Fried chicken chow mein (or fried chicken chow nice)

Chicken chow mein is kinda a rough moniker for this most famous heavy weight of Australian-Chinese restaurant cuisine. Of course “chow” is fine because you always want to chow down on this dish, but “mein”? This is not mean at all. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s very nice.

Yup. Chow nice noodles.

I really like to use a weber kettle BBQ with a good coal base to fire up my wok. If you have one you should use it too. A hot wok is paramount for this type of cooking.

Let’s go.

I can’t stress enough that you really need to get your mise en place ready for this sort of cooking.
The other thing i would recommend is that you use charcoal to get some proper heat into your wok.


FRIED CHICKEN CHOW MEIN (OR FRIED CHICKEN CHOW NICE)

Serves 4

2 – 3 fillets of fried chicken from your last fry up, cut into 2 cm pieces
500 g fresh chow mein noodles
½ brown onion, cut into wedges
1 carrot, cut into half circles on the diagonal
1 small wedge of cabbage, sliced
1 bok choy, sliced into 2 cm pieces and washed
1 handful snow peas, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ long red chilli, sliced
2 tablespoon light soy
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon corn flour
A splash of oil
5 shallots (scallions), sliced, to garnish

Do not start cooking until you have everything cut up and ready to go.
Also mix the soy, oyster sauce and shao xing together in a small bowl so it’s ready to go too.
And the stock can get whisked into the corn flour too.
Now we are ready to start.
Heat oil in hot wok.
Add onion, carrot, cabbage, and bok choy stem and toss for 1 minute
Add chicken, garlic, chilli, snow peas remaining bok choy and toss for another minute or two.
Add noodles and go for another minute.
Add sauces and mix through.
Add stock and corn flour mix and toss through. Cook out for another minute or so.
Check seasoning and adjust with a little more soy sauce if necessary.
Serve it up, garnish with sliced shallots and chow down on the chow nice.




Coq au vin (cock ooh van)

Cock au vin, or chicken in wine, is another one of those dishes that I really look forward to when the weather chills down some.

You can cook it in a camp oven on the way to wolf creek. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to cook it for a shitload of friends. It reheats well, allowing you to get ready for dinner hours or even days early. It actually benefits from being neglected for an hour or two. It can be presented to your peasant friends or haute society in the same sitting. It’s… it’s… magic.

Even if you think you don’t like coq, you will like this.

I will generally use chicken marylands for this dish because I really do love the moistness, but the traditional meat to use is rooster and I can verify that if you have one you need to knock off it couldn’t go to a better cause. I have also been told by a French chef friend of mine that if you want to step it up a notch further, you should use capon, a castrated rooster and a product that is not readily available probably anywhere besides France.

Furthermore, I would also like to add that I don’t care what diet you’re on but now is not the time to be using chicken breast in place of the marylands either.

Some good things that will help you make your coq au vin
Brown that chicken
And now it’s ready for a turn in a 180 C (360 F) preheated oven
Looks like not much worth taking a photo of but tastes like good things have just happened in your kitchen


COQ AU VIN
(CHICKEN IN WINE)


Serves 4

4 chicken marylands, separated into thigh and drumstick
150 g bacon or speck, sliced
250 g eshallots or pickling onions (the little baby ones), or a diced onion or two
500 g mushrooms, a mix of whatever you have; button, swiss brown or king oyster. Left whole if small and halved or quartered if a bit big
1 ripe tomato, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bouquet garni (sprigs of thyme, rosemary and bay leaf)
500 ml red wine
500 ml chicken or beef stock
1 tablespoon flour mixed with ¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to season
Chopped parsley and crusty bread (Or soft bread. Who am I to tell you what bread to eat), to serve

Season the chicken and brown in a heavy based pot. Set aside.
Now in the same pot brown the bacon, onion, garlic and mushrooms.
Now the chicken goes back into the pot and so does the tomato.
Have a glass of wine and add the remainder to the pot. While you’re there you can chuck in the bouquet garni and stock. Cover the pot and whack it in the oven at 180C for 1.5 or so hours. Just enough time to get well on the way to being jolly pissed.
Alright. Concentrate now. One more thing to do…
Bring the pot out of the oven and remove chicken.
Place pot on low-medium heat and slowly whisk in the flour slurry.
Cook out for a couple of minutes so you are not eating raw flour sauce.
Now add your chicken back into the sauce and serve with something potatoey if you’re feeling it, or just by itself is fine too.
Garnish with a little parsley and some bread of your choosing to mop up the juices.
Get in there.

Laksa with fried chicken and tofu puffs

Laksa is traditionally made using candlenuts in the paste, but there are macadamias lining the streets up here so I’ve oft subbed them in very successfully.

Also, in another development in the world of substitutions, the paste section of the recipe could be subbed out for a store bought paste if you are time-poor. Please note though; the store bought paste will not come off the bench to a standing applause like the macadamias would. Don’t get me wrong, Mr store paste will still get a couple of cheers from a few drunkards down the front, it’s just not going to be the full John Farnham coming onto stage at his third “final goodbyes” tour standing ovation.

Anything you can’t find at a supermarket is no doubt at your local asian grocery store. While you’re there you should grab yourself something else you have never seen before and work out how to use it.

One thing I love about Asian cooking is the big ol’ pile of colour that you start with
Look at those tofu puffs just waiting to soak up so much flavour
Just bloody delicious

LAKSA WITH FRIED CHICKEN & TOFU PUFFS

(serves 4 – 6)

PASTE

1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled
8 dried long red chilli, rehydrated in enough hot water to cover
1 thumb sized knob tumeric, roughly chopped
1 thumb sized knob galangal, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
5 coriander root, roughly chopped
4 stalks lemon grass, white part only, roughly chopped
¼ cup candle nuts or macadamias, lightly toasted
¼ cup oil to blitz

TO COOK

Paste above
8 kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
3x 400 ml tins coconut milk
750 ml chook stock
1 tablespoon castor sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce, plus extra if necessary
2 tablespoon lime juice

TO SERVE

500 g fresh rice noodles or dried rice noodle equivalent, cooked as per instructions of chef packet
300 g chicken thigh fillet, poached or fried, kept warm in low oven
100 g fried tofu puffs, cut in half
200 g bean shoots
Extra lime and chilli
Coriander, sliced fresh shallots and crisp eshallots
A chilli condiment of your choosing

Blitz all paste ingredients in a food processor or pound with mortar and pestle until coarse pasty consistency.
The paste goes into a pot over medium heat. Cook out for 5 minutes or until it’s starting to smell delicious.
Add all “to cook” ingredients except lime juice and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Add lime juice and curry puffs and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Fish sauce for more salt, sugar for more sweet.
Chop chicken into bite sized pieces.
Now it’s time to assemble.
Noodles go into a bowl, soup and tofu get ladled over them, add the chopped chicken and then garnish with bean shoots, coriander, sliced shallots, crisp shallots, fresh chilli and chilli condiment, with extra lime on the side.
You know you will be patting yourself on the back for this one.

And here is an almost-instructional video to help you too

Troppo fried chicken burger


In Australia when we add pineapple to a dish we are automatically granted permission to rename name the dish with tropical as the prefix. For example; a pork chop that has a pineapple ring added to it may now be a tropical pork chop, a pineapple sorbet is now tropical sorbet and fast food joints are champing at the bit for their yearly tropical chicken box or tropical burger special.

If you had come from an upper middle class 80s Australian upbringing you may have also used tropical in post-title context eg. Fried chicken tropicale or something else equally as 80sesque.

Now, because we are Australians we can also be excused for abbreviating the word tropical to troppo as, well, that’s just what we do. We abbreviate the heck out of whatever the heck we want and we don’t even apologise about it.

Friendly tip #42. Season your chips* with a little of your favourite chicken rub too


TROPPO FRIED CHICKEN BURGER

(Serves 4)

4 burger buns
2 x 250 g (9 oz) chicken breasts or 4 x 120 g (4 ¼ oz) chicken thigh fillets, breasts sliced along the length into 2 thinner fillets, thighs left whole
2 eggs, beaten
150 g (5 ½ oz) potato flour
2 tbls your favourite chicken rub, plus a little extra to season
Oil to deep fry
4 slices smoked bacon, grilled
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices pineapple, fresh if you can, core removed and then grilled until slightly caramelized
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Mayonnaise

Marinate the chicken in the rub for an hour or two.
Roll the chicken through the egg mix and then the potato flour.
Give the chicken a little tap to remove excess flour.
Heat your oil in your deep fryer to 160°C (325°F).
Now fry the chicken for 4—5 minutes, until cooked.
Season the chicken with extra chicken rub and a little salt.
Need instructions about how to layer this bad boy? Let’s start with mayonnaise on the top followed by lettuce. Now from the bottom we go bun, chicken, cheese, bacon and then pineapple.

*burgers are pretty much always accompanied with chips (fries) and a tasty beverage (beverage).

Grilled chicken with Thai flavours and sweet & sour sauce


This dinner was cooked up with a pile of things from our home garden. One of the really good things about living in a sub-tropical region is that a whole heap of the ingredients that might be grown and eaten in South East Asia can also be grown here. Also, to complete the experience, children’s plastic dining tables and chairs are available from large retailers and possibly toy stores.

So, the aromats all came from our garden, as did the bok choy.

The chicken came from a super market who assured me it had led a happy and sustainable life. I wish I could say that we had grown and slaughtered the chicken ourselves but that is just not the case. It is something we have certainly done in the past and something I would like to do again, but not this time.

I am cooking the chicken over coals because I find this method to be tasty and certainly pleases my palate. Failing the presence of a grill, or the ability to use it, this chook can be oven roasted at 200 C for a similar amount of time.

This meal also contains a few of my current favourite* garnishes – sticky rice, steamed greens with oyster sauce and a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

So, in conclusion, this is my version of a Thai grilled chicken


GRILLED CHICKEN WITH THAI FLAVOURS AND SWEET & SOUR SAUCE

Serves 4 – 6

1x 1.6 – 1.8 kg chicken, spatchcocked (butterflied, splayed, busted open)
4 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
1 thumb sized piece galangal, roughly chopped
1 thumb sized piece ginger, roughly chopped
3 kafir lime leaves
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon castor sugar
Salt and white pepper to season
Coriander and sweet and sour sauce (recipe follows), to serve

Everything except the chicken and salt and pepper can go into a food processor where it can be blitzed into a coarse paste which you shall use to marinate your chicken. You could also use a mortar and pestle for this purpose, as would be the way in the old country.

Massage marinade into the chicken and leave for 30 – 60 minutes for the flavours to really get to know that chook.

Grill chicken over medium-hot coals for 45 or so minutes or until chicken is cooked (you may need to move your chicken away from direct heat if it starts to get a little too crispy or charred). Turn and rotate chicken every 10 – 15 minutes to ensure a fairly even cooking process.

Once chicken is cooked remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes. Chop into pieces with a cleaver and a crazy look in your eye. Season with salt and pepper and serve with sweet and sour sauce and sides of your choosing.

SWEET & SOUR SAUCE

2 – 3 long red chilli
2 cloves garlic
½ cup lime juice
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tbls fish sauce
1 ½ tbls water

Chop chilli and garlic finely. Combine with all other ingredients and stir/whisk until sugar is dissolved.

It is worthy of note that this is also a very nice salad dressing and will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

*Yes. My favourites do change. I certainly did no marry into a life of being a “one side only” man.

Smoky chicken wings


Now, I know that I harp on about the same shit on a regular basis – the glory of the cheaper cuts of meats for example – and this little spiel shall be conforming with the norm.

Today it is all about the chicken wing.

These things are the multi-lingual, bisexual, transgender, three-boobied alien who accepts cash, card, food stamps or a prize-winning root vegetable as preferred forms of payment.

You can do so many different things with chicken wings.

These things are about maximizing your dollar to flavour ratio.

These things are a decent meal from your last few bucks.

These things are not chicken breast.

These things will not help you soar like an eagle*.

These things are you feeding the crowd at your next swingers party and looking like you are directly descendant from the holiest of holies him/herself.

This is going to work well in a smoker or kettle BBQ with indirect heat.

The around the rim wing job

Wings and sauces – good times

SMOKY CHICKEN WINGS

As many or as few wings as you think you require
Your favourite chicken rub
Your favourite saucy good times

Fire up your smoker/grill and get the temp up to 160C-ish (320F). Place a couple of small chunks of smoky flavour wood on the coals to make those wings taste extra sexy.
Season wings with a little BBQ rub that makes you happy.
Place the wings on the grill however you see fit… a nice little around-the-rim pattern seems to be quite vogue right now.
The lid goes on.
Let the wings have a little smoky loving; 30-ish minutes for full wings and 20-ish minutes for wing segments, or until cooked. It is totally legit to cut one open and check that they are done though, so don’t be afraid to do that just to be sure.
Give them another little sprinkle with your BBQ rub of choice to freshen up those flavours.
Serve with BBQ sauce and hot sauce and… and… and… yeah, you get it, right?
Once you get these little babies sorted it’s time to start experimenting with different rubs and glazes and sauces and even wood flavours.
Go now, soar like an eagle with the down trodden, funny looking, little chicky wings.

* In fact, if you try to fly from a tall building after eating a bowl of these things, it is almost certain that you will fall to your death. With a little extra cash you could possibly purchase a “herbal wing substitute” that will surely help you fly**.

**Once again, may not actually help you fly.