Pan-seared Citrus Soy Chicken Salad

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CITRUSY SOY CHICKEN | An Asian-inspired salad with a rich, caramelised orange flavour

For those who want an Asian touch to their chicken salads, you can’t go wrong with this citrus soy chicken thigh recipe (nb: feel free to use breast if that is what you prefer). Boasting with a rich, dark, and caramelised citrus flavour, this chicken recipe works well when sliced over fresh greens to make a chicken salad, or simply enjoy it with classic sides such as haricot verts and roasted potatoes.

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Given how hot it was today though, I decided to opt for a light summer salad so picked up some fresh romaine lettuce and a huge Californian avocado.Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0790

Pan-seared Citrus Soy Chicken Salad

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PREP TIME: 20 min | COOK TIME: 10 min | TOTAL TIME: 30 min | YIELDS: 1-2 servings 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 chicken thighs (skin-off)
  • 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ginger, grated
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 handful/bunch of romaine or cos lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • Black pepper and sea salt flakes, to season

METHOD:

  1. Wash romaine lettuce and chop to roughly 1 inch thick.Citrus soy chicken salad-0724
  2. Juice the orange.Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0736
  3. Grate the ginger till you yield roughly 1/2 tablespoon.Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0754
  4. Combine the ginger, citrus juice, soy sauce, in a medium bowl. Soak the chicken thighs in the marinade and set aside for 20 minutes. Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0751
  5. Heat cast iron pan on the stovetop on medium-high heat. Wait until the oil starts to shimmer. Using a pair of tongs, place the chicken thighs on the pan and fry for 4 minutes each side until a golden colour forms.Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0760Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0774
  6. As the chicken is searing, prepare the salad. Toss the olive oil with the balsamic and season with some black pepper and salt.Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0789
  7. Once chicken is done, remove the thighs to a chopping board. Slice into 1cm strips.Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0784Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0787
  8. Transfer the salad leaves to a clean plate. Place the sliced chicken thigh on top of the salad leaves. Place the sliced avocados on top or on the side. Serve while warm.Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0817Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0808-2Grilled citrus soy chicken salad-0834.jpg
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Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (1 of 21)

PROTEIN PACKED SALAD | A hearty and healthy chicken salad with creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, fresh parsley and lots of bright citrus flavours.

Fancy a touch of the Carribean? Well, look no further than Jerk Chicken. First, let’s clarify: “Jerk” doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means Jamaican BBQ. This well rounded flavour of sweet, hot, herbal and spicy chicken can be served with rice, beans or pasta. In this particular instance, I chose quinoa as I fancied a light dinner after the repetitive days of gluttony over the recent Lunar New Year.

I love quinoa not only due to its health benefits, but because it is so versatile and easy to prepare. Did you know that quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat? It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Furthermore, it is chock full of fibre (good for relieving constipation) and is high in iron and magnesium. For more information about the health benefits of quinoa, click here.

The prime burst of flavor in this salad comes from the jerk chicken. Jerk seasoning boasts elements of sweetness, hotness, herbal-ness and spicy-ness – what a terrific combination to titillate your taste buds. Now, many of you may be wondering whether you can make your own jerk seasoning? Short answer, yes. Can I be bothered tonight? No. Problem with Hong Kong is that jerk seasoning is not easy to find. Thanks to my dear friend Noah though, he managed to grab me some on one of his (many) business trips to the British Virgin Islands.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (17 of 21)

Jerk Seasoning…not for “jerks”. Jerk seasoning typically comprises of a mixture of onion, vinegar, cayenne pepper, all spice, cinnamon, black pepper and oil.

As for how I chose to cook the chicken, I opted for the sous vide (my latest cooking gadget addiction) which inevitably takes longer (but results in chicken that is more moist and juicy). Feel free to pan-fry your chicken tenderloins/breast instead if you only have 10-15 minutes to spare (after you marinade it).

Now, for a little light dressing, simply whisk together lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, and a dash of honey. This citrus dressing is so refreshing and light that it won’t overpower the intense flavours from the jerk chicken.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (3 of 21)

Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

INACTIVE TIME: 1.5 hours | ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 small chicken tenderloin fillets (or 0.5 pound chicken breast fillet if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley
  • 1 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 tablespoon of liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoaJerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (13 of 21)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat pot of water with the sous vide to the desired temperature. In this case, I set it to 140°F/60°C for cooking the chicken tenderloins. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (11 of 21)
  2. Marinade chicken tenderloins with the jerk seasoning and place in zip-lock bag. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (19 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (18 of 21)
  3. Once desired temperature is reached, immerse zip lock bag into the pot of water, removing all air via the water immersion method. Leave in the water for 1-1.5 hours.
  4. While chicken is cooking via the sous vide method, prepare the quinoa. Simply place half a cup of uncooked quinoa into a pot set on medium-high and pour in 1 cup of water. Leave to boil, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Set aside and leave to cool.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (12 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (9 of 21)
  5. Prepare the salad dressing. Juice one lime and half an orange. In a small bowl, combine these juices together and whisk in half a tablespoon of honey. Set aside.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (8 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (7 of 21)
  6. Chop up the coriander and the remaining half of the orange into small chunks. Dice the avocado into small bite sized chunks. Combine everything with the cooled down quinoa, mixing in the salad dressing.
  7. Once chicken is done in the sous vide, remove from the zip lock bag and pat dry. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or pan on medium-high heat and coat with a light drizzle of oil. Once oil shimmers throw the chicken tenderloins in and pan-fry until golden brown (~2 minutes each side).  Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (6 of 21)
  8. Remove chicken from pan and slice into smaller bite-sized pieces.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (14 of 21)
  9. Transfer quinoa salad base into a bowl for serving. Top with the freshly cooked chicken slices and serve while warm.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (4 of 21)

Sous vide Chicken Breast with Herbes de Provence

Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (14 of 14)

Thanks to sous vide cooking, no longer do you have to tolerate bland and tough chicken breasts.

Chicken breasts are the classic lean muscle-building protein. But don’t get stuck in the routine of pan-frying the breasts, which often results in producing a tough, bland and dry texture.

Tonight, I was feeling rather experimental and had some time to spare. Consequently, I opted to cook chicken breast sous vide style. All it requires is extreme “hands off” patience.

The secret to perfect chicken? Temperature control. The kind of down-to-the-degree type of control that sous vide cooking can attain.

If we’re to believe what our parents told us, chicken should be cooked to a temperature of 165°F; anything below 140°F then you tread into the “danger” zone, the temperature zone in which bacteria supposedly thrives. The ideal temperature for cooking chicken rests between 140-145°F. Once you get pass the 155°F mark, sous-vide chicken starts to take on an unpleasant chalky, tacky texture.

I set up the dial on my Anova precision cooker to 60°C/140°F. Chicken cooked at 140°F has a very tender, extremely juicy texture that is firm and completely opaque. No signs of stringiness or tackiness. It melts between your teeth. At two hours the chicken has a nice resilient chew to it, while retaining its juiciness.

The problem with traditionally cooked chicken is that the meat is penetrated by higher heat from the outside in, making it very difficult to gauge exactly what temperature it is from the edges to the centre. Common sense dictates that we often overcook the outer layers inevitably, leading to that all too familiar dry and stringy texture. Sous vide cooking allows one to control precisely the temperature at which one desires to serve them eat. This effectively means that by the time we’re done, the chicken is cooked perfectly from edge to centre without compromising on its juiciness.

The results? The chicken breast is tender enough to cut with a butter knife and glistens with flavourful juices.

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Not your ordinary bland and dry chicken breast.

Sous vide Chicken with Herbes de Provence

INACTIVE TIME: 2 hours | ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • One chicken breast (palm size)
  • 1 tablespoon of herbes de Provence.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (9 of 14)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat precision cooker to 140°F/60°C. Allow the water bath to come to the right temperature before dowsing your chicken in the bag inside.Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (7 of 14)
  2. Season the chicken breast with a coating of olive oil followed by the herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Bag the chicken in zip lock bag or vacuum bag (if using).Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (3 of 14)Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (5 of 14)
  3. Immerse the chicken in the bag into the water bath. It should sink. Set timer to 2 hours. Feel free to run some errands, go for a jog, or take a shower while the chicken is cooking (this is what I mean by “hands-free” cooking).Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (8 of 14)
  4. Once time is up, pre-heat a cast iron pan or skillet on medium-high heat, coated with a thin layer of oil. Remove chicken breast from zip lock bag and pat dry. Once oil starts to shimmer, place chicken breast on the pan and hold down flat with a spatula to ensure maximum contact between chicken breast and pan. Pan-fry for 2 minutes on each side to produce a beautiful brown and crisp sear.Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (9 of 14)
  5. Once seared, remove chicken from pan and slice to serve. Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (10 of 14)Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (12 of 14)

Three Cup Chicken (三杯鸡 - “San Bei Ji”)

Three Cup Chicken (12 of 18)

Three Cup Chicken, or “San Bei Ji” is a popular standard dish in Taiwan. Why “three cups”? Well, the name refers to the recipe used to make it, i.e. a cup of each of the three ingredients that create the sauce: rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

No two households will make this dish exactly the same way. The basic recipe. however, will consist of using these three ingredients to create a thick, dark, reduced syrupy sauce that absorbs right into the chicken. It really is an easy recipe, as everything is just chop and drop and stir frying it all together in one big wok (or a skillet if you don’t have a wok). For my adjusted version, I did not use exactly three cups of each (must have been for a bucketload of chicken).

As for the meat, feel free to opt for chicken wings or chicken drumsticks or thighs. I personally like using thighs. Can’t beat the taste of juicy chunks of meat with no bones. As for the garnish and extra ‘kick’ in flavour, if you can find Thai basil, then great, use that. If you can’t, regular basil or scallions will suffice.

INGREDIENTS (serves 3):

  • 3 chicken thighs (~1/2 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced into rounds
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Small bunch of Thai or regular basilThree Cup Chicken (2 of 18)

METHOD:


1) Wash chicken thighs and trim excess fat. Slice into smaller bite-size pieces. Three Cup Chicken (4 of 18)

2) Slice the ginger and garlic.

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3) Heat wok over medium heat. Add sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Heat for a couple of minutes to let the ginger and garlic aroma infuse into the oil.

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4) Add chopped chicken thighs into the wok in one even layer. Sear the thighs until golden brown on both sides, approximately 5 minutes.

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5) Add 1/4 cup shaoxing wine and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Cover the wok. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes to cook the chicken through.

Three Cup Chicken (9 of 18)

6) When time is up, remove the cover and quickly turn up the heat so the remaining sauce reduces and clings to the chicken to give it a rich, dark colour. Make sure to stir the chicken during this process to prevent burning. Toss in the basil and fry for a few more minutes until the basil has wilted and chicken turns dark. Three Cup Chicken (10 of 18) Three Cup Chicken (11 of 18) 7) Congratulations, the cooking has been done. Plate up the chicken and serve. Serve with a bowl of rice and enjoy! Three Cup Chicken (1 of 18)

Three Cup Chicken (13 of 18)

Roasted rosemary honey lemon chicken legs

Roasted rosemary honey lemon chicken legs

If you have some rosemary, lemon, and honey at home, I urge you to try this roast chicken leg recipe for a hearty meal.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2):

For the chicken legs:

  • 2 chicken legs
  • Bunch of fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • Salt and pepper, to season

For the roast vegetables

  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 shallots, halved
  • 1 cup of brussel sprouts
  • balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, to season.

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

2) Wash chicken thighs and pat dry with kitchen towels. Season with salt, pepper, juice of 1 lemon. Rub honey and chopped rosemary over the thighs and under the skin.

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3) Cut up the vegetables and layer on tray. Place chicken thighs on top. Slice lemon into thin slices and sit on top of the thighs. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar and lightly sprinkle some salt and pepper over the vegetables.

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4) Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown. Serve.

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