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Friday, July 23, 2010

Drunken and Bruised

Since leaving the MasterChef kitchen Alvin has started up a food blog.  It is called Cinnamon Pig, and on there, so far,  is the recipe he is now famous for - Drunken and Bruised.

I decided to give it a go last night.  The recipe he has posted was a little sketchy (probably by design) so I searched around on the MasterChef website and there is now a video of him making this dish - so after watching the video and armed with the recipe I attempted to do justice to the dish that Gary so loved.

I can tell you I was "in a world of pain" making this recipe.  You see you make the salad with a mortar and pestle - first the peanuts, then garlic, then chilli and lime.  I decided to cut the chillies and remove the seeds to reduce the heat (I like it hot, but others aren't so keen) - so to start off I had chilli on my fingers.  I start pounding away - first off I get lime juice in the eye - it smarts a little - but it's ok.  Next pound, WHOA!!! chilli in the eye - then made the big mistake of trying to wipe - STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.  I have never been in so much pain (well yes I have - but man it stung!!!).  So warning - safety glasses are needed when attempting this recipe!!!

Now I have only modified this recipe slightly.  I reduced the amount of chilli from 4 to 2.  I increased the amount of peanuts from 2 tbs to 100g, and I increased the number of cherry tomatoes from 6 to a punnet.  So overall nothing too drastic.  The other thing that I should mention is that I feel the broth needs a little salt - but you be the judge of that.  The recipe is as follows:

Drunken and Bruised

Serves 4

1 medium sized organic chicken
1 litre Shao Tsing wine
500ml mirin
500ml water
60g dark palm sugar
2cm piece of ginger, peeled and bruised

3 cloves of garlic
2 tbs peanuts, roasted and salted (100g) - use 2 tbs in the salad - the rest as a garnish
2 tbs dried shrimp, rinsed and drained
2 small wedges of lime
6 cherry tomatoes, halved (1 punnet)
1 bunch of snake beans (8-10 beans), cut into 5cm lengths
2 birds eye chillies
1 lebanese cucumber, shredded

3 tbs dark palm sugar
3 tbs fish sauce
3 tbs lime juice

For the chicken bring a large pot of water to boil, blanch the chicken for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the water.  Discard water.

In the same large saucepan bring the Shao Tsing wine, mirin, water, palm sugar and ginger to the boil.  Gently place the chicken in the broth and turn down the heat to a simmer.  Cover, and simmer gently for 45-60 minutes.  Take off the heat and allow the chicken to cool in the broth.  (In the video Alvin mentioned that you can even leave it there overnight - I think this would be better as it would allow the flavours to develop even more.  Make sure the breast side is down and immersed in the broth.)

For the salad place 2 tbs of the peanuts in the mortar and pestle, and crush slightly.  Add the dried shrimp and pound to a coarse paste.  Add the lime wedges and bruise gently with the pestle.  Add the tomatoes, beans and chillies, and work carefully with the pestle and a spoon.  The spiciness of the dish depends on how much you bruise the chillies.  Mix in the cucumber.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together.  The palm sugar takes quite a bit of stirring to dissolve - so if you make it well before you make the salad it gives the sugar time to dissolve.  

Don't dress the salad until you are just about to serve.  

Adjust the taste accordingly.   There should be a balanced combination of the heat from the chillies, the sourness of the lime, the saltiness of the fish sauce and the sweetness of the palm sugar.

To serve place the chicken meat in a bowl with some steamed jasmine rice, and a bowl of broth on the side.  Top the chicken and rice with a spoonful of salad.

This is a lovely dish - I think I remember Alvin saying that it was like "chicken soup" for him - a comfort food.   I would, as I mentioned before, add a little salt to the broth though - just to get a little more "flavour" going on.

Give it a go - just make sure you have your eyes well protected!!!!

Tonight I am making George's Prawn Kalamaki with Tzatziki - stay tuned for the recipe!!

** Just watched MasterChef Master Class episode from last night and saw that Alvin added a sneaky little bit of sesame oil to his dressing!!!  See that is how they demoralise us all - leave out an ingredient so you are left wondering why yours doesn't taste as good!!

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