Our usual Sunday roast is more often than not plain chicken with lemon. I have been trying forever to get my roast chicken right consistently, and that meanns crispy chicken, tender breast and just-nicely done thighs. I scour every roast chicken recipe to check their roasting time, and I have tried different ways – from [...]
Our usual Sunday roast is more often than not plain chicken with lemon. I have been trying forever to get my roast chicken right consistently, and that meanns crispy chicken, tender breast and just-nicely done thighs. I scour every roast chicken recipe to check their roasting time, and I have tried different ways – from slowly roasting the chicken for long hours to Michael Rulhman’s blast up the temperature method. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t.
These days, I am on a break from roasting a whole bird of chicken. We actually only like chicken thighs and wings, and are not at all partial to chicken breasts. There is only so much grilled chicken sandwiches we could eat in a week, so I have decided to be practical and control my food wastage by just roasting thighs and wings. One of my all time favourite recipes is Claudia Roden’s roasted chicken wings with garlic and lemon. But Yotam Ottolenghi is kinda the new Middle Eastern chef/cookbook author in the limelight, and so I tried out his roast chicken with za’atar, sumac and lemon.
I tried the recipe also because I was in New York a couple of weeks back, and I bought za’atar at the spice shop at the Chelsea Market. And also because there was so much to see and do (and eat) in NYC, and the diversity makes me feel like there is so much that are new and different to explore.
My curiousity about za’atar had been piqued by Ottolenghi’s accounts in his books. I also have sumac in my fridge, and I am always partial to its vivid red brightness. So, one Saturday afternoon, I marinated chicken thighs with sumac and lemon, and we had a Sunday lunch of red roast chicken. I followed the recipe (or Google for different interpretations of this recipe), but didn’t have pine nuts in my pantry. They would have made the dish better. I love the onion pieces, and kept the lemon for more decorative purposes. It’s an aromatic roast, and I think I’d try this dish again with more salt, black pepper and maybe newly-bought sumac instead of the one I had that had been sitting in my fridge forever.
I served the chicken with couscous and roast brocolli. The nuttiness of the couscous goes really well with the chicken and onions, and the brocolli completes the meal. It was a pretty simple meal to make too.
I first had roasted brocolli in Milan – during lunch at the cafeteria at the Canali headquarters. The cook was a little perplexed that I’d require a recipe for such a simple dish, but he humoured me anyway. It’s essentially brocolli tossed with salt, black pepper and olive oil, and then topped with breadcrumbs, and baked in a moderate oven (150-175C) for about 20 minutes or till they are nice and brown. Once roasted, these brocolli taste nothing like the usual boiled and stirfried ones.
I am still fascinated with pegaga, and now I also really like ulam raja. I have been having rice with ulam raja, sambal belacan and fried salted fish at home and in my mom’s house, and in Malay restaurants and stalls these last two weeks. Anyway, I digress… in between my ulam raja meals, I [...]Continue Reading → →
I have never cooked with pegaga, and didn’t even know what it looked like though the name is familiar. Like all herbs, I knew pegaga or pennyworts, has all kinds of medicinal uses and it has been said to cure everything from sore throat to infertility. It’s also supposed to contain anti-ageing properties, and some [...]Continue Reading → →
ACAR fish is one of my favourite Peranakan dishes. It literally translates to pickled fish, but in our house we never leave it long enough to pickle in the vinegar mixture. It’s essentially fried fish topped with fried slices of garlic, ginger and tumeric, with a sauce made of vinegar and sugar. It’s usually garnished [...]Continue Reading → →
Last Saturday, we woke up to smoky air that had permeated into our rooms, even with all the doors and windows shut. And the air quality was only moderately hazardous in KL, can’t imagine what it’s like for people down south where the API reading had spiked at 746 in Muar. But it’s [...]Continue Reading → →
This is one of my favourite curries – salted fish and vegetables curry, with beans and anchovies. It’s only served on Sundays at the Sultania Restaurant on Lebuh Queen, right smack in Penang’s Little India. I have only had it twice or maybe thrice; somehow my trips back to Penang haven’t allowed for all that [...]Continue Reading → →
Some day I’ll bake soft and fluffy buns like these – and I’ll do it without breaking a sweat… like my friend and breadmaking teacher Indra. In the few hours of lesson I had in her kitchen, Indra has somehow convinced me I can bake bread. With the most reassuring and inspirational confidence, she made [...]Continue Reading → →
I can’t say this every year, but this has been a wonderful time of the year for us. We had two leisurely holidays with our family almost back to back, and let’s just say our feasting started way before Christmas. And it was really good to come back to KL, and smack into the rounds [...]Continue Reading → →
Once in awhile I need a lazy day in the middle of the week when I don’t have to be anywhere at any time… like the day after we are home after being away on a long trip. The suitcases are still by the front door, unlocked with dirty laundry tucked away. The vacation responder [...]Continue Reading → →
We had just come back from a week’s holiday to Thailand, and of course we had a great time. This was my third trip to Bangkok this year, and I wasn’t fully looking forward to it. The previous two trips were rushed work trips, and I had a hard time figuring out why I had [...]Continue Reading → →