Cooking and Disasters - What is it with me?

Last time I cooked at home terrorists blew up London.


Tonight I have half a left-over roast chicken in the fridge.

Back when I lived in Sydney there was a small Chinese restaurant just around the corner from me. Occasionally I would grab a dish of what they called "Shantung Chicken" and I'd think all my Chinese New Years had come at once. It was delicious. A crispy-skin chicken, chopped Chinese style, on a bed of cucumber with lashings of this superb vinegar, soy and shallot sauce. I could never find a recipe on the Internet for anything that looked or tasted anything like it.

But I listened to Kylie Kwong (don't get distracted by the videos as I just have) at the Singapore Writers Festival the other night, so I just had to grab her books. They cost me $85 or so.

And serendipity of serendipities - there on 48 of "Recipes and Stories" is a dish called "Crispy Skin Chicken with Black Vinegar and Shallot Dressing."

Well roll me in flour and fuck the wet-spot if that isn't my old friend Shantung Chicken!

I didn't do the elaborate "white-cooked chicken' bit, I just used my left over chook from the supermarket roaster. But the sauce was gonna make this dish, and this is pretty much how I did it:

[No photos sorry, didn't know I was going to blog this.]

I roughly grate about a thumb's worth of fresh ginger, including a smidgin of actual thumb, into a large cup. Then three stalks of shallot (or spring-onion if you like to call them that) and couple of thin sprigs of coriander (cilantro if you prefer), stem and root, all chopped pretty finely and throw it in until the cup is a bit over half full. Into that I add sweet soy sauce (kepis manis, or kepac manis if you prefer), some light soy sauce (hands up if you have more than two types of soy sauce in your kitchen) and some balsamic vinegar until the cup is nearly full. I top that up with a coupla squirts of chili oil and maybe a tablespoon of sesame oil. Kylie's recipe says 1/4 cup, but I reckon that is ridiculous. Sesame oil is SO STRONG it would overpower everything else! I stir this together. It smells wonderful.

I slice some peeled cucumber onto a deepish-sided plate. Kylie doesn't mention the cucumber, but I know where I am coming from! We are talking Church St, North Parramatta here!

I place the chopped-up microwave-reheated half-chicken on top of the cucumber. I pour half a cup of the sauce on top, making sure it all gets some. (The rest goes in the fridge.) I spoon some really hot oil over it. She says to use peanut oil but I don't have any so I use Crisco (hands up if you have more than four types of oils in your kitchen). It sparkles and sizzles as the oil hits it.

I give it another quick burst in the microwave. Sprinkle some cut up shallots on top, salt and pepper. Some 2-minute instant noodles (pour some of the sauce in!) Some Heineken.

Kylie says this is supposed to feed four. Yeah right. Half a chicken for four people = enough for 1 hungry (me no eat yesterday) E@L!

But Fucking Brilliant. This is the best meal sauce I have ever made! $85 bucks well spent! Good on yer Kylie!


I turn on the TV as I eat. New Orleans has been submerged for over a day (I was sick yesterday remember) - no-one is prepared to give a death toll. 650 Sunni Muslims in Bahgdad have fallen into the Tigris and drowned in a panic stampede.

My sincerest concern, sympathy and pain goes out to the victims of these tragedies.


But what do I do? I eat out, I get poisoned. I cook, people die.



Posted by: expat@large on Aug 31, 05 | 11:05 pm | Profile


Oh dear. Please don't ever prepare a buffet!

Posted by: chlim01 on Sep 01, 05 | 7:41 pm


Posted by: expat@large on Sep 02, 05 | 4:19 am


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