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Poached Chicken aka Hainanese Chicken Rice

IMG_1024 (640x427)My grandmother used to tell me stories. Her voice often filled with emotions and eyes lit up as she talked through them. Why wouldn’t they be as they were adventures of her own life.

A resilient and resourceful woman, she took on a small business selling mixed vegetables and rice once upon a time. Few years back, she would be a helper/nanny to a young caucasian girl (she cared a lot for her and kept a photo of this girl in her drawer). She recounted climbing up roofs, running away from the police when she worked in an underground casino. She steamed savoury yam cakes and made her own chill sauce so that she could make some money and stay at home to supervise her young children.

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As a working mum now, those stories replay in my head with a deeper meaning and feel to it. It’s quite different of course. She was pretty much a single mother to 3 kids and work is… survival. They needed her income. Yet her dedication to her family, and love and plain determination to make it work shone through and spoke to me. Those are values.

In my head, I wondered what would she say if I tell her stories of Asher enjoying day care. Charming the socks of his carers with his smiles, protecting his toys, and participating in painting activities? I wondered what would she say about not cooking a Chinese soup every other day, or at times struggling to keep a house as clean as what she would do. Sometimes, I can hear her in my head, empathising with me. Other times, letting me know how spoilt I really am because she did not have a choice and she managed.

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My skills in steaming a whole chicken (and chopping one) are still under development. That was HER signature dish. This time though, I tried poaching a whole chicken and I loved it. Tender, juicy and full of flavour. I wished I could tell her what I have done and listen to her advice on how can I make it better.

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Hainanese Chicken Rice 

1 1.6kg free range chicken

few stalks of spring onion. Reserve a a few and tie into a knot.

1 knob of ginger sliced. Reserve 2-3 slices.

4 garlic cloves


sesame oil

drizzle soy sauce or coconut aminos

drizzle of shaoxing chinese cooking wine


Method:  Cut some fat off the chicken. Place it aside. Blitzed up spring onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Stuff chicken with the mixture. Rub chicken with some salt, oil, wine and drizzle of soy/coconut aminos. Bring a large pot of water (big enough to fit the chicken completely) to boil with the reserved ginger and spring onion. Submerge chicken into the stock. Bring it back to a simmer. Switch off the heat and leave the chicken in the pot for a good 1-1.5 hours.



Chicken fat

1 cup of rice (we use basmati rice but you can use jasmine).

Few slices of ginger

Method: In a cold pan, cook chicken fat till it renders. You can sauté some garlic with it if you like.  Wash rice. Then put the usual amount of water. Place fat and ginger in rice and cook accordingly.


Chili sauce 

3 chili padi

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp of grated ginger

1/4 of lemon juice


Method: Put everything in a food processor and blitz it up!

When everything is ready. Chopped up the chicken. Drizzle more sesame oil. Serve with veges, rice and chill.


Miso Chicken Cutlets on Zucchini Noodles

IMG_0900 (640x427)The weather is warming up. The sun is shining. Spring is here and summer is approaching!! While I’m embracing salads, there is something warm and comforting having a cooked dinner. I’m still using the oven heaps despite the warm weather- it really is my best used kitchen appliance in the house. Placing marinated meat and putting the timer on allows us to do a little more in the evening.

I’m usually faced with the dilemma on the weekend. I have a little more time now, so I would like to cook something that takes more effort. On the other hand, I prefer to take a step back and “just relaxed”. A break from the kitchen makes us better cooks no? Over the weekend, we did just that. We put food in the oven and went for a family walk. Then we stopped by the playground and played slides with our son.

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Relaxing is easier said than done isn’t it? I have to literally schedule in rest time and “no bakes” days. I’m not very good and switching off and even if I have to switch off, I need to do something. Like reading a magazine or writing a post here. I argue that baking relaxes me- but suddenly I’m stressing over having to cook dinner and bake. Yup! It’s all abit ironic in my head.

Nevertheless, life is a journey. You learn about yourself but only if you give yourself permission to. Every emotion carries a meaning in our life. While I enjoy being productive, I’m learning that having a cup of tea and breathing does wonders to my head and mood. And who says taking a breather isn’t productive?

I’m loving my spiralizer. Zucchini and Carrot noodles makes its appearance pretty often in my household. I enjoy seeing Asher trying to place long strands of veges in his mouth and being proud of himself as he worked out how to eat it. To make sure noodles doesn’t get too wet, I would salt it and squeeze water out of it. Then it’s light sauté in some coconut oil on a pan. The chicken? Easy peasy. Marinating it with tahini, miso, mirin and sesame oil, I simply place the dish in the oven, sprinkle with sesame seed and bake it.

Walking into the home with the lovely chicken aroma hits us. And as Asher would say… it’s “nana” time (He calls banana “nana” and use the same word to communicate that he is hungry).

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Miso Chicken Cutlets on Zucchini Noodles (Serves 4+2)

3 zucchini and 2 carrots spiraled

1 tablespoon of garlic


Around 9 chicken cutlets

1 tablespoon of miso paste

1/4 cup of warm water

1 tsp of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of mirin

1 tablespoon of tahini

1/2 a lemon juiced

To make the marinate, mix miso, lemon, warm water, oil, mirin and tahini in a paste. Spoon over chicken and rub it over. Place in fridge for 30 minutes or so to marinate. Or if you are short of time, bake in pre heated oven for 30 minutes.

Squeeze liquid out of vege noodles. Heat pan and sauté garlic. Add vege noodles and toss gently till it cooks. Place on plates with miso chicken on top.

Coconut Crusted Chicken

IMG_0479 (640x427) I was making dinner one Sunday night. Hubby turned to me and said “I really feel like having some crispy chicken.” He went on to say how he would probably feel sick buying KFC or fried chicken though and regret it later. He was very lucky because I was just about to cook a batch of miso chicken drumlets and winglets up for our dinner. I grabbed some desiccated coconut, whisk an egg up, and coated a few chicken with coconut. I was surprised with the results as it turned out slightly golden with a light crunch. Best of all, no after oily taste. IMG_0481 (640x427)   Coconut Crusted Chicken  10 mini chicken winglets/drumlets or tenders 1 cup of desiccated coconut pinch of salt an egg whisked sesame seeds Preheat oven at 180C. Sprinkle salt on the coconut. Coat chicken with egg, then with the coconut mixture. Place on oven tray and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes till golden.