Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tribute to masterchef Australia-Claire's fried masterstock chicken with Chilli Caramel and Orange Salt

Sorry for the extremely late update as I have been busy over the past few months, working feverishly hard to pursue my career in medicine and I am glad to say that I have finally graduated as a doctor. HOORAY! Now, I'm just waiting to attend my graudation ceremony in August which means I have ample time to relax and embrace my hobbies and passions; one of which is cooking. I've also been recently hooked on Masterchef Australia and I really like some of the talented contestants on the show especially Alvin Quah who is coincidentally a Malaysian. I like his extremely likable and genuine character not to mention his quirky and comical personality on the show. His character and Chinese Malaysian upbringing is greatly reflected in the dishes he invents and he states that most of his foods are a tribute to his mother who has instilled in him a passion and love to culinary arts. I think he was most noted for his drunken chicken and bruised salad which highlighted the sort of homely asian cuisine he so inspires to cook in his future restaurant. He uses familiar ingredients like pandan leaves, shaoxing wine, star anise, cinammon bark, yam cake etc which is nothing spectacular to a typical Malaysian but nevertheless awes and amazes the ang-moh. Apart from him, there are a few other contestants who really shines and I was a bit disappointed when Marion was booted off the show as she clearly was the favourite to win Masterchef and has shown the greatest potential. Finals are next week and I am eagerly awaiting who will Masterchef but I do admit that I'll be a bit sad once the show is over. The show was voted #1 reality tv show in Australia and its absolutely no surprise given the avid characters and the unexpected twists and turns the show brings.

Anyway, I tried this recipe off Claire (taken from the official Masterchef website) and it did turn out really well. I added some extra ingredients but no doubt I'll be making this soon.

Fried Masterstock Chicken with Chilli Caramel and Orange Salt

1 x 1.6kg chicken
Vegetable oil, for deep frying

600ml light soy sauce (I used 1 cup)
½ bottle sake (I used 1 cup shaoxing wine)
1 tsp ground star anise (I used 4 star anise)
1 ½ cinnamon sticks (I used 2)
1 large knob ginger, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups caster sugar (I used 150g yellow rock sugar)
½ orange, pared zest(substituted with 2 dried mandarin peel)
I added 1 1/2 litres water, 1 large knob of ginger sliced and 2 green onions

1 cup caster sugar
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 cup master stock

1/2 orange, zest finely grated (I skipped this)
1 tbs rock salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 65°C.

Step 2: For the masterstock, add all ingredients to a large saucepan with 4.5L water, bring to the boil and simmer 20 minutes.

Step 3: For the chilli caramel, heat sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides with a pastry brush dipped in water. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, cooking until it is a light caramel. Add chilli flakes and dilute with a little of the masterstock.

Step 4: For the orange salt, dry the orange zest in the oven for 1 hour, then pound with rock salt in a mortar and pestle until fine.

Step 5: Quickly blanch the chicken in boiling water and transfer to the master stock saucepan. Cook chicken in masterstock, turning after 20 minutes. Turn again after another 5 minutes, then sit in stock for a further 15 minutes with the heat off and the lid on. Remove chicken from the master stock and cut in half. Pour enough oil into a wok until it is one third full. Heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, deep fry the chicken, basting constantly until the skin has turned a caramel brown, drain well and drizzle over chilli caramel. Cut chicken with a cleaver Chinese style through the bones and meat.

Step 6: Serve with chilli caramel and orange salt.

Serves 4

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