Asian Chicken Stir-fry with Snow Peas

Last night, I wanted to put together a dish that had vegetables in it since I had a lot of veggies–including snow peas that I got at Coles for less than two dollars–and didn’t want them to go to waste.

So I decided to put together an Asian-inspired stir-fry with chicken as the star and colorful ingredients in phenomenal supporting roles. The end result was quite delicious.

Ingredients

  • Half a kilo of cubed chicken breast
  • Three tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • One cup of organic chicken stock
  • Four tablespoons soy sauce
  • Two tablespoons cornflour
  • Four tablespoons of minced garlic
  • One cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • Two cups snow peas
  • Half a cup of broccoli florets
  • One red capsicum, chopped julien
  • One tablespoon sesame oil
  1. In a measuring cup, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, and cornflour.
  2. In a large saucepan, sauté the chicken and garlic until the chicken is cooked. Add mushrooms, broccoli, capsicum, and chicken stock mixture. Cook until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Add snow peas, cover the saucepan, and cook about five minutes. Add the sesame oil and stir about a minute, transfer to a large serving bowl, and serve.

Sizzling Tofu

My wife and I were able to secure a nice block of extra firm tofu last week, and we were excited to come up with something different that didn’t involve pasta or rice.

Then, boom! It hit us! Let’s do sizzling tofu!

In Manila, restaurants like Max’s Fried Chicken serve up in a sizzling hot plate some fried tofu that they mix with a flavored mayonnaise. It’s flavorful and delicious–not the healthiest way of preparing tofu, thanks to that mayo–and our kids enjoyed it. So here’s what we did!

Ingredients

  • A big block of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • Chopped red and green bell capsicums
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Cooking oil
Sauce
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (pure egg, none of that soy mayo, ayt?)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Deep fry the cubed tofu until lightly browned. Remove from the saucepan and place on paper towels.
  3. In a separate, equally large saucepan, over medium heat, sauté the capsicums and onion in two tablespoons of butter. Add the fried tofu and fry about two to three minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce into the saucepan. Stir and continue to cook, about two minutes. .
  5. Transfer onto large serving plate and serve immediately.

Garlic butter pork steak with potatoes

A few days ago, I realized that I had some potatoes that weren’t moving. They’d been there a few days, and I hadn’t done anything with it.

So I looked in the freezer, found some pork steak, and put together a quick and easy fry that made this dish a home run with my kiddos! Check out this fast recipe for garlic pork steak with potatoes.

Ingredients

  • Half a kilo of pork steak, cut into strips
  • Around a quarter kilo of potatoes, quartered
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • Three tablespoons butter, divided
  • Five garlic cloves, minced
  • Fresh or dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A third cup soy sauce, one tablespoon olive oil, and a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot for the pork marinade.

1. In a large bowl, combine the pork steak strips with a marinade of soy sauce, olive oil, and hot sauce. Leave for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, boil your potato quarters for about ten minutes.

3. Set a large pan to medium-high heat. Combine one tablespoon olive oil with a tablespoon of butter. Drop the potatoes in and cook until golden. Remove from pan.

4. Put two tablespoons of butter back in the same pan, and add the pork. Cook on both sides until lightly brown, then add the potatoes and remaining marinade. Cook until done, remove from heat, and serve immediately.

Beer-battered Barramundi Soft Tacos with Asparagus Fries

Over the weekend, we got ourselves some beautiful barramundi fillets from Woolworth’s. Normally, I’d make them with lemon-butter sauce, but this time around, my wife was feeling adventurous, so she decided to do fish tacos.

She went with a beer batter using potato starch. Loved that idea, because it gave the fish extra crunch. Add to that the salsa and salad greens, and some crunchy asparagus spears, and we had ourselves a partay! Also a nontraditional addition: kaffir-lime dressing!

Ingredients

Eight barramundi fillets
One bottle Hahn Premium light beer
1 cup potato starch
1 egg
1 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch asparagus stalks
Eight small soft tacos/tortilla wraps
Salad greens
Tomato salsa
Garlic aioli
One pack of Five Tastes Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the vegetable oil for frying over medium heat.
    In a bowl, combine the potato starch and the egg. Once mixed, slowly combine with the beer to form a batter.
  2. Dip the barramundi fillets into the batter, then deep fry until golden brown. Lay on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  3. Once all fillets are cooked, dip the asparagus shoots into the batter, then deep fry until golden brown.
  4. On a plate, assemble your taco to taste. I started with a layer of garlic aioli, then salad greens, the fish, tomato salsa, then the lime dressing. Roll the taco and enjoy!

No-Bake Shepherd’s Pie

The other night, my wife and I prepared a no-bake shepherd’s pie. A perennial kids’ favorite, we divided our pie into two sections–one with a vegetable medley of peas, corn, and carrots, and one that was meat-only–and served that to our kids.

The best part? It tastes great, even without baking! Give it a try!

Ingredients

0.5 kilo ground pork
05. kilo ground beef
1 onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
0.5 cup, peas, corn, and carrots medley, defrosted (optional)
1 pack of mashed potatoes
Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Set your stovetop to medium-high, and place two tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Brown pork and beef in the pan.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir-fry until meat is almost cooked. Add vegetable medley and sauté until meat is fully cooked.
  3. Prepare instant mashed potatoes according to instructions.
  4. Put the cooked meat in a serving dish (drain extra oil, if you have any). Create a layer of mashed potatoes atop the meat. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Chinese-Style Chicken and Pork Adobo

Oh, adobo. Filipino families across the world have such fond memories of you! And depending on the region, we will have different versions of adobo. My mother, who comes from Iloilo, makes her adobo dry, with mountains of garlic, crisp and crunchy and flavourful. My wife, who grew up in a Filipino-Chinese household, knows adobo for its salty-sour soy-based sauce and hard-boiled eggs.

For this particular blog, we whipped up the latter.

Ingredients

  • Half a kilo of pork belly, cut into bite-size pieces (approximately an inch wide per piece)
  • Half a kilo of chicken pieces, preferably drumsticks or wings
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • At least four cloves of garlic, chopped or just smashed (we like the skin on)
  • Five tablespoons soy sauce
  • Five bay leaves
  • Two tablespoons brown sugar
  • Six hard boiled eggs
  • Two cups water, or to preference

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick over medium high heat. Add chicken pieces, and cook until lightly brown. Add pork cubes and brown sugar, then sauté for another five minutes or so, until meat is cooked.
  2. Add soy sauce, bay leaves, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium strength, and simmer until meat is tender, about 45 minutes. Add water if levels of sauce get low.
  3. About 15 minutes in, in a separate pot, put six eggs and fill with water until eggs are submerged. Add a teaspoon of salt, and bring water to boil. Once water boils, remove from heat and let eggs stay in water about ten minutes. Peel.
  4. When meat is tender, add hard boiled eggs to adobo. Simmer for about two more minutes, gently stirring, and transfer to a large bowl. Serve with piping hot rice.

“Jollibee Night” at Lolo and Lola

Last night, I took the family to Lolo and Lola, a popular Filipino restaurant here in Canberra. It was “Jollibee Night” for us, and the owners were serving up their spin on some of Jollibee’s most-loved classics, including Chickenjoy and Burger Steak.

It was the first time for my wife and me to take our kids, and we were concerned they wouldn’t appreciate this Fil-Aussie take on their favourite foods. But our fears were completely unfounded, because they enjoyed it immensely!

The regular-sized order of “Burger Steak” featured three large patties of delicious Australian beef cooked in a rich, thick mushroom sauce. Served with shallots atop the dish, Lolo and Lola‘s Burger Steak was a big hit with Nathan, who wolfed down two of the three patties.

This Canberra Filipino restaurant did its best to replicate the famous Chickenjoy fried chicken. The flavour was quite similar, not exactly the same, but very good. The regular-sized order had about eight drumsticks, of which about half were taken by Nicola, can you imagine?

Finally, a trip to Lolo and Lola wouldn’t be complete without their signature crispy bagnet. What makes theirs different from pretty much any other bagnet I’ve had is the brilliant skin, which expands to chicharon-size proportions. Crispy and delicious, this is always the highlight of our trips to this Filipino restaurant in Canberra.

The total meal cost us less than AUD60, not too shabby for a family of four, with several leftovers for takeaway. We’ve always enjoyed our time at Lolo and Lola’s, and highly recommend them for anyone in Canberra looking for a taste of Filipino cuisine at its homiest and most delicious.

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Lolo and Lola is located at 3 Watson Place, Watson ACT 2602. They don’t accept bookings, lol.

Kid-friendly tuna salad sushi

For my son’s lunch the other, I made tuna salad sushi. It was so easy to make, and a joy to watch him devour! LOL

Step 1. Prepare the sushi rice. Cook a cup of uncooked rice according to instructions. (I prefer one cup of uncooked rice to two cups of water.) While the rice is cooking, dissolve a tablespoon of sugar and a dash of salt in a third-cup of rice vinegar. Once the rice is cooked, transfer to a large bowl, and stir the vinegar into the rice until fully combined.

Step 2. Prepare the other ingredients. Combine canned tuna and mayonnaise to taste. Other ingredients in this sushi are shredded imitation crabsticks, basil leaves, chopped cucumbers, and cheese slices, cut into strips. Also, in a ramekin, combine soy sauce and a small amount of prepared wasabi paste, for dipping afterward.

Step 3. Assemble the sushi. On top of a sushi rolling mat (you can see it under the plate in the picture), lay a sheet of nori (Japanese seaweed). Imagine dividing your nori into three horizontal rectangles, and spread a thin layer of rice over the lower two-thirds. At the bottom of the nori, working your way up, layer the ingredients in a horizontal pattern. (I did mine: basil, tuna, cucumber, crabsticks, cheese.)

Step 4. Roll with it! Using the mat, start to roll the nori upwards, moving the mat underneath so it doesn’t fold with the sushi.

Step 5. Nomnom time! Dip in the soy-wasabi and enjoy!