Monthly Archives: February 2015

Cheat’s Hainanese chicken rice











So what do you do when you’re favourite family meal takes hours of preparation and is just not achievable on weeknights? You develop a cheats version of course. Or more accurate, you run away to Australia for your sister’s wedding and leave your husband to fend for himself, and he will do it!

So recipe credit for this dish does go to my husband. When I left, I passed on a few of the recipes for Hainanese chicken rice that I’d used, including a version that used chicken maryland’s over the whole chook. Mr Firehouse took those recipes and put together the first version of the recipe you see below.

Hainanese chicken rice is a staple that hails from Malaysia and Singapore. So, if you’re looking for the best versions, head there. It’s white poached chicken, served at room temperate with a delicious chicken flavoured rice and broth. We usually eat ours with a chilli ginger and ginger and spring onion dipping sauce. We often has kecap manis, a sweet Asian soy sauce and cucumber to accompany this dish. The beauty is in the simplicity so I’d urge you to buy the best produce and ingredients you can afford. We made this once with supermarket, scrawny chicken legs and we were totally underwhelmed. In fact, I splurged on some amazing baby cucumbers this time around and it was totally worth it, cool fresh and crunch, even in the winter.


Steamed Chicken

  • 2 chicken marylands
  • 2 tbsp. coarse salt
  • 1 spring onion, roughly chopped
  • 3cm piece ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp shao xing wine
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Chicken Stock

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 5cm piece ginger, thickly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, green part only, roughly chopped


  • 2 tbsp peanut/vegetable oil
  • Skin from one chicken breast
  • Parson’s nose of chicken
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2cm piece ginger, grated (or ginger paste)
  • 1 cup rice

Ginger and spring onion dipping sauce

  • ½ cup peanut oil/vegetable oil
  • 3cm piece ginger, finely shredded
  • 2 spring onions, green part only, 3cm pieces, finely shredded

Chilli dipping sauce

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon reserved chicken poaching broth
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1”  piece ginger
  • a generous pinch of salt, to taste

To serve

  • Cucumber
  • Deep fried shallots
  • Kecap manis, to serve


1. For steamed chicken, fill a steamer half way with water and bring to boil. Rub the chicken marylands all over with salt, removing dirt and grit from the skin. Rinse well.

Place a shallow bowl with the chicken pieces, on top of the rack. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl to make a marinade. Place marinade over and around the chicken. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is at 74-75 C at the thickest part of the thigh.   Reserve the liquid for a soup to serve. Chop the cooled chicken in 4-6 pieces through the bone using a cleaver.There may pink around the bone, this is because of the marrow at the bone and the way the chicken was cooked. If the internal temperature of the chicken is correct then you have no reason to be concerned about the meats ‘done-ness’. Always remember to judge readiness of meat by the temperature rather than appearance.

2.In a small saucepan combine the stock, ginger and spring onions and cook over low heat.

3. For the rice, heat peanut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add skin and parsan’s nose, cook for 3-4 minutes, remove skin and parsan’s nose from the pan. Add garlic and ginger, cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden. Stir through rice to coat in oil, and cook rice according to rice cooker instructions, using the chicken stock instead of water.

4. For ginger and spring onion dipping sauce, heat peanut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, place remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and carefully pour over the oil.To make the chilli sauce: Blend your chilli sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth and bright red. Spoon into dipping dish, to serve.

5. To serve, place chicken on a plate. Spoon rice on the side of plate and arrange cucumber. Serve Kecap Manis in dipping dish next to the other two sauces. Pour remaining chicken stock into bowls and add reserved liquid from cooking chicken and top with spring onions.



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Kale Baddum

There was an episode of Modern Family a few years back where they declared that “kale is the new spinach”. I’m going to declare that in my book kale has become the new “gotu kola” Gotu Kola, sometimes called pennywort is a South Asian herb/ green that is not only tasty but has a multitude of health benefits. Unfortunately it also likes to grow in a warm, swampy climate so my chances of finding it in Seattle are fairly non-existant.

We ran into a lady at a farmer’s market who used it as an ingredient in her organic tea but outside of saying she sources her gotu kola from ‘somewhere in Oregon”, she couldn’t really help us find the stuff. So, we’ve taken to finding substitutes. This “badduma” or “fried dish” as it literally translates to, is often served in Sri Lanka with deep fried gotu kola. In the abscence of such luxuries and perhaps for something a little different, we’ve made it here today with some kale, or more correctly kale chips. It’s a delicious combination and  a fabulous condiment that adds a great textural element to any meal.




  • I bunch kale
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 4 small red onions peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup deep friend sprats *
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chilli flakes


Preheat oven to 350F/180C Prepare the kale by removing the stems and cutting in 2-3 inch pieces. Wash and dry well. Toss the kale in some olive oil, place in a single layer on an oven tray and bake for 20-25 mins or until crispy.

While the kale is cooking, fry the onions, garlic and cashews until golden and crispy. Drain well and set aside.


In a large bowl mix together the onions, garlic, cashews, sprats (if using), lime juice, salt, chilli powder and chilli flakes.  Make sure the onions etc are well coated in the spices. Finally at the kale and mix just enough to evenly distribute the spices.

This is a fabulous condiment best served with steamed white rice and something simple like dhal.


HP1B7351* Sprats are a small dried fish available from most Asian grocers. They are salty and distinctively flavoured, much like anchovies. If you want to use them, I suggest washing them first, drying them well and deep frying them much in the same way as you would the onions and cashews.

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Brisket Meat Pies


This pie is an amalgam of two worlds. The humble Aussie meat pie, meets the American slow cooked beef brisket. Perfect for an Aussie day BBQ or a game day appetizer.




Beef Brisket (based on “Bloody Mary Beef by Jamie Oliver)

  • 500g beef brisket
  • olive oil
  • 4-5 stalks of celery trimmed and chopped
  • 2 red onions, peeled and quartered.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 cups passata (tomato puree)
  • 1 tbsp. Worstershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. tobasco sauce
  • 2 tbsp, vodka
  • 1 tbsp. port

Pastry (based on maggie beer’s  sour cream pastry)

  • 250g plain all purpose flour
  • 1.4 tsp. salt
  • 200g butter
  • 125ml sour cream
  • 1 packet of frozen puff pastry


To make the brisket

Preheat oven to 250C/400F. Place a large baking dish over the stove, on high heat. Season the meat all over with salt and pepper and place in the pan with a little olive oil.  Cook, turning every few minutes until the brisket is browned all over.

Remove the browned brisket from the pan and all the onions and celery. Cook both until they are soft. At this point, add brisket back in.

In a large jug mix together the lemon, passata, Worstershire sauce, Tobasco sauce vodka and sauce. Mix well and add to the pan with the brisket along with 2 cups of water and salt and pepper.  Add the rosemary and bay leaves to the pan and bring everything to the boil At this point turn off the heat and cover the pan with a dampened piece of parchment paper and aluminium foil. Place in the over and cook for 4-5 hours, or until the beef is tender and falling apart. Cool.

To make the pastry.

Dice the butter, then pulse with the flour and salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream one tbsp. at a time and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. You may not use all of the sour cream. Wrap the dough in plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

To assemble

Roll the chilled pastry out until 3 mm thick, using plenty of flour. Spray a 12 tin muffin tray liberally with oil. I used a plastic lid slightly bigger than the top of the muffin lid to cut out the bases.


I used a scone cutter the exact size of the muffin hole for the top. *  Cut out 12 large circles from the sour cream pastry dough and 12 smaller circles from the defrosted puff pastry.

Preheat the over to 350F/180C and place the larger circles in the base of the muffin tray.


Place the brisket filling in the pastry shell and place a circle of puff pastry on top, pinching the edges closed. **



Bake the pies in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and warmed through. Enjoy!

HP1B7220   HP1B7233

* I do actually have a set of round pastry cutters which are amazing but there location is currently unclear. I blame the 2 year old.

** I had brisket leftover and have found it freezes beautifully



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