Friday, January 28, 2011

Chilli Jam

I have a row of chilli plants in my vegie patch that are laden with chillis and just about ripe. When they turn red this is what we will make - as much of it as possible to last all year! This sauce is delicious on everything, particularly bacon and egg rolls, and bbq seafood. If you use just large chillis and remove the seeds it is quite mild (almost disappointingly so), so if you like chilli, then also add a few tiny birds eye chillis (seeds and all if you are brave).
Chilli Jam
makes about 1 cup - muliply it depending on how many chillis you have, one jar is never enough!

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
6 large chillies (plus some small bird eyes chillis for extra spiciness as desired), seeds removed and sliced
1 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 C white wine
finely grated zest of 2 limes
juice of 3 limes
1/2 C brown sugar, tightly packed
sea salt to taste

Heat a flat heavy based pan, add oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring until onion has softened.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Simmer for about 20 - 40 minutes until thick and pulpy, how long this takes will depend how much you make and how ferociously you simmer it. Remove to cool slightly.

Blend in food processor or with a stick blender until almost smooth, you want no big lumps but still some texture.

Pour into sterilised jars while still hot and seal, if you let it cool quite a bit to process, then reheat before pouring.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chicken Donburi (Japanese Chicken with Egg) and Udon Noodle Soup

We are having a bit of a Japanese week. Tonight I cooked another great Japanese recipe from my Mum. It has similar ingredients to the Teriyaki Chicken but is quite a different dish. The chicken is cooked in a broth and beaten egg is poured over the top to top and allowed to set, it is served with rice. The egg takes on the flavour of the sauce and is my favourite bit. My kids love this meal too.

Earlier this week we had this Udon Noodle Soup with Crumbed Prawn Cutlets from Molly, my 4 year old, loved this so much we had it for lunch for the next 3 days (without the prawns). The recipe for the quick lunch version is below. I have been including whatever vegies I have and they gobble it up in the yummy broth.

For this recipe you will need dashi stock powder which is Japanese powdered bonito fish stock. I always get this at an asian supermarket (I do a big stock up a couple of times a year - they tend to have Chinese and Japanese ingredients). You can probably get it from your local health food shop.

My friend Skye just lent me the recipe book Thrifty Kitchen by Suzanne and Kate Gibbs. It also has a recipe for chicken donburi, the first I have seen elsewhere. Their broth is based on dashi stock with soy, rice wine and vinegar which is different to my recipe. I will have to try it and compare.

For notes on substitutions on mirin and sake, see the Teriyaki Chicken recipe.

Chicken Donburi
serves 4-6 (Tonight I halved this recipe for our family)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 - 2 carrots, thinly sliced
800g chicken thigh fillets, in bite size pieces (or breasts if you prefer but thighs will be much more moist)
1 C mirin
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C sake
6 shiitake mushrooms, fresh or dried (soak in hot water for 10 min)
5 eggs, beaten
medium grain rice to serve

In a small frypan, the right size to hold the chicken in one packed layer, heat the oil and gently fry the onion to soften. Add the chicken and stir around to just brown. Add the sauce ingredients and mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and pour the egg over, cover and cook until just set.

Serve with rice and vegetables

Vegetables side dishes to serve with Japanese
Here are some suggestions on what to serve along side Japanese meals. If I am just cooking for the family we often have plain steamed vegies but if I am entertaining it is nice to have something a bit more interesting.
  • Tomato and cucumber salad with a dressing of soy, mirin and sesame oil
  • Carrots julienne stir fried with sesame seeds
  • Broccoli (or any greens), steamed, topped with soy sauce and katsuobushi flakes (katsuobushi are dried bonito fish flakes, a yummy salty flavouring for vegies)
  • Beans, blanched, with peanut sauce (peanut butter, soy sauce, dashi powder, water)
Quick Udon Noodle Soup
This recipe is a base recipe, you could really add anything. For the kids this week I have been chopping up broccoli or adding frozen peas and corn (again). For me I add baby spinach leaves, chopped beans, spring onions... One of my girls likes silken tofu, the other doesn't so give it a go.

dried udon noodles (hakubaku brand from supermarkets is good)
500ml water
10g dashi powder (1 tsp)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
100g silken tofu

Cook noodles according to packet directions.

Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan. Add dashi, soy and mirin, stir to dissolve. Add vegetables and cook as desired. Add tofu and heat through.

Place noodles in bowls and pour soup over.