Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Char Siu Chicken

I know I know...

To most Asian food enthusiasts, char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) is never char siu without the fat...

Some might say that char siu is never a char siu if it is not cooked with pork neck or shoulder...

I'm a food enthusiast but also a health freak! Thus, I like pork char siu but prefer the skinny pork tenderloin version as a healthier option. I know that the pork tenderloin kind of char siu is not the most ideal of char siu and can be a little dry to be the filling of char siu bao (steamed buns) or siew bao (char siu pastry buns). So, here I am exploring the possibilities of cooking char siu chicken.

I cooked these char siu chicken primarily to use it as the main ingredients to make char siu buns (both steamed and baked). Instead of writing a long-winded grandma-nagging post, I have decided to break my adventure of chicken char siu buns making into three blog posts. To start, this is how I made these flavoursome, tender and moist char siu chicken...

Chinese BBQ grilled char siu chicken
Char Siu Chicken that really taste like Char Siu!
The ingredients that marinate the chicken - Ops! I forgot to include soy sauce in the picture :p
Place chicken and marinade in zip lock bags and marinate chicken in the fridge overnight.
Cover the chicken with foil and cook them in the oven first.
While baking, prepare glaze with these ingredients.
Brush, grill, brush, grill, brush, grill...
Lovely sticky glossy glaze!
Chinese BBQ grilled char siu chicken
Lovely sticky tender char siu taste!

Our fussy boss: What is this?
Me: Char Siu chicken!
Fussy boss had a bite and continue to chew... 
Me: Nice?
Fussy boss didn't say anything and continue to chew.

I can see my husband's impressed facial expression when he were chewing these char siu. For this reason, I like to regard my husband's silence as a positive kind of agreement... LOL!

Here's the recipe inspired by The Art of Baking and mostly adapted from Lily's Wai Sek Hong

2kg chicken, preferably thighs, skinless and boneless
1 cup Hoisin sauce (1 jar, 240g)
3 tsp garlic powder
6 tsp soy sauce
250g sugar
3 tbsp Hua Tiao wine (can be substitute with sweet sherry or any Chinese cooking wine)
1 1/2 tsp five-spice powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper

To glaze:
2 tbsp dark caramel sauce
2 tbsp maltose (or honey but try to use maltose as it makes a lot of difference!)
2 tbsp cooking oil (I use canola oil)

Combine chicken with all marinating ingredients. Place them in zip lock bags and make sure the surfaces of the chicken are well-coated with marinade. Marinate chicken in the fridge for at least 2 hrs or preferably overnight.

Preheat an oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced.

Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and baking paper on top. Arrange marinated chicken as a single layer (without any chicken stacking on top of each) on the lined tray. Pour marinade on the chicken and cover the tray with aluminium foil. Bake the chicken at 180°C or 160°C fan forced for 20 mins.

Remove chicken from the oven. Remove the covering foil and bake again at 180°C or 160°C fan forced for another 40-60 mins until chicken is tender. Keep basting while baking until the chicken develop a nice reddish coat.

While the chicken are baking in the oven, combine all glaze ingredients in a heat proof bowl. Warm glaze slightly in the microwave with low power for 10-20 sec or warm the side of bowl to help them to combine together. When the chicken is ready with nice reddish colour, remove them from the oven and brush each side with generous layer of glaze. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C or 180°C fan forced with grilling option. Grill each brushed side for 3-5 mins for a final shine and charred surfaces. Flip them over and brush the exposing side with a new layer of glaze and grill for another 3-5 mins. Repeat until nice charring surfaces on all sides of the chicken are achieved.

Happy Roasting

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe at this post.

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first day of the month until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is CHICKEN for April 2015 and link with us at this post anytime until 30th Apr 2015.

What after April 2015? Cheryl from Baking Taitai will be the next hostess of May 2015 and her theme is YOGURT!

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY and Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe. For more details, please see this. 

Plus, don't forget to submit your details for my giveaway... ABC Delicious, Harper Collins Australia and I are giving this latest released book to one lucky winner. This giveaway is open to ALL international readers and the submission ends on 5th April 2015. Good Luck!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Fried Eggs with Bacon Jam (ABC Delicious Valli Little) plus a Giveaway

For this post, I'm cooking fried eggs and bacon jam...

fried eggs with bacon jam
Fried eggs with bacon jam

Bacon jam???

It may sounds ridiculous to some of you but it is ridiculously delicious!!!

If you have known me well enough, you would know that I don't eat bacon. Why am I cooking this? ... because I know that my bacon-loving husband and son will love this interesting flavours. True enough, they love it. Ironically, the non-bacon-loving me can't resist eating this yummy bacon jam too!

By now, I hope that you have been convinced that this is a fabulous recipe! This recipe is found in the book, ABC delicious, Sizzle by Valli Little.

This book is one of the latest bite-sized series that is curated from the successful cookbook collection by the best selling Australian author Valli Little and the team behind Australia's ABC delicious magazine. In this book, Sizzle, there are 60 essential recipes. They are the barbecue, grill and frying pan sizzling kinds of food, all cooked in stylish ways with diversified cultures and flavours that we can eat in all occasions.

The other two books in this series are Bake, featuring sweet and savoury baked goods and Simple, featuring easy everyday cooking and I will review these books too in my subsequent posts.

"Hey! I'm reviewing three books from ABC delicious by Valli Little!" I was excited to be given this opportunity to do these reviews and had to tell my colleagues..

"Valli Little?" I can't believe that a few pairs of dazed eyes were staring at me with this questioning remark.

"You don't know who is Valli Little!!!" I was shocked because my colleagues are 100% Australians who are born in Australia and live in Australia for their whole life.

For the benefits of all, this is the book ABC delicious, Sizzle by Valli Little...

ABC delicious, Sizzle by Valli Little
And, this is Valli Little.

Valli is the editor of ABC’s delicious magazine and also the author of many popular cookbooks such as delicious. Simply The Best, delicious. Love To Eat, delicious. Slow, delicious. Indulge plus many more and this book is one of her latest creations. You can find lots of Valli's cookbooks at ABC Shop and you will find that Valli's food are all tastefully illustrated with modern Australian-influenced styles and cultures.

Without saying much further, this is how I made the bacon jam.

Obviously, to make the bacon jam, you need lots of bacon.
For a healthier option, I prefer to use the rindless kind.
Instead of using the rendered fat from the bacon, I'm using Alfa One rice bran oil to cook the jam and eggs
... because there isn't much fat in these rindless bacon.
Then, I did this.
Then, I added these plus the chopped bacon.
I didn't have bourbon and so I used brandy.
I had a taste of the reduced jam and had another mouthful of this immediately... Ops!
I can taste the bacon, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, brandy and coffee in every spoonful of this.
ok... I should stop eating the jam and need to fry the eggs.
Now, I can eat more jam with this fried egg.
nom nom nom ...

I'm sorry that I have agreed to the publisher that I can't publish the recipes in this book in this book review. To see the recipe, you can either buy this book at the retail price of AUD$19.99 or win one copy of the book here.

This giveaway is open to ALL international readers and the submission ends on 5th April 2015. Good Luck!

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Before ending this post, I like to thank ABC Delicious and Harper Collins Australia for giving me this opportunity to do this review. I like to make a disclaimer here that I'm not paid to do this and like to share my most honest opinions as I sincerely hope that everyone who read my review will gain adequate insights of this book.

I do like this book and hope that you will like it... or maybe win it too.