Chinese Steamed Chicken Buns ~Bread Machine

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When I was in Jr. High School my mom worked with a gal Keng, from Singapore.  Occasionally Keng would bring in food that she had prepared.  Sometimes it was noodles and once in a while it was these deliciously savory, fragrant and chewy steamed buns.  They were like nothing I had ever tried at any Chinese restaurant.

I was recollecting Keng and her amazing steamed buns and decided to make them.  I had just bought an industrial size pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast and was tired of oven fried chicken, I needed something more complex and savory. Sadly, I cannot honestly recall what the meat was in Keng’s buns.  I believe it was ground pork.  That would be amazing too.

I found a recipe or two online and one in my bread machine cookbook and combined them all to create my own recipe.  My girls and husband were crazy about them and The Mr. promptly said “You can make these anytime you want!”  I laughed and assured him, it was going to be a while before I did these again.  Not because I did not enjoy them, but they are a lengthy project to undertake.  But, yes… they are mighty tasty!

Dough Ingredients:

5/8 cup lukewarm milk

2 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon room temp butter

1 teaspoon rapid rise yeast

Pour the milk into the bread machine and add the butter.  Sprinkle the flour to cover the milk.  Add the salt and sugar into separate corners and put the yeast directly in the center.  Use your dough cycle on your machine.  Allow the dough to rest after the cycle ends.  I allowed mine to hang out for about three hours after the cycle ended.

Filling Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

2 inch piece of ginger root finely minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder (*this seems like a small amount but the flavor is needed)

8 ounces chicken breast, thinly sliced and cut into 1″ pieces

3 scallions chopped

1 tablespoon cilantro chopped

Salt and pepper

Mix all of the ingredients and marinate for at least 1/2 hour.  Heat a non stick skillet and add 1 tablespoon of oil.  When the skillet is hot add 1/2 of the chicken and stir fry for approximately 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and add the second batch of chicken.  Cook for 3 minutes and add the the first batch.  Let rest for 1/2 hour to cool the ingredients.

Vegetables For Filling:

1 small can sliced water chestnuts ~ Drained

2 carrots peeled and roughly chopped

1 small onion roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic roughly chopped

Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the vegetables are well chopped.  Add the chopped vegetables to the chicken, once the chicken is cooled and easy to handle.

Dough Preparation:

Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll the dough into a log shape.  Cut the dough into eight uniform segments and cover with a tea towel.

Take the first piece of dough and roll it into a 5″ round.  Recover and roll out the remaining dough balls into 5″ rounds, covering the dough as you work to keep it from drying out.

Heat approximately 6″ of water in a large stockpot and place your bamboo steamer on the pan.  Heat the water to a boil.

Take one round of dough and add about 2 tablespoons of filling and pull the dough out a bit.  Run a small amount of water around the edge of the dough.  Bring the sides of the dough to cover the filling and pinch the edges together to seal.  Place the bun on a small square of wax paper or parchment.  This is used to keep it from sticking in the steamer.

Cover the completed bun with a tea towel as you create the remaining seven.

Load the buns into the steamer, being careful not to allow them to touch the sides of the steamer or each other.  Keep in mind that the buns will expand as they cook.  It’s quite surprising how much larger they get while steaming.

steamed bun

Steam the buns for ten minutes and serve immediately.

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Red Thai Duck Curry ~ The Pioneer Woman

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Last year the Mr. and I went to an amazing Thai restaurant in D.C.  Generally, when we get Thai food, I either get chicken curry or Pad Thai.  I don’t usually travel too far outside of that zone, primarily because it’s not often when we get Thai and when we do I am craving those so much, I can’t bring myself to deviate from them.

This particular night I decided to splurge and go for the curry duck and well there missy… lemme tell you.  It was OUTSTANDING.  It had the most amazingly complex flavors.  It’s been in my dreams since.

Hopefully this recipe will stand up to the curry duck from D.C.  If I can ever locate some duck breasts, I’ll try it!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/01/red-thai-duck-curry/

Making NYC Street Meat: Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice Recipe

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A couple of days ago an old friend of mine who now lives in Manhattan posted on Facebook that he was making a late night trip for halal chicken and rice from 43rd & 6th street.  Not being familiar with it, I Googled it to see just what halal chicken was in New York city.  I came across an article where the author decided to figure out how to replicate the halal chicken and rice dish, sold on 53rd and 6th.

Last night I decided to give this  NYC street chicken and rice a whirl and I have to say, it’s probably the best chicken dish I’ve ever made, hands down.  Honestly.

This recipe has so much depth of flavor with the fragrant spices and Greek yogurt based marinade that I never could have imagined it would be possible for an Irish gal to make something this amazingly complex in flavor!

I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, but found their recipe did not discuss the cooking of the chicken all that much.  Here is what I did.

I purchased boneless, skinless chicken and did not trim the extra bits of fat off.  I decided not to, only because we generally eat healthy here, so I was not too worried about a tiny bit.   I figured having the extra bits of fat would keep the meat tender and juicy.  I am glad that I did.

I used a non-stick skillet and did not add oil at first.  That is not advisable.  The marinade is too thick and is dairy based, so it immediately got stuck, making a mess of the pan.  I’d either use a non-stick with oil or a well seasoned cast iron pan and a bit of vegetable oil.  Personally, I think I’d go for cast iron.  I believe the overall end result would be better and a bit more like the seasoned flat top that would be used in it’s preparation on the street.

Cook on relatively high heat and in small batches as if you were stir frying.  This way you can cook it quickly, get a nice sear on your chicken and you won’t crowd the meat, which would cause it to steam.

I cooked the meat about 7 minutes per batch, removed it from the heat, let it rest, and added the next batch to cook.

I served it with Mujadarra (rice and lentils) and a gorgeous carrot salad from my new Middle Eastern cookbook that The Mr. ♥ gave to me.  I found one of our WordPress friends actually blogged about this amazing carrot dish here!

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I had originally planned on making homemade pita bread to go with it, but come six~ thirty, I was so done with cooking.  However, I highly recommend making homemade pita if you can.  It’s not overly taxing to make if you have a bread machine.  I finished cooking my pitas on a pizza stone in the oven and they were amazing little pillows.  So, so much better than store bought pita breads!

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So, What is Halal?  You can read all about it here. http://mideastfood.about.com/od/middleeasternfood101/a/halalfoods.htm

Grammy Kelley’s Oven Fried Chicken ~ Big Flavor, Easy to Make!

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When I was growing up my Grammy Kelley would sometimes make my brother and I the most amazing oven fried chicken coated in corn flakes.  Delicious!!!

I was watching Paula Deen yesterday and she made it, reminding me of the amazing chicken my Grammy made for us 35+ years ago.  Paula had marinated hers in buttermilk which I never have in the house. I did however have plenty of sour cream leftover from Mexican night and figured I could try marinating in sour cream and milk!  It worked well!

In just a few minutes I made what is perhaps the BEST freaking chicken I’ve ever made in my life!  It was full of flavor, crunchy like fried chicken, moist and juicy goodness. The family LOVED IT!

But, the best, best part is it’s soooo easy to make and easy to clean up!  No messy frying and far, fewer calories than fried chicken.  All around a very good thing!

Ingredients:

4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in 1/2 lengthwise)

1 cup sour cream

1 cup milk

Few dashes of hot sauce

4-5 cups of corn flakes, lightly crushed (not fine like breadcrumbs)

Vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons parsley flakes

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take sour cream and milk and blend together with hot sauce to taste.  Marinate chicken in mixture at least 1 hour to overnight.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle about 2 – 4  tablespoons of vegetable oil on pan.

Blend together, salt and pepper, garlic powder and parsley flakes into crushed corn flakes.

Dip marinated chicken into corn flake crumb mixture and thickly coat each piece.

Roll each coated piece of chicken onto vegetable oil on pan and place them apart so as not to crowd pieces.

Bake 20 minutes, turn the pieces carefully over and bake an additional ten minutes.

*Note* our chicken breasts are HUGE here.  If your pieces are smaller, I would recommend reducing the baking time by about 5 or more minutes. Or not cutting the pieces in 1/2, or you’ll risk dry chicken.

Serves about 4-5

Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Thai Cucumber Salad

I am crazy about Thai food!  I love the blend of sweet, salty and spicy that they are so well known for.

One of my favorite things to order when we go out for Thai, is chicken satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad.

When we moved to the remote mountains of Maine we lost all possible hope to get Thai take out and I set out to find a great recipe to make my own satay.

Thai Chicken Satay

Prep:

Soak wooden skewers first

Ingredients:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts / butterflied and pounded thin (scaloppini style)

Marinade:

Grated zest of 1 lemon ~ I find using a microplane works well or 1/4 cup lemongrass

3 cloves garlic minced

1 small onion sliced

1 tsp. Thai chili sauce or Thai chili garlic sauce (see photo below)

1 thumb sized piece of ginger sliced thin

1/2 tsp. dried turmeric

5 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

3 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. ground coriander

2 tsp cumin

Put all of the marinade ingredients into a food processor and process till smooth.  I took a taste of this marinade and it is absolutely divine on it’s own, so I imagine it would be good over plain grilled chicken or if you want to make satay, put your uncooked chicken into the marinade for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours to develop the flavor. Thread uncooked marinated chicken on skewers before cooking.

  

Grill your chicken about 1 minute per side and it will be quite tender. Cover lightly till ready to serve.

Serve with Thai peanut sauce, a fresh Thai cucumber salad and steamed jasmine rice.

Thai Peanut Sauce

1 – 10 oz. can coconut milk

1/2 cup crunch peanut butter (I only use natural unsweetened)

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 small onion finely chopped

Combine all ingredients over low heat till the milk and peanut butter have melted together well.  This can be made days in advance and reheated.

Thai Cucumber Salad

Incredients:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 medium cucumbers  peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 carrot peeled and julienned into 1/2″ slices
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Mix all of the ingredients and let marinate at least 1 hour before serving with satay.

Mexican Mondays ~ Mmm…Mole Sauce

Ingredients

    • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup finely chopped onions
    • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped.  Ghiradelli is a beautiful chocolate.
    • Directions

      1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over med /low heat.
      2. Add onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and cinnamon.
      3. Cover and cook until onion is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
      4. Mix in chili powder and flour, stir for 3 minutes.
      5. Gradually whisk in chicken broth.
      6. Increase heat to med. high.
      7. Boil until reduced, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
      8. Remove from heat.
      1. Whisk in chocolate; season with salt and pepper, if desired.