Every fucking night

Lamb with cous cous, slow roasted tomatoes, cucumber and Persian feta

Popcorn chicken

This is a firm family favourite, of course it is, it involves deep frying, but the chicken is so so tasty I can see past the painfulness of cleaning up post fry.

Although, I read it somewhere that the trick with deep frying at home is to do it in a really deep saucepan so your stovetop and surrounds don’t end up slicked with oil and they were right! You still get splatter but nothing like what I was getting using a wok.

So my main suggestions here are to make sure you use the right flour for dusting – sweet potato/potato/tapioca flour is what you’re looking for. Keep the bits of chicken nice and small so you can pop them in your mouth. Marinate the chicken for as long as possible. And don’t think of bypassing the spice salt, it, like a good salad dressing, makes the dish.

Popcorn chicken with five spice salt

Popcorn chicken
 
Delicious little bite-sized pieces of fried chicken with an earthy five-spice salt
Author:
Ingredients
For the chicken
  • 1kg boneless chicken thighs cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • scant tsp of Chinese five spice powder
  • Sweet potato flour (also known as tapioca flour, I often use straight potato flour)
Five spice salt
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ tsp five spice
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • pinch of chilli powder
Instructions
  1. Toss the chicken with the marinade and set aside for as long as you've got
  2. Toss the chicken in the potato flour - I am very gung-ho at this step, I'm sure you're meant to go gently and toss a few bits at a time but I chuck the whole bag of flour in a large bowl and dump the chicken in and toss to thoroughly coat
  3. Heat the oil and then fry the chicken in batches for about 3 minutes until nice and golden. Again, I know the cardinal rule of not overcrowding the fry but last time I did the whole 1kg of chicken in just three batches and guess what, it worked! I will leave this to your better judgement and patience
  4. Skim out any bits between batches and secretly eat
  5. Drain on paper towel
For the salt
  1. Combine all the ingredients and then scatter over the cooked chicken.

 

Five spice salt

When good food fails to live up to my exacting standards

Last week I made an #everyfuckingnight dinner that was largely inedible. I know, I’ll show myself out.

It had all the makings of a great dinner. Loads of veggies, fresh egg noodles, garlic, ginger, you get the drift.

Grover even cut up all the vegetables.

Things started going awry when I ignored the cooking instructions on the pack of egg noodles (bring a pot of water to the boil, add the noodles, boil for 1 minute (where they lost me), drain and then use). Who boils something for one minute? What a waste of time and water.

Instead, I boiled the kettle and poured (probably the equivalent amount I would have used in the saucepan) water over the noodles thinking, I’ll just let it sit in that for a couple of minutes. I know you know where this is heading. Over-cooked gluggy noodles which we all tried to talk-up. “They’ll be fine,” was the resounding cry with a somewhat tremulous edge.

Then there was the sauce, which we followed to the letter. Hoisin, soy, cornflour, stock. But this is where it went wrong because stupidly I didn’t taste it. In the NOT MY FAULT category however was the fact the amounts shown on the video were noticeably different than what was given in the written form. I should have gone with what was on the video.

Anyway, what resulted was a red hot mess of over-cooked noodles, overpowering sauce and a (rare) cooking disaster.

Let’s now take a moment to give thanks for my foresight to have a couple of packets of dumplings in the freezer.

 

Onward!

Chicken and prawn stir fry

You know the chicken and cashew you get from your local chinese? In that thick comforting sauce of non-description? This is as close to it as I’ve been able to make.

It is based on Adam Liaw’s recipe in his Asian Cookery School book. It must be the fifth recipe I’ve made from it and it delivers time and time again.

The flavours are very gentle in this, there’s no soy, no oyster sauce, no garlic, just a few fine shreds of ginger, stock and shaoxing wine. It’s almost a convalescence food, wonderfully mild and nutritious. Get onto it.

Possibly the latest #everyfuckingnight made but cooked all the same. It's @liawadam 's dragon and phoenix, aka prawn and chicken stir-fry.
Possibly the latest #everyfuckingnight made but cooked all the same. It’s @liawadam ‘s dragon and phoenix, aka prawn and chicken stir-fry.

Chicken and prawn stir fry
 
Just like your local Chinese restaurant.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 12 prawns
  • 2 chicken thigh fillets, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
  • 1 carrot, peeled, cut in halve lengthways then sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • 3 slices of ginger, bruised using the side of your knife
For the marinade
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
For the sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
Instructions
  1. Peel, devein and buttefly the prawns - so cut almost the whole way through them then press down flat using the flat side of your knife
  2. Mix the chicken and prawn with the marinade and let sit for at least 15 minutes
  3. Now turn your attention to the vegetables, you're going to blanch them before combining with the meat
  4. Bring some water to the boil in your wok with a dash of the oil
  5. Blanch the carrots and white stems of the shallots for two minutes
  6. In the last minute add the snow peas and the green shallot ends
  7. Drain and set aside
  8. Wipe out the wok and then dry it over the heat
  9. Add the rest of the oil, add the ginger and then cook the chicken and prawns in batches - this splatters everywhere. I'm tempted next time to almost dry-fry it in the wok with just a smidge of oil
  10. Discard the oil
  11. Add the sauce to the wok and bring to the boil
  12. Add the meat and vegetables and keep tossing until the sauce thickens.