Hello Everyone! My goodness has it been cold these past few days/nights! Today I didn’t particularly do much besides staying indoors, away from the cold and rain, and cooking up a nice pot of Chicken Soup to stay warm. I made Arroz Caldo, a Filipino chicken porridge, over the weekend seeing as I thought I’d be doing down with a cold, but I was mighty fine the next day. I had some leftover chicken and ginger from that, and so I decided to make chicken soup with it! All I really needed was green papaya and malungay or chilli leaves. Also, perfect as it’s winter warmer month on my blog, and I actually didn’t have chicken soup pre-planned into the month.
Growing up, my mom always made this dish, even though we live in the tropics where we have hot weather all year round, it was still a perfect dish for a rainy day. We usually skip the malunggay or chilli leaves altogether since its not commonly found in the markets, unless you grow your own, and we usually use chayote (or known as chokos here in Australia, which by the way I never knew until I arrived here) instead of green papaya; no real reason for the substitute. My mom also adds glass noodles to the soup rather than pairing the soup with rice (but I still add the glass noodles and have a serving of rice anyway).
I think I may have at one point in my life tried this chicken soup with green papaya, and I honestly could not tell the difference in taste, until today that is. I’m not sure if it’s the particular papaya that I picked or the way I prepared it, or whatever it may be, it did not leave a lovely taste to my buds. It just tasted wrong and I can’t pinpoint what it tasted like. Probably just raw papaya to me, but I believe that I’ve cooked it long enough because it was soft, and I don’t think I needed to do anything with it besides peeling and removing the seeds to prepare it. After this dish of mine, I definitely prefer using chayote/choko with my chicken soup. Anyway, I also tried to look for malunggay and chilli leaves in the markets. No one knew what malunggay leaves were and a lady told me that “no one here sells chilli leaves”. I stopped and thought for a while, and then I saw a sign that said that they sell curry leaves. I thought to myself if I could use curry leaves instead of chilli leaves, and so I bought a small bag of fresh curry leaves. It was a wise decision in my opinion! The curry leaves made the soup even more fragrant, which I didn’t think was possible seeing as the chicken soup alone without it was already fragrant enough. It also added a subtle flavour to the soup which I can’t quite describe. Basically, if you’ve had the chance to smell curry leaves, that smell is the flavour. I don’t know if I made any sense there but that’s what I feel/taste.
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 25 MINS| SERVES 4
1kg chicken wingettes, washed and cleaned
1/2 small-sized green papaya, peeled, seeds removed and cut into wedges
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 brown onion, diced
Thumb-sized ginger, julienned
Small bunch curry leaves
Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the julienned ginger strips and sauté until fragrant. Add in the garlic together with the curry leaves and continue sautéing until golden brown. Finally, add in the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent.
Add in the chicken wingettes together with a bit of salt and pepper. Give it a good mix, then cover the pot and let it cook for about 8-10 minutes.
Add in the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the papaya wedges and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the papayas are tender. Taste and if needed, season a bit more to your liking.
Turn the heat off and serve immediately with steamed rice. Enjoy!
The secret to making a good chicken tinola is to simmer the chicken for a long period of time. This enables the flavours of the chicken to infuse into the soup and also tenderises the chicken. I’d say cook it between 45-60 minutes, but 20 minutes cooking time is good enough if time is not on your side. Both has worked out fine for me.
Hello Everyone! It’s the beginning of Winter Warmer Month on the blog! For the next month of July I will be sharing my favourite soup recipes, as well as learning how to make other various soups that I don’t already have up my sleeve. These soups are sure to keep you warm on a mid-winter’s night while you’ve got a duvet wrapped around you as you binge watch all your favourite movies and/or tv shows; I know I’ll be doing that most nights!
Today’s recipe is one that I’ve made many times before in the past when I started getting into cooking, before I started my blog. Before moving to Australia, I’ve never seen a leek before, not including the one that Farfetch’d carries around and whacks other pokémon with. I don’t think Brunei sells them? Or maybe they do but call them a different name or something. I know one grocery store that sells them now, and at a whopping $15.99/kg. Leeks can be pretty hefty so imagine the price! Here at Coles they sell it at $2.48 or something around that price range per piece, and of course I always choose the bigger piece.
The only possible thing that I dislike about this recipe is that it made me cry and left my eyes with a stinging sensation – those darn leeks and onions! Other than that, this is quite possibly one of my favourite soup recipes alongside roast pumpkin soup. Leeks are an excellent source of vitamin K, and are a very good source of manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate, and vitamin C. It has quite a number of health benefits, but a majority of people don’t know how to cook leeks, or what to pair them with. I am probably one of them as I only know how to use leeks in this recipes, and a pasta recipe with chorizo sausages. Maybe I’ll have a week where I just cook and experiment with the use of leeks in various dishes!
PREP TIME 15 MINS| COOKING TIME 1 HOUR| SERVES 3-5
3 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
300ml thickened cream
100g streaky bacon, cut into bits
2 cups chicken (or pork)* stock
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large brown onion, diced
1 leek, washed thoroughly** and thinly sliced
2 tbsp brown sugar
Ground salt and pepper to taste
*Remember my last post on roast pork belly crackling? Well, I had about 2 cups of rich pork broth that I didn’t want to throw away, so I reserved it and decided to use it for this recipe instead of using store bought stock or the powdered/bouillon version of it; made my soup super (or should I say, souper) tasty indeed! Okay I’ll stop there.
**Tips for cleaning leeks: Cut off the green tops of the leeks, removing any outer tough leaves. Cut off the root and cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Make to to thoroughly wash out any dirt/soil that can be found in the insides of the leek.
Heat a large pot over medium-high. Add in the bacon bits and fry until crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside, leaving the bacon fat/oils in the pot.
Add the garlic in and sauté until golden brown before adding the onions in and cooking them until soft. Add the leeks and a little bit of water. Mix it around leave it to cook for about 5 minutes or until the leeks have softened. Add the brown sugar to the leeks and give it a good mix. Cover the pot and let the leeks cook and caramelise for a further 10 minutes.
Throw in the potatoes and add the pork stock to the vegetables. Season the soup with a bit of salt and pepper and leave it to boil for about half an hour or until potatoes are soft. Once done, remove from the heat and let it sit too cool down slightly for about 10 minutes.
Using a stick blender, blend the vegetables together with the liquid in the cooking pot until smooth. Add in the cream and give it a good mix.
Divide the soup equally into serving bowls (3 large bowls, or 4-5 small bowls), and top each with a bit of crispy bacon, spring onion, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve immediately with some toasted bread.
Hello Everyone! I’ll make this a quick one because I am eager to start watching Season 2 of Game of Thrones – yes that’s right! After much questions have been asked if I watch Game of Thrones, and hearing the gasps of shock when I say no – peer pressure got the best of me and now I am pretty much hooked onto it; I finished Season 1 in a day and a half! Just a note to myself, don’t watch when having lunch or dinner. I made that grave mistake of eating my dinner and the episode started with someone removing the guts of an animal and skinning it – I wanted to puke.
Anyway, if you have been following my blog for a while now, I posted a recipe for Sinigang somewhere in May last year. I made mention in that post that the dish can be made with any type of meat ranging from fish, pork, beef, shrimp, or chicken, stewed with tamarinds, tomatoes, and onions as its base. With that recipe, I used pork spare ribs, and for today’s recipe, I made it with bangús (milkfish). It is essentially the same ingredients and a similar process of cooking. Of course you can make it with any other types of fish; my mom has made this dish with pomfret, mackerel/tanigue steak, and even salmon belly – whatever floats your boat! Also, a perfect winter warmer!
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 25 MINS| SERVES 2-3
1 large bangus (milkfish); scales removed, cleaned, and cut into 4-5 thick slices
2 small spanish red onions, quartered
1 bunch kangkung, washed, leaves separated from the stems, and stems cut into short lengths
Fill a pot with about 1.5L-2L of water. Add the chilli, ginger slices, onions, and tomatoes and boil for about 10-15 minutes. Once boiling, add the tamarind soup base and season with a bit of salt. If you want your soup a little less sour, add in a teaspoon at a time to adjust to your liking (I love my sinigang soup really sour!)
Then add in the daikon and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Follow with the bangús and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Taste, and add a few drops of fish sauce if the soup is tasting a bit bland.
Remove from the heat and add the kangkung in. Serve immediately with steamed rice.
Hello Everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts once again. I’ve been a bit busy with University, preparing for the last 2 weeks to go! It’s been hectic! Also, the weather hasn’t been very cheerful for the past couple of days. Winter is definitely kicking in! It’s cold, damp and miserable. On occasions there’d be rays of sunshine, but Sydney weather being deceptive and all, the sunshine never lasts long. So what better way to warm up that a nice bowl of spicy soup with crunchy croutons? Soup has never tasted so good.
Today I cooked from the UNSW Student Cookbook, a recipe by Serena Coady. This dish was served at the Cookbook Launch last week and I fell in love with it. It tasted so good that I really wanted to make a whole bowl for myself after a measly taste test without the croutons. Today was definitely the perfect time to whip it up. I tweaked the recipe just a bit in terms of using different bread, herbs and beans, and leaving the sour cream as is, but otherwise I pretty much followed the recipe.
To be honest, the title of this recipe doesn’t quite live up to it – the spicy part that was. I was a bit disappointed that my soup was not spicy at all, like I wouldn’t even say it was mildly spicy. So I may have added a bit too much of dried chilli flakes to give it that kick that I was after. Now that really grasped the word ‘spicy’! It may just be cultural thing, I know a lot of my Western friends who can’t take anything spicy at all, or even calling a dish that had a dash of paprika in it ‘really spicy’. I seriously have no comment for that.
PREP TIME 5 MINS| COOKING TIME 25 MINS| SERVES 4
500g carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium brown onion, diced
5 cups vegetable stock
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup flaked almonds
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
3-4 slices of Pane di Casa bread from Bakers Delight
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Dollop of sour cream
Ground salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 250C.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium to high heat and sauté onions until soft, about 2 minutes. Add in the carrots with the chillies, paprika and oregano and sauté until combined. Season with a touch of salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and stir intermittently for 15 minutes until carrots are tender and browned. Add the vegetable stock and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the almond flakes into the soup, saving some for garnish later.
Meanwhile, spread the flaked almonds on a lined baking tray and place in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the flakes are golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Rip the slices of bread into bite size pieces and toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small bowl. Spread onto the same lined baking tray and roast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
Pour the soup over into a blender (working in batches if I does not all fit) and blend on low speed for about a minute until well combined and smooth. Pour into a bowl and add a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with almonds, croutons, and paprika. Serve.
Happy Hump Day Everyone! The weather has been nice and warm all week, which is a bit unusual since it’s nearing the end of fall and entering winter next month – I’m not complaining though! And yes, I know that Australian winters aren’t as cold as Northern American and European countries, it’s cold for me because coming from the tropics, it doesn’t get as cold as 24C. I love the heat! I’ve been planning on making this dish for a while now, as in a few weeks ago when the weather dropped to about 10-15C, but I never got around to. I had half a pack of vongole left from my spaghetti alle vongole in the freezer and I wanted to cook it. So yesterday for dinner I decided to make Clam Corn Chowder.
I made this dish once before last year when I went on holiday with my flatmate and two other friends. It was a great winter weekend away at Port Stephens – though it was in the middle of winter, we did very non-wintry activities: parasailing, camel riding and sand boarding. The evenings were a little chillier, and we also had a ‘Christmas in July’ dinner night, where I whipped up a nice pot of Clam Corn Chowder; full of sweet corn, smoky bacon, and delightfully briny clams.
Also, please check out the original recipe that I followed here: Epicurious.
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 20 MINS| SERVES 4-6
2 cups fish stock (clam juice preferable if available)
1/2 cup water
3 stalks scallions, chopped
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup thickened cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
Ground salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, melt 1 tbsp of the butter and sauté bacon until lightly browned, but not crisp, over medium heat. Add in the scallions (pale white parts) and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add in the corn and potatoes, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the fish stock, water, and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered.
Add the clams in and bring to a boil again, uncovered. Stir occasionally until the clams open (about 5-8 minutes). Discard any clams that remain unopened after 8 minutes.
Add the milk and cream to the chowder, remaining butter, and season with salt. Cook until heated through but do not let it boil. Garnish with green scallions and serve with buttered bread roll.