restaurants. Whatsmore I like mixing things in general since I was little and it’s very nice to see how the spices can produce so many different flavors when mixed together. So here’s my entry:

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Curry Sauce 

  • 1 small can coconut milk (165ml)
  • 400g natural bifudus yogurt
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric 
  • 2 shallots, cut into pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into pieces
  • 1 fresh tomato, cut into pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chili & 1 green chili (removed seeds and cut into small pieces)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped 
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • approx 6cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp graham masala
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar 

 

To put into the curry:

  • 1 medium chicken, chopped into pieces
  • 4 carrots, cut into pieces
  • 1 purple onion 
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into big pieces
  • 6-8 mini yellow aubergines, cut into halves 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, break into halves 
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley, cut with scissors only use the leaves

Method:

  1. Cut the whole chicken into pieces.
  2. Preheat the oven at 200°C.
  3. Make the curry sauce by blending all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor.
  4. Put the chicken, purple onion, carrots, aubergines and the cinnamon sticks into a baking tray and then pour the curry sauce over, stir until they are mixed with the sauce.
  5. Place the baking tray into the oven and bake at for 1 hour or so until chicken and vegetables are cooked.  
  6. Remove the baking tray from the oven.
  7. Serve the curry on your favorite dish and generously sprinkle the parley on top. 
  8. Serve with Indian Roti Parathra, basmati or long grain rice

ENJOY!

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