Saturday, October 15, 2016

Chicken karaage / Japanese fried chicken

I think this is my 3rd chicken karaage post . There is no such thing as too much Japanese fried chicken , right ? 😀

Karaage ( kara-ageh) is a technique of Japanese deep-frying , you just simply dredge the seasoned ingredients in flour or potato starch and deep-fry them . 

This fried chicken is simply seasoned with the usual suspects that you can find in your pantry . If you're fond of Japanese food , you've probably got 2 of the ingredients .

Sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink brewed from rice , it is also an important ingredient , it adds umami , sweetness , acidity and depth to foods . Mirin is a sweet cooking liquid , it is brewed from glutinous rice and just like sake , it also adds depth and umami-rich flavour . ( Source : Japanese Soul Cooking ) 

I used cooking sake ( check the last photo ) in all of my Japanese dishes and it's way cheaper the sake that you can find in the wine section . It does the job and so far , my taste buds have no complaints about it lol 

If you can't find potato starch ( scroll down for the photo ) , use cornstarch instead .

I made half of the recipe listed below , I used 475 grams ( 2 pieces ) boneless chicken legs . This cut of chicken is perfect for deep-frying ,  the meat is really moist and soft after cooking , as long as you won't overcooked it . 

Tired of you same ol' same ol' fried chicken recipe ? Try this dish ! Simple and easy to prepare with amazing flavour payoff ! 

Recipe adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking

4 chicken legs ( about 2 pounds ) , boned and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic , peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 cup katakuriko / potato starch

Oil for deep-frying  
Steamed rice , for serving
Lemon ,  cut into wedges , for drizzling 

* Mix together the chicken , garlic , salt , ginger , sake , soy sauce and mirin in a bowl ,  stir until well combined . Marinate chicken for 15 minutes . I marinated mine for 1 hour 

* In a shallow bowl , add in potato starch . Squeeze excess marinade from the chicken and dredge each piece into the starch , shake off excess . Or you can put the starch in a ziplock or food bag , add pieces of chicken inside and shake until each piece is well coated . Transfer the dredged chicken pieces on a plate . 

* Fill a saucepan or a skillet with oil to a height of at least 1-inch . When the oil is hot , carefully add the chicken pieces , cook in batches . Fry for 5 minutes or until chicken turns golden brown . Transfer chicken to the paper-lined plate to drain or place on a wire rack to drain excess oil . 

* Serve piping hot with rice or on its own . 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Snowskin mooncakes with purple sweet potato and cream cheese filling

Most Chinese festivals revolve around food and Mid-Autumn Festival is no exception . Mooncake is a must during this festival here in Hongkong . Baked mooncake with salted egg yolk filling is still popular as ever but the snowskin version which is similar to mochi  is a much lighter alternative . The crust is made from glutinous rice flour or a combination of flours and should be kept frozen .

In this recipe , I divided the snowskin dough into 3 portions and added matcha powder and purple sweet potato powder and leave one portion as is for flavour and colour variations . The flavour of matcha tastes wonderful so as the sweet potato , the plain snowskin is a great canvas for other flavours . I was planning to add cocoa powder but I already tried it when I made my 2nd batch of snowskin a week ago so I left it out on this 3rd batch .

The crust of this mooncake is a cooked/steamed dough and pretty easy to make . The dough is sticky but easy enough to handle as long as you use plastic gloves , if that's not available , use a plastic wrap to roll each piece . I saw the filling recipe on my Facebook feed weeks ago and decided to try it . I tweaked the recipe a bit , added cream cheese and reduced the oil to half . The filling was so delicious I had to stop myself from eating it all , it tastes a bit like sweet potato ice cream , the added cream cheese is the culprit, I think 😀

Purple sweet potato with cream cheese filling :

Recipe adapted from I ♥︎ Black & White via Facebook 
200 grams steamed purple sweet potato 
30 grams brown sugar
40 grams evaporated milk 
20 grams water
25 grams cornstarch 
20 grams vegetable oil

80 grams Philly cream cheese , at room temperature
15 grams brown sugar 

* Mash sweet potato together with the sugar , if using a blender or food processor , place the mashed potato , milk , water and cornstarch into the blender and blend until smooth . If you want to do it the hard way , mash sweet potato and sugar , add in the milk and water and strain mixture into a fine sieve , pushing mixture through with the back of the spoon , this will take a while , so be patient . Add cornstarch to the mixture , mix well to combine .

* In a nonstick pan , add oil and the sweet potato mixture . Turn heat to medium and stir until oil is absorbed and mixture is thick , about 5 minutes . Transfer mixture to a bowl , let cool for 5 minutes . Meanwhile , combine cream cheese and sugar in a bowl , use a spoon or a whisk and mix until well combined . Add cream cheese to the sweet potato mixture and mix thoroughly , chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using .

* Lightly coat hands with vegetable oil , weigh filling into 25 grams each , roll each portion into a small balls , coating hands with oil as needed . Set aside .

Snowskin dough : 

Recipe adapted from am 730 HK , a free daily newspaper , translated by the 2nd Despicable 

60 grams glutinous rice flour
40 grams rice flour
15 grams cake flour
10 grams wheat flour
50 grams granulated sugar
250 grams milk
30 grams condensed milk
25 grams vegetable or olive oil

8 grams green tea powder
8 grams purple sweet potato powder

* In a mixing bowl , whisk together the 4 flours and sugar . Pour in the milk , condensed milk and oil , whisk until smooth . Strain mixture into a 8-inch baking dish or any shallow heat-proof container or plate / bowl . Cover baking dish with foil and steam over medium heat for 20 minutes .

* Take out baking dish from the pan and use a chopstick / wooden spoon or a silicone spatula and stir steamed dough , don't worry if it still looks lumpy after you stirred it . Weigh dough into 3 portions , add green tea powder in 1 portion and purple sweet potato powder in another portion and stir until well combined . Let cool for about 10 minutes then using a plastic glove , knead mixture until green tea / purple sweet potato powder is absorbed  . Leave 1 portion as is and knead until smooth . Place each portions into a plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight .

* Using a plastic glove , divide / weigh dough into 25 grams each , place each portions in a baking sheet or a plate lined with plastic wrap . Roll each portion into a  small ball .

To make a cooked glutinous rice for coating the dough : 

* Pan-fry 30 grams of glutinous rice flour over low heat for 10 - 15 minutes , let cool completely before using .

To make a snowskin mooncake : 

Makes 15 pieces snowskin mooncake at 50 grams each 
* Roll a piece of snowskin dough between gloved hands , flatten it into about 2 1/2-inch round , place the potato filling into the middle , stretch dough  to wrap completely over filling and gently seal edges . Roll filled dough into a small ball between gloved hands , sprinkle some cooked flour allover the dough . Coat the inside of the mould with some cooked flour , tapping out excess flour . Gently insert the filled dough into the mould , smoothing out the bottom . Press down mould into the prepared baking sheet , repeat with the rest of the dough and filling .

* If you want a tricolour mooncake , just weigh small amount of matcha , purple sweet potato and the original flavour of snowskin dough to make a 25 grams skin , combine each flavours and flatten into a round shape .

* Place mooncakes into the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight .

* Let mooncake stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before consuming .