Satisfy your comfort food cravings with these hearty family favourites that will make you feel oh so content. Using fresh and easy-to-find ingredients, these dishes, by award-winning local Chef Sam Leong and his family, are exactly what a hungry brood needs. Even better, they are a cinch to whip up.
Soy Sauce Chicken
5 litres/20 cups water
1 chicken, about 1.5 kg, cleaned
3 cinnamon sticks
3 pods Chinese black cardamom (also known as tsao kuo or cao guo)
3 star anise
3 bay leaves
3 tsps ground ginger
500ml/2 cups light soy sauce
500ml/2 cups dark soy sauce
60g rock sugar
1. Place water and herbs in a large pot. Bring to the boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes until water is fragrant with the aroma of the herbs.
2. Add seasoning and the whole chicken. Simmer over very low heat for about 40 minutes until chicken is cooked through and tender.
3. Remove chicken and set aside to cool before chopping into pieces.
4. Strain sauce and discard herbs.
5. Drizzle sauce over chicken and serve with your choice of noodles.
Click here for a zesty salad to tempt your taste buds…
Spicy Bitter Gourd and Egg Salad
250g bitter gourd
50g prawns, shelled and deveined
30g dried prawns, soaked to soften
30g shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 hard-boiled egg, shelled and cut into wedges
4 tbsps lime juice
3 tbsps fish sauce
2 tbsps olive oil
2–3 coriander (cilantro) stems, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
2–3 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
1 tsp sugar
1. Cut bitter gourd lengthwise in half. Scrape out the soft centre and discard. Slice thinly.
2. Prepare a bowl of iced water. Add a pinch of salt and soak bitter gourd for several minutes to get rid of the bitterness.
3. Combine ingredients for dressing (for kids, leave out the chilli) and set aside.
4. Boil a small pot of water ― put in prawns until just cooked. Drain and slice thinly. Set aside.
5. In a dry wok over medium heat, dry-fry dried prawns for about 5 minutes until dry. Place in a blender and process until fine. Remove and set aside.
6. Drain bitter gourd and place in a mixing bowl. Add prawns, dried prawns and shallots.
7. Add half the dressing and mix well. Taste and adjust with more dressing.
8. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with hard-boiled egg. Serve immediately.
Click here for a toothsome treat to end your meal on a sweet note…
Makes about 30 small cakes
100g ground almonds
50g cake flour
¼ tsp baking powder
115g icing sugar
15g matcha powder
100g + 35g egg whites
1. Preheat oven to 165 deg C. Prepare 2–3 silicone financier or madeleine moulds that are 4cm deep.
2. Heat butter in a small pan until melted and brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix ground almonds, cake flour, baking powder, icing sugar and matcha powder on low speed until ingredients are well mixed.
4. With the mixer running, gradually add 100g egg whites and mix well.
5. Add browned butter and mix until incorporated.
6. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining 35g egg whites until stiff. Fold into mixture.
7. Spoon mixture into a piping bag and pipe into prepared moulds. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Check if financiers are done by inserting the tip of a small knife or skewer into the centre of cake. The knife or skewer should come out clean.
8. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before releasing from moulds. Serve.
Recipes adapted from Sam Leong: A Family Cookbook Cooking Across Three Generations, by Sam Leong, Forest Leong, Eng Pit Yoke and Joe Leong.
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