Healthy festive cooking
Hed Chef returns this week and kicks off with a four-part series of recipes for Chinese New Year 2015
You have just toasted your family and friends to usher in 2015 with all that revelry.
All too soon, we will be welcoming the Year of the Goat next month.
If you enjoy cooking, you'd love our four-part series which kicks off this week with Jade Chicken, a festive version of the Cantonese "pak cham gai" (white cut chicken).
You don't need any fancy ingredients to prepare the Jade Chicken, a classic dish that adds colour and taste to any festive meal.
The key ingredients are the chicken and broccoli, with the latter representing jade - an auspicious symbol in Chinese culture.
Both ingredients have to be boiled. It may seem fairly straightforward but I shall share a few tips on how to turn ordinary broccoli and chicken into dinner-table treasures.
Add a little sugar, salt and cooking oil to the water when you boil the broccoli. This helps retain the rich deep green colour of the broccoli florets. The cooking oil gives the broccoli a lustrous sheen and a smooth texture.
To achieve a perfectly cooked chicken, plunge the chicken quarters into ice water after boiling to prevent the residual heat from overcooking the chicken.
The result is chicken meat that is tender yet springy.
The final secret to achieving that aromatic flavour of the dish lies in the gravy.
A small amount of home-made garlic oil in the gravy goes a long way in enhancing the taste.
Fry a little garlic in Knife Cooking Oil, an aromatic blend which includes peanut oil and sesame oil.
Save the fried garlic to use as a garnish for other dishes.
Next week, learn how to make a mouth-watering dish of black pepper beef.
- 2 heads broccoli, remove main stalk and cut into florets
- 6 whole chicken quarters (thigh plus drumstick)
- 30g old ginger, peeled and slightly smashed
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Knife Cooking Oil
FOR GARLIC OIL
- 3 tbsp Knife Cooking Oil
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tsp garlic oil
- 1 tsp light soya sauce
- 1 tbsp ginger juice
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- Dash of white pepper
- 250ml chicken stock
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 2 tsp water
1. Fill a pot with enough water to submerge the chicken and bring to a boil. Add the ginger and place chicken quarters in the pot. Boil uncovered for 25 minutes.
2. Remove the chicken from the pot and place in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes, then set aside.
3. Allow the cooking liquid to cool down and reserve to use as chicken stock.
4. Bring another pot of water to a boil. Add the salt, sugar and one teaspoon of Knife Cooking Oil. Boil the broccoli florets for three minutes. Remove from water and place in colander to drain excess water.
5. To prepare the garlic oil, heat three tablespoons of Knife Cooking Oil in a pan and add the garlic slices. Fry over low heat until golden. Reserve the oil. Save the fried garlic to use as a garnish in other dishes.
6. Prepare a clean chopping board and sharp knife. Chop each chicken quarter into five pieces.
7. Arrange the broccoli florets on the sides of the plate and place chicken pieces in the middle.
8. To prepare the gravy, in a bowl, add the garlic oil, light soya sauce, ginger juice, oyster sauce and white pepper. Stir and pour the mixture into a heated pan. Bring it to simmering boil over low heat.
9. In a separate bowl, mix the cornflour with two teaspoons of water. Stir this into the gravy mixture. Once it comes to a boil, pour the gravy over the chicken. Serve hot.
Some fats can add richness to food
Fat must be included in our diet to help our body absorb certain nutrients.
Other than enriching the flavours of the food, fat is a source of energy and soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
It provides essential fatty acids (EFA) which our bodies cannot make, such as Omega 3 and 6. The body can produce a small amount of Omega 9 on its own - but only when the other EFAs are present.
Homegrown heritage brand Knife has a range of cooking oils that are well-suited for use in the home kitchen.
Knife oils have high smoke points and are free of transfats and cholesterol.