Archive for June 6, 2008

Bag of Nuts

Posted in Cooking with tags on June 6, 2008 by thepseudoepicurean

The Jman’s trip to the Royal Nut Company yesterday means that I now have bags of uber fresh hazelnuts, walnuts and cashews (the cashews were from this nut shop in Niddrie) sitting on my kitchen benchtop screaming “EAT ME! EAT ME!”.

But not before I season them though. Nuts can be full of wholesome goodness (or so I’d like to think) as long as you don’t fry them in oil or add too much salt in the seasoning. You see, I love bar/beer nuts, and we also know that beer nuts are just bad for you. So the best solution is to season them yourself at home.

It’s dead easy – toast them in a pan, make a spice seasoning of whatever you like, toss them together, and voila! This way, you can control the amount of salt, there’s no added oil, and best of all you really can’t get them any fresher than that!


The Chicken Rice Recipe

Posted in Asian Cooking, Recipes with tags on June 6, 2008 by thepseudoepicurean

Chicken Rice

Serves 2-3 people



  • 1 medium chicken (approx. 1kg)
  • 3-4 sprigs spring onions
  • 1 inch ginger piece, crushed slightly (but not smashed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed slightly
  • salt to season chicken
  • 1 tsp Chinese wine

Post Cooking Seasoning:

  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • White pepper
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Fresh spring onions, sliced lengthwise and refrigerated in a bowl of iced water (for garnish)


  1. Remove excess fat from the chicken and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. The water level should be enough to cover the entire chicken when submerged.
  3. Season the chicken with salt all over, as well as inside the cavity of the chicken. Be generous with the salt and don’t worry about it being too salty as the salt will be washed off anyway.
  4. Season the chicken with Chinese wine (feel free to add more than 1 tsp), both on the inside and the outside.
  5. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with spring onions, ginger and garlic. Seal the skin folds at the end of the cavity with a toothpick or skewer so that the pieces don’t float about during the cooking process.
  6. Submerge the chicken into the boiling water, cover the pot, and turn down the heat to the smallest flame for 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat for 10 minutes, leaving the chicken to steep.
  7. After 10 minutes, lift the chicken out to drain the water from the cavity, and be careful not to tear the skin of the chicken while doing this. I normally use a pair of chopsticks to stick into both ends of the chicken (the neck and the cavity) to lift it. This is to ensure that the temperature of water inside the cavity is sufficient to cook it evenly.
  8. Submerge chicken into the water again, turn on the heat to a low flame for another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat again and sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Keep repeating steps 7 & 8 for approximately 40 minutes. The amount of time is dependent on the size of the chicken, so you may need some trial-and-erroring there. You can test if the chicken is cooked by piercing a skewer into the fleshiest part of the thigh (usually the joint between the thigh and the breast). If there is no blood oozing out, this means that the chicken is cooked; otherwise, let it sit again for another 5-8 minutes with the heat turned off.
  10. When the chicken is cooked, lift it from the pot and dunk it into a bath of icy cold water. Be careful not to tear the skin! Leave it in the bath until the chicken has completely cooled. This is to stop the cooking process and ensures that the chicken doesnt’ become overcooked.
  11. Drain the water and rub sesame oil all over chicken.
  12. Chop chicken into pieces.
  13. Mix all “Post-cooking seasoning” ingredients together except the spring onions and drizzle over chicken.
  14. Garnish with spring onions.



  • 2 cups Jasmine rice
  • Chicken fat or 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 large (or 4 small) shallots, sliced
  • 10 slices of ginger (approx. 2-3cm in diameter) or equivalent portion
  • 2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • salt to season
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil


  1. Wash the rice and set aside to drain.
  2. Fry the fat in a wok until it yields about 2 tbsp of oil, then add the ginger, shallots and garlic. Fry until fragrant.
  3. Add in the rice and fry on high heat until it is fragrant. The rice should be toasty, slightly browned and look evidently fried (this sound a bit redundant but I’ve under-fried it before and it didn’t taste as nice). Add in the pandan leaves and fry for a while more.
  4. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Transfer the rice to a rice cooker and add in chicken stock. The amount of chicken stock may vary with the type of rice you use, but essentially it should be about the same amount of liquid as you would normally cook rice.

Chicken Rice Chilli


  • 6 fresh red chillies
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (or more if you like)
  • 1 piece thumb-sized ginger
  • 1 tbsp lime juice or vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • And maybe a sprinkle of sugar
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil


  1. Firstly I have to confess: I didn’t quite measure out a recipe for this, so the proportions are all ball-parked and based on my poor memory. But if you’ve tasted chicken rice chilli before this should be quite easy for you to work out. Just play around with the ingredients. Add more of this, less of that, until you’re happy with the taste
  2. Blend chilli until it’s a nice paste.
  3. Add ginger, garlic, canola oil and chicken stock. Blend.
  4. Season with salt, and a bit of sugar, depending on your taste.
  5. Add the vinegar or lime juice, again depending on how much zing you like in your chilli.

So there you go, the ubiquitous chicken rice that is a must-know in every Singaporean/Malaysian household. Everyone has a different recipe/technique, so feel free to improvise! And if you’ve got secrets and tips to share, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you!