Recipe: Oven fried chicken

I love fried chicken. The husband LOVES fried chicken. But I don’t like eating fried chicken.

I know, such a contradiction, isn’t it. The truth is, I just can’t stomach the idea that I am probably ingesting a whole lot of unhealthiness with store-bought fried chicken. And I loathe to make it at home because, urghs, oil splatters everywhere.

The way to have the best of both worlds – eating fried chicken that’s healthy (what an oxymoron) – is, I have discovered, to mimic fried chicken. No, none of those glutinous fake meats for me. Instead, what you have is “fried” chicken that is baked and not deep fried in a gallon of oil.

Oven "fried" chicken

I have made this a few times now, trying out different methods and different recipes, much to the husband’s delight. He’s pretty happy to have crunchy and crisp “fried” chicken while I tinker about with the recipes but always, I find myself going back to this one from Mark Bittman. It’s easy and I have everything in my pantry. The boys LOVE it – what’s there not to love? 😉

Oven “fried” chicken
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 large chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I mixed 1 tablespoon of vinegar with almost 1 cup milk to make this nifty substitution!)
  • 1.5 cups panko
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • A drizzle of olive oil

Method

  • Take your chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking time. Preheat your oven to 205 degrees Celsius.
  • Mix the buttermilk, paprika, cayenne and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and let it soak for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Put the bread crumbs in a large, shallow plate or tray and mix the grated cheese in thoroughly.
  • Brush a baking sheet with oil and place it in a large baking dish.
  • Remove the chicken drumsticks from the bowl and place them, one at a time, into the plate of panko. Press the drums in so that the panko sticks to the chicken evenly on all sides.
  • Place the drumsticks onto the oiled baking sheet, leaving at least 2.5cm between pieces. Bake the chicken until the exterior is golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.

That’s it! What you get out of the oven is crispy delicious “fried” chicken without all the unhealthy stuff.

Oven "fried" chicken

I use five drumsticks to feed my family of four so you can adjust the amount according to your needs. Just remember to increase the panko accordingly. I also decreased the amount of salt (1.5 teaspoons in the original recipe) as this was served up to my three-year-old and one-year-old. Plus, the addition of the cheese helped to increase the flavour.

Oh, and if you don’t want panko all over your kitchen countertop, I placed the plate in my sink when I was rubbing it all over my chicken parts so that any crumbs can be washed off immediately. Just make sure that nothing touches the surface of the sink!

Everybody loves this dish – even my baby, who gobbles up the meat and then chews down the bone. It’s deliciously crisp and the meat is tender and moist. Definitely a keeper!

Oven "fried" chicken

Recipe: Anyhow roast chicken

While I am married to the son of Asia’s Martha Stewart, I am certainly no domestic goddess myself.

Listen, I love cooking and I enjoy tinkering in that hobbit-hole that we call “kitchen”. But I’m not quite cut out for cooking, my dishes are pretty much pedestrian or misses. Good thing is, I am married to a man who isn’t too fussed (even if he IS the son of Asian’s Martha Stewart 😉 and he usually eats everything that I make without nary a complaint. Good man.

But this recipe, ah, this one is a keeper because it’s so damn easy AND fast. We went out for breakfast one morning and got back home a little late. I got this prepped in 15 minutes tops and best of all, it was something that I could feed my family of four, including the littlest of us all. SCORE. The boys scarfed it up and there was nothing left after that.

I consider that a WIN.

So here it is, my Anyhow Roast Chicken.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 6 thin slices of lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried herbs – rosemary, basil, thyme

Method

  • Take your chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking time. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Celsius.
  • Peel and roughly chop your vegetables into slices or chunks. There is no need to peel the garlic but crush it with your knife. Quarter the onion. Arrange the vegetables in your roasting pan and drizzle generously with olive oil.
  • Dry the drums with paper towels. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the skin. If preparing for the little ones, you can skip the salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and arrange the slices of lemon on top. Sprinkle the dried herbs over the entire dish.
  • Turn the temperature down to 200 degrees Celsius and put the chicken in for about 30 minutes. (During this time, I decided to make aglio olio because I suddenly realised that my carb-loving husband would starve without carbs).
  • Take the chicken out. If it isn’t cooked by now, turn the drums around and put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes or so. Otherwise, cover with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

You can totally adapt to your taste – more veggies, less veggies, different type of veg, for instance. The carrot and honey sweet potato that I had used turned out to be so beautifully cooked, I think I would definitely use more of them in future. I also used the Kou Cuisine Herbed Sea Salt that I had purchased from Bali and it worked a treat.

Recipe: Meat sauce, Bolognese style

One of my go-to recipes is spaghetti bolognese. It’s simple to make, hearty and chock full of goodness. It’s one of Aidan’s favourite dish – he never fails to finish his portion off. And to top it off? I can add loads and loads of veggies into the dish and he is none the wiser.

(Yes, we are in the “no veggies” phase now. RARRR.)

Of all the spag bol recipes that I have tried, the one by Mark Bitman is my favourite. Preparation is easy, it requires minimal attention AND it tastes awesome to boot. I love to whip up a HUGE batch to freeze for days when I have very little time in between classes to take my lunch. And this is definitely one of the dishes that tastes so good as a leftover.

Because I am all about the sharing, here’s the recipe that I adapted from Mark Bitman.

Meat sauce, Bolognese style

Ingredients
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 small carrots, peeled and minced
3 celery stalk, minced
3 slices chopped bacon
500g minced beef
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 can of tomatoes
280ml chicken or beef stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup milk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

IMG_4507

Method
Put the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and bacon and sautee until veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the ground meat, stirring and breaking up any clumps, cooking until all traces of red are gone, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat a little and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Dump the canned tomatoes to the meat and then add the stock. Bring the heat to low and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occassionally and break up any big pieces of meat or tomatoes as you go.

After an hour or so*, add salt and pepper. Stir well and simmer for another hour, or until much of the liquid is evaporated. The sauce should be pretty thick by now (this is also the point where you may freeze the sauce).

Add in the milk cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve immediately with any cooked pasta (angel hair for the adults and animal pasta for the kid) with grated Parmesan on top.

*This is where you go out and put something on the telly while you wait. It was a rerun of Asia’s Next Top Models the other day. Mmm. Not a good idea watching glamazonian girls strut their stuff on the screen while a pot of pasta is bubbling away on the stove, eh. I must have eaten an extra serving of the pasta that evening.

This post was written in collaboration with Zalora.

Recipe: cottage pie

Recipe: cottage pie

I must confess: I am not exactly the most original mom out there. The stuff that I do or make a lot of the times have been inspired by someone else. Take this recipe, for instance. I decided to whip up cottage pie for the kid because I had seen a photo on my Facebook news feed of someone taking a large casserole dish of shepherd’s pie out of the oven.

There wasn’t any minced lamb in the supermarket (I shop at NTUC Xtra – very aunty) so I grabbed a pack of minced beef instead. I love this dish: it’s easy to make and comprises protein, calcium, carbs and veggies. And as with all the meals that I cook for A, this contains no salt.
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Recipe: Homemade yogurt with Greenfields

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One of the little man’s favourite foods in the world is yogurt.

Yogurt

When he turned six months and embarked on solids, I included yogurt in his daily meals because I wanted to ensure that his tummy does not suffer too much from the change in diet. Yogurt has loads of good bacteria that helps to protect the gut and it makes for a perfect after-dinner dessert that’s healthy and yummy at the same time.

I used to purchase one-litre tubs of yogurt from the supermarket and the cost was driving me a little batty. For a fermented product, yogurts can be pricey! I was spending almost $10 a week on these tubs of yogurt. And because my boo boo inhales it in no time, I had to be careful with portions in order to make a tub stretch.

Thankfully, I had made some lovely friends from the internet. After seeing my Instagram pictures of the way I dressed up my yogurt, Mrs Ergul shared how easy it was to make yogurt from scratch. And I was sold! It was not only dead simple, going the homemade route also ensured that I save quite a bit of money, considering that a carton of milk costs me all of $3 or less.

And since the little guy has been on fresh milk since he turned 12 months (we opted to skip formula entirely), it was not much effort at all to grab extra packs during our grocery runs. One of the brands that I use in rotation is Greenfields. (We toggle between two brands so that he won’t get used to one taste.)

What I like about Greenfields is that it is a natural product. I’ve been called a crunchy, hippie mama because using natural products is important to me. Greenfields milk comes from the brand’s own scientifically-sourced and managed herd of over 6000 Holstein cows in their integrated dairy farm based at Gunung Kawi. Malang, East Java, and does not include no-nos like additives, chemicals, antibiotics and hormones. Their milk is produced, pasteurised and packed within the dairy and it is single-pasteurised, ensuring optimal freshness. While I used to buy organic milk to prepare the yogurt, Greenfields offers me a cheaper product with similar benefits. In a nutshell, it’s an “honest” milk.

Here’s the easy peasy recipe to make your own homemade yogurt, thanks to the tips from Mrs Ergul, David Lebovitz (if you love to cook and bake, you NEED to go to his site pronto) and “Wholefood for Children“, written by Jude Blereau.
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