Soy Chicken

New on the menu: Soy Chicken. Yum!
 If you live in the Middle East like we do, you understand the need to be creative in the kitchen. The line "chicken or beef" as said by the cabin crew on your flight to and from any country in the Middle East is a very good indication of what you can expect here. Yes, it's mostly chicken or beef and if you've been living here for quite sometime, a decade and a half perhaps, well... it's understandable that you kinda grow tired of it sometimes.
This is not to say though that we don't have vegetable and seafood options (although seafood are quite expensive, I must say). But yeah... you get the picture. It's chicken or beef maybe five days a week so you really have to find ways to make it extra special specially if you have kids to feed. 
If there's one chicken recipe that I really really want to try out is that Soy Chicken I've seen in the Food Network. I actually don't know why I haven't tried it yet till now, but it looked so delicious and very easy to make. Last night I decided to give it a try, half way. Half way I said because I did not get to the part where the chicken was air dried and then deep fried. I'll do that part next time, when I've got a bit more time. In the mean time, let's have this version of half way through Soy Chicken. :)
Well, if the amount of dinner our Small Ate ate is any indication, I would say it really is so good. Usually when we prepare any chicken dish, the breasts were almost always left over. But this time, I even had to save a portion for our Little Oyen, or else there would be nothing left for her. And to think it was a 1.3kg chicken I cooked instead of our usual 1kg.

1 whole chicken
1 cup soy sauce
2 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tb Knorr seasoning
2 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
3-4 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
salt (to taste)
garlic powder (or minced garlic)
ginger powder (or minced ginger)
dried rosemary
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Spring onions, chopped
1. Mix all ingredients except the chicken in a pan and bring to a boil on high heat.
2. When the sauce is boiling, lower the heat to medium and add the whole chicken. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.
3. Flip the chicken over and cook the other side. This should also balance the brown color of the skin. Cook for another 30-45 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Once the sauce has cooled down, remove the chicken,set aside to cool down further.
5. Turn the heat again to medium and cook the remaining sauce until it thickens to desired consistency then turn off the heat.
6. Chop the chicken and transfer to a serving dish. Pour over the sauce. Drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.
7. Serve with steaming hot rice. Enjoy.

Mommy Tip 1: I've also served the remaining sauce on the side in case people would want to mix it with their rice, which my kids did!

Mommy Tip 2: Light bulb moment, for a more special meal, serve with Bok Choy in Ginger and Garlic Sauce and Yellow Fried Rice. I think this is what I'll do next time. Yum!

You may also want to check these out:
Soy Sauce Marinated Stuffed Tilapia

Pinoy Style Chicken Empanada

Too far in between, I know! But I am back to cooking now, so hopefully I'd be able to share more recipes in the near future.
I'm not quite sure but I think I may have already mentioned in my previous post that I'm more of a cook rather than a baker. I'm not so comfortable with the strict structure of baking, like those measurements, timings, and whatever else. So I just tended to stick with cooking and leave those "dough-related" activities with everybody else in the household. 
When we used to have a "mini" catering business more than two years ago, among our bestsellers are cassava cake, empanada and lumpia. The cassava was the specialty of the Expat Lola and she tends to  be proprietary with her recipe so I still don't know how to make that. LOL! With the lumpia and empanada I have about 50% participation. Because, I am only engaged in cooking the stuffing. The wrapping and dough preparation, the assistants are the experts. Specially with the empanada dough it used to be the previous nanny who make it. I didn't bother because she can do it perfectly well and ---- it's hard. But long story short, she's no longer with us and we're back to COOKING FOR MONEY!!!! LOL!
I wanted to include empanada again to our menu because it used to be such a hit. But there was this "dough" problem. So as always, I turned to my mentor Mr. Google and looked for the best looking photo of empanada accompanied with the simplest recipe which I can master. And then ---- tarraaaannn!!!!

Finally! We made it!!!!
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the most perfect empanada in the whole wide world! Hahahaha!!! No, that was a lie. But I'm quite happy with how it turned out. No, that was an understatement. I'm ecstatic ---- and very proud. The dough was perfect for the perfect filling recipe I already have tucked under my sleeve. Naks! Kidding aside, this truly was an instant hit when I introduced it to the "market". That's about 20 persons, really. Our customers in our little enterprise of supplying snacks and lunches daily.

Anyways, so here's my take on the empanada that everyone loves.This recipe yields about 20 pieces.

200 grams chicken breast, cooked
1 large potato, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 tbs raisins
1/4 cup green peas
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 pcs garlic, minced
3 tbs cooking oil
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup tomato sauce
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
hard boiled egg, sliced (optional)

How to:
1. Put pan over medium heat and add oil.
2. When hot, add the onion. Saute for 1-2 minutes then add the garlic. 
3. When the garlic is golden brown, add the chicken. Saute for 2-3 minutes. (Remember, the chicken had already been boiled/cooked)
4. Add tomato paste, soy sauce and tomato sauce. Saute for 5 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper and sugar to suite your taste.
5. Add all the vegetables and the raisins. Cook until potatoes and carrots are soft to the bite.
6. Remove from pan, drain excess liquid and set aside.

3 cups flour
3/4 cups fresh milk
120gms frozen butter, cubed
1 tbs baking powder
2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt

How to:
1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients then add the frozen butter.
2. Fold in the solid butter pieces and work it out with the flour mixture using your hands. Add the milk.
3. Mix until dough is soft but firm and no longer sticking to the bowl or your hands. 
4. Form the dough into one big ball and wrap in plastic.
5. Put in the freezer for about 1-2 hours.

And then finally to make empanadas you'll need enough oil for deep frying.

1. Remove dough from freezer and thaw for about 15-30 minutes or until soft enough to roll.
2. Roll out the dough to about 2mm thick. 
3. Scoop about 2 tbs of filling put in the center top with a slice of hard boiled egg (if using). Fold the dough to form a semi-circle. Stick the edges together then cut out the excess leaving only about half cm. to seal.
4. Using a fork, tuck the edges to seal. Repeat. Yield is about 20 pieces.
5. Deep fry the empanadas. Make sure you don't crowd the pan so as not to drive down the temperature of the oil, so fry about 2-3 pieces only at a time.
6. The the dough turns light to golden brown, remove from pan. 
7. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Set aside to cool.
8. Serve for breakfast or snack. Enjoy!

Mommy tip: Remember, the filling is already cooked so no need to fry for too long. Remove from pan the moment the dough turns brown and crisp.
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Wow! Just thought this is amazing. 111,111 views as of now, Feb 24, 2014. 

I thank everyone who still keeps visiting this blog even if I don't really have new things to offer. I would really try harder this time. As I check the stats now, the top 10 viewed dishes are:

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So, if you have anything in your mind you'd like to learn how to prepare or cook, please do share. Let's learn together. Just like you, I am also learning as I go along. I believe good dishes are a product of a lot of hits and misses. So to be a good cook, let's not be afraid to try. My first dish which I learned when I was 10 was 3-step Adobo, taught by my Tatay. First chop all ingredients, dump them in the pan and cook. Done. It was good actually. But along the way, I started experimenting. Adobo sa Star, Adobong Dilaw, Spicy Adobo and even Adobo Fried Rice. Any and all kinds of Adobo, until finally I got tired of it. It's now my least favorite dish. LOL! 

Last night, as I was making Fish and Chips, which ended up as Fish Tempura, for our dinner. I suddenly realize that even the girls' perception of home cooked meals had now changed. They now are active participants in planning our menu. It was a funny thought that they now see our kitchen as they're personal restaurant where they just call in their orders and I would prepare it for them. Even before going to sleep, they enumerate the breakfasts, lunches and dinners they want me to prepare for the week. It looks like they think they have a personal chef at home! There were even times when they would ask for burgers or steaks or mashed potatoes but refuse to eat out. They wanted me to cook them at home instead. Life had just suddenly become harder! LOL! 

But I love it. I love when the fam loves the food that is served to them. I love when they finish up everything. I love when the Expat Daddy takes photos of the food before we devour them. I just so love food, cooking and everything that goes with it. In our home, meals are always a thing to look forward to. Specially weekend meals, they're such big events.

Some people suggest that I should put up a restaurant or make any of my cooking a business. And I pray, with God's grace, in time that could happen. I think the happiness I get now will be multiplied a hundred-fold. 

So to all you foodies out there, here's to all of us who loves food, cooking and eating!!!! 

See you in our next Kitchen Adventure!

Oh by the way, and since we're "talking blog", please check out my mommy blog too, 3 Mini Ladies and a Mommy. Let's share our mommy-hood experiences and some future planning and personal finance too!