Tag Archives: chicken

Familiar Flavour

As a child, my brother and I frequented our granny’s place when both our parents headed off to their 9-to-5. Lunch & dinner were usually prepared lovingly by her and she never failed to note our favourites, cook them and watch us both lap up our plates with glee.

Apart from the simple but satisfying combination of rice-butter-sunny-side up-&-dark-soy-sauce (Still my ultimate fave!), I fondly remember her preparing Ayam Korma’ at least twice a week, because it was a familiar flavour that topped my favourites list. I was already a foodie back when I was 7 lol!

Now, each time I prepare this dish, my mind forms a vivid recollection of her feeding me amid my rambling about events in school. Oh alright, sentimental memories and granny stories aside; here are the ingredients you’ll need for Ayam Korma’ as prepared by the wise ole lady herself – I have em all at my fingertips cos it’s a household staple!

For Spices mix:

3 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds

1 tsp White Peppercorn

1/2 Nutmeg

1 tbsp Korma’ spice powder

4 cloves Garlic (blend)

2 large Red Onions (blend)

2 stalks Lemongrass

1 inch Galangal

2 Kaffir Lime Leaves

1 Whole Chicken

1 cup (or less) Coconut Milk

For Garnish:

Coriander Leaves

Fried Shallots

Toast the 4 spices in a pan over a medium heat, to intensify the aroma. Roll them around so they don’t get burnt.

Here are some quick tips on dried spices:

When you’re cooking with spices like cumin, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and the likes, get the right proportions. Under-adding spices will result in a less aromatic dish, yet over-adding spices will overpower other ingredients and may even cause the dish to be bitter! Yikes!

Toasting spices helps to release their aroma. It is however, important to not burn it. Burning your spices too will result in a bitter dish, so do keep it under close watch.

In a mortar, grind the toasted spices with Korma’ spice powder. Once it’s well-grounded, mix it to the blended garlic cloves and onions. This fragrant mix is the foundation of the Ayam Korma’. Now, give yourself a pat on the back! =)

In a large pot, heat the oil before sautéeing the mixture. Pound the lemongrass stalks and galangal, and toss them into the pot. Remember the tip I mentioned in the Mee Bandung recipe? Ensure that you see the oil seeping through the spices, or “naik bau/terbit minyak” before proceeding to the next step. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, your chicken is ready to dive right in! Rip the lime leaves and add it to the pot while you’re at it.

Here’s a useful rule that I abide by:

Avoid adding water when you add meat to sautéed spices. This will ensure that the meat will retain all the lovely flavours of your spice mix. Meat, especially beef and chicken, will release their juices into the spices as they cook, and forms the gravy. You’ll get tender meat and gravy that’s bursting with flavour and aroma, I promise!

Pour in half a cup of coconut milk, stir, cover the pot and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Intermittently add the rest of your coconut milk later. Give it a few minutes to simmer a little more. Once your poultry is cooked, sprinkle coriander leaves and fried shallots; cover the pot, get it off the fire and let it rest.

Serve with piping hot white rice, or if you can’t live a day without bread, why not? This is a great dish to serve during Aidilfitri too, alongside ketupat or lontong (traditional Malay rice cakes).

I wouldn’t say it’s a quick & easy recipe – let’s just say, you just have to constantly remind yourself that cooking is a labour of love (speaking from experience!). If you have a soft spot for familiar Malay home-cooked flavours, you’d know that Ayam Korma’ is undeniably good.

You’d also know that this recipe is definitely worth a try or two, yes?

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Amirah’s for all Occasions

Middle Eastern cuisine has set a strong foothold here in Singapore. And needless to say, restaurant owners are taking good advantage of this by setting up theirs at locations beyond Arab Street. Albeit, the calmness of Medina-like Arab Street still captures the true essence of dining amidst the aroma of rich spices & puffs of flavoured sheesha.

Amirah’s Grill at Bussorah Street remains a staple go-to for me.

The restaurant interior is heavily-decorated with all things authentically Arab – beautiful embroidered surahs in bright gold on a black velvet canvas, tinted glass lamps, capped swords, camel figurines and intricately woven carpets hung on walls.

Though the restaurant doesn’t exactly boast gold and porcelain sophistication like others do, their top-notch Middle Eastern-Western fusion platters just quite cuts it for me. After all, I am paying for the latter, no?

Food is justly-priced, given the portions are fit for a king. Here’s an example – For $30, you get a delectable meal that is scrumptious all through; from appetizer right up to dessert:

A plate of yummy-to-the-last-swipe hummus with warm pita bread

Chicken or mushroom soup with garlic bread

A main course platter of your choice

Hot/cold drink and Dessert

Enough with the narratives, let’s get on with the feast (for the eyes), shall we?

Hummus with Warm Pita Bread

Remember that hummus I just talked about – it is as good as hummus gets.

Smooth, mild nutty notes, fragrant olive oil and slight tanginess of lemon; warm pita makes the perfect spoon!

Soups (Chicken or Mushroom) with Garlic Bread

The soups are decent-tasting and it definitely whets your appetite for the monstrosity of a plate that comes right after.

After umpteen visits to Amirah’s Grill, these 2 main courses keep appearing in my order list. Mysterious.

1) Turkish Mixed Tenderloin Kebab

Nothing screams Mediterranean more than Kebabs. Quite frankly, this one’s for the fickle-minded who can’t decide the irresistible chicken, lamb and beef selections in the menu. Expect a mixed plate of grilled skewers of boneless chicken, grilled beef tenderloin & pieces of kofta drenched in savoury spiced sauce (read: quadruple YUM); accompanied with choice of Arabic fragrant rice or roasted potatoes.

2) Grilled Lamb Chops

If you’re a die-hard lamb fan, please don’t give this a miss. Please. The fragrant blend of spices that go into this platter does justice to the tender cuts of lamb. The well-marinated fresh lamb is soft and juicy to the bite; is cooked to absolute perfection. Based on experience, I’ve never had the lamb chops reek of any unpleasant mutton odour. Just yummy, juicy, tender chops, dipped in aromatic sauce so good, you’d request for a ladle more!

Drinks & Dessert

When you’re done lapping up your main course, down it with a glass of fresh Alexandria Mango Juice, salty or sweet Labaan, or you may even opt for teapot of hot Morroccan Mint Tea. Refreshing!

And be sure to reserve some space for dessert. You could have a scoop of good ole ice cream or the creme caramel, that is a real treat for a sweet tooth!

All in all, Amirah’s Grill is definitely a great dine-in choice for any occasion – be it bridal showers, boys night out, weekend family lunch or for birthday celebration with your loved ones.

This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):

Amirah’s for all Occasions 

Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region. Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.

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Couch Potato

Last Saturday, hopes of what would’ve been a great afternoon at Botanical Gardens with my mister having a great time with the swans, got dashed by the what’s-new weather. Rained like craaaaaazy so we had to activate Plan B: Sit home, enjoy each other’s company and do what we do best –

Eat and Laze around.

We’re really cats in human clothing, hehe!

I’d like to share with you this Baked Potato Pieor so my mister named it – recipe that was adapted from one contributed by a lovely lady friend of mine – Kalsom Arip (I call her Kak Som) to Manja’s June issue. I’ve had the privilege of trying it at her cosy place and I absolutely loved it!

Perfect for rainy afternoons, I say.

Grab the issue for the original recipe (and many other potato recipes) because I tweaked the recipe a little; added a bit of this, did without a bit of that.

What I love about recipes like this one is, you can prepare it ahead of time, leave it in the tray and bake it about an hour before guests arrive. Definitely one to note for the coming festive season or for friends coming over.

For potatoes:

4 Large Potatoes

Salt & Pepper

For filling:

1/2 sliced Yellow Onion (horizontally)

3 tbsp Mozarella Cheese

1 tbsp Butter

1 tsp Olive Oil

1/2 Chopped Yellow Onion

4 sliced Garlic Cloves (horizontally)

1 tsp grated Ginger

6 sliced Chicken Karaage

6 sliced Button Mushrooms

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

For cream mixture:

180ml Cream

4 beaten Eggs

1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes

2 tbsp Plain Flour

3 tbsp chopped Spring Onions

For topping:

1 cup Mozarella Cheese

1/2 cup toasted Bread Crumbs

Pepper & oregano

Drop your potatoes in a pot of water, sprinkle salt & pepper and bring it to a boil till potatoes are tender. After potatoes are done (check with a knife, it should pierce through easily), slice them lengthwise. At the same time, you might want to fry the chicken karaage to crisp golden brown perfection and slice into bite-sized morsels.

In a sautée pan, heat oil and butter before adding in onions and mushrooms. Once mushrooms are slightly done, throw in the rest of the ingredients – garlic, ginger, chicken, dash of oregano and black pepper. Set the savoury filling aside.

Have all your ingredients for cream mixture in a bowl – cream, eggs, flour, chilli flakes and spring onions – and beat lightly with a fork. Also, mix cheese, bread crumbs with pepper and oregano.

Now, time to layer it!

If you’ve done lasagne before, this should be easy peasy.

Grease a tray of 20 by 20cm with butter and line the sides with a dash of bread crumbs.

Layer it in this order (bottom to top): potatoes, onion, savoury filling, cheese, cream mixture, repeat this order once more but final layer has to be potatoes and cream mixture. Cover the tray with foil and bake in a 180°C oven for 40 minutes.

Open up the foil and take a whiff of all that goodness! 

Like a steam facial, only better.

And sprinkle your cheese topping mixture and pop it back into the oven for another 15 minutes. I thought to myself, boy do these oven makers know just how to tease! Looking at the cheese slowly melt and start to form a perfect golden crust, through the translucent glass panel of the oven door, is just so painful to look at, omg! *clenches chest*

Personally, I love getting a recipe right the first time! Who doesn’t? Erm, this is my first time baking this recipe, you know? God knows how many times i yelled “Yes! Yes! Yes!” in the kitchen, at the oven, at the dining table, after getting that first hot tasty mouthful! Hehe.

You could cover the tray up and present it as a gift to a friend or a new neighbour. Or bring it out to a picnic by the lake with your loved one.

Or! You could have it disappear right at home while watching TV.

Ahhh, comfort food. And of course, coupled with……………

Bring on the calories, baby!

But more than anything, I want to grow old and happy and fat with you! You know who you are. =)

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