Friday 25 April 2014


My family loves Korean food. Although I am not much of a good cook, I will try my best to replicate authentic Korean dishes at home.

Today, I am sharing with you this easy spicy chicken stew known as Dakdoritang or Dakbokkeumtang in Korean. I have been cooking this regularly as it has now become my favourite one-pot meal...delicious and yet easy to put together. Most importantly, I can always prepare this earlier in the afternoon at a much leisurely pace than having to wok up 3 dishes during the evening rush hour. It makes home cooking a much fun activity for me to 'enjoy'...of course, minus the washing, cleaning, mopping and putting every single utensils and cutlery back to where they belong, single handedly.

The main ingredients or rather the dish itself looks similar to our curry chicken dish with potatoes. But, the taste is totally different. While our curry chicken tastes spicy, milky and flavoured with lots of spice, dakdoritang is equally spicy, but tastes lighter and slightly sweet. You won't feel jelak(to describe the stage when you won't enjoy the food any more after taking too much of it or it means the food is too rich) even you were to over eat, I am speaking from experience (^^"). This dish also reminds me of the non-spicy Chinese version of braised chicken and potato stew. I personally prefer this Korean version since we really like spicy food.

To prepare this dish, besides the basic ingredients, there are two Korean ingredients to get ready, Gochujang ((고추장) and Gochugaru (고추가루). Gochujang or red chili paste is easily available at local supermarkets here. I have to make special trips to get my Gochugaru, red chili powder (coarse chili flakes) from Korean supermarts though. It usually comes in bigger packs but I can get smaller ones (300g) from Shine Korea Supermarket. I am sure you won't have problem or be confused when buying gochujang as it comes in Red plastic tubs (see here). Those in Green tubs are SSamjang and Brown tubs are Doenjang. So, just grab the Red ones! For Gochugaru, do read this post by Maangchi to avoid getting the wrong type of chili powder. Do not attempt to replace gochugaru with other types of chili powder and always look for gochugaru made in Korea.

Despite its fiery red appearance, it is only mildly spicy as I use less chili powder. This is a very comforting and hearty dish, I simply love the potatoes that have absorbed all the flavours and the sauce is great to drizzle over hot steamed rice. Yum!

Dakdoritang (Korean Spicy Chicken Stew)


1 medium size whole chicken, cleaned and cut into 2x2 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 green chili, sliced
1 red chili, sliced
2 stalks spring onions, chopped
½ tablespoon cooking oil
1½ cups water

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon ginger juice (grate fresh ginger and squeeze to get juice)
2 tablespoons light soya sauce (I used only 1½ tbs)
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste, Gochujang
1 tablespoon Korean red chili powder, Gochugaru (use 2 tbs if prefer the dish to be very spicy)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • Combine seasoning ingredients in a bowl, mix well and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan until hot but not smoking. Pan fry the chicken for about 5mins. 
  • Add the seasoning mixture, stir to combine. Add in water and bring to the boil. Cover with lid and turn to medium low heat, leave to simmer for about 10mins. 
  • Add the onions, carrots and potatoes, stir to combine. Cover with lid and leave to simmer for about 20~25mins or until the chicken is cooked but the vegetables are not mushy. Stir occasionally while it is cooking.
  • Remove cover and turn heat to high. Let the mixture boil for 1 to 2 mins until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened. 
  • Turn off the heat, toss in the sliced spring onions and the green and red chilies. Dish up and serve hot with rice.
Recipe source: adapted from Korean by Lee Minjung

Saturday 19 April 2014

pizza in a cuppa

I don't know what has got into me when I googled using the key words 'pizza muffins'.

I have some left over cheese, ham and pineapples after making a seafood pizza and a hawaiian pizza. Not knowing what to do with the leftover ingredients, I surfed the net for recipe ideas. Nothing much inspires me when I searched using the words such as 'ham and pineapple'. A silly thought suddenly came to my mind and I typed 'pizza muffins' in the search box. I wasn't expecting anything at all...but to my surprise, pizza muffins is actually nothing new!

It took me no time to decide on this Hawaiian pizza muffins by Donna Hay since I have most of the ingredients on hand. I halved the recipe and adapted it slightly as I needed to substitute a couple of the ingredients.

These delicious savoury muffins smell just like pizzas when they are baking in the oven! They are great for afternoon snacks and certainly a great way to use up any left over pizza ingredients :)

Hawaiian Pizza Muffins

(makes 9)

225g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional)
105g grated cheddar (divide into 60g and 45g portion)
100g ham, chopped
100g chopped pineapple, drained
80ml vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I replaced with 2 tablespoons pasta sauce)
1 egg
120ml milk

  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Sieve flour, baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add salt, mixed herbs (if using), 60g of the grated cheese, ham and pineapple, mix to combine. 
  • Place the oil, tomato paste (I used pasta sauce), egg and milk in a bowl and whisk to combine. 
  • Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, with a spatula mix until just combined. 
  • Spoon into 1/3 cup-capacity (80ml) paper muffin cups and sprinkle top with remaining cheese. 
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. These muffins are best served freshly baked. Any leftovers can be stored in air tight containers. Warm them in the oven before serving. 
Recipe source: adapted from Donna Hay.

Monday 7 April 2014

kinako chiffon

This is a much delayed post. I have made this Kinako Chiffon cake on several occasions but only managed to take pictures of it when I baked one again recently.

Kinako is roasted whole soy flour commonly used in making Wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) such as dango and mochi. I find kinako tastes bland on its own, but it has got a very nice nutty fragrance, somewhat like roasted peanut powder, or similar to the familiar whiff of an open jar of peanut butter. It is a healthy, gluten-free wheat flour with a high nutritional value, full of vitamin B and protein. It is easy to incorporate kinako into one's diet...sprinkle some over buttered toast bread with sugar or honey; dust it over ice cream, yoghurt or mixed it with soy milk or cow's milk for a nutritious beverage. Kinako also works well in baking recipes such as pancakes, cookies and quick breads.

Although the recipe from the cook book 'Okashi – Sweet treats made with love by Keiko Ishida' states 'brown sugar' I used dark brown sugar. As a result my chiffon cake has a much darker shade. Dark brown sugar has more molasses, this gives the cake a deeper, richer flavour. The texture of the cake is light and airy and has a nice 'peanut butter' fragrant.

I served the cake with banana slices sprinkled with kinako powder and a drizzle of homemade dark brown sugar syrup. I got the idea from this famous Chinese blogger, Carol, when I stumbled upon her post 黑糖蜜黃豆粉香蕉 (banana with dark brown sugar syrup and kinako). It only takes a little extra effort to turn the cake into a delightful sweet treat that my family enjoys :)

Kinako Chiffon Cake (黃豆粉戚风蛋糕)

(makes one 7" cake)

3 egg yolks (use large eggs)
15g dark brown sugar
40g vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
40g water
30g cake flour
30g kinako (roasted soybean flour)

3 egg whites (use large eggs)
30g caster sugar
6g corn flour

  1. Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl. With a balloon whisk, whisk the yolks a little. Add in brown sugar and whisk to combine. Add in vegetable oil gradually, whisk to combine. Add the water, whisk to combine. Sieve over the flour and kinako, whisk till the flour is fully incorporated. Do not over mix. Set aside.
  2. Mix the 30g caster sugar with the corn flour.
  3. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on low speed until mixture becomes frothy and foamy. Add half of the sugar and corn flour mixture and turn to high speed and beat the mixture. Continue to add in the remaining sugar mixture and beat until the egg whites reaches the soft peak stage.The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly. The egg whites should appear smooth and glossy. (Do not over beat the whites still stiff, it is better to beat the whites still soft peaks for easy folding with the yolk batter.)
  4. Add the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk batter in 3 separate additions, each time folding gently with a spatula (I use a balloon whisk) until just blended.
  5. Pour batter into a 7" chiffon tube pan(do not grease the pan). Tap the pan lightly on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 degC for 30 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, when lightly pressed the cake will spring back. Invert the pan immediately and let cool completely before unmould. To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the pan and the center core. Release the cake and run the knife along the base of the pan to remove the cake.
Serving suggestions: Serve chiffon cake with sliced banana, topped with 1 tablespoon kinako and a drizzle of dark brown sugar syrup*.

*to make dark brown sugar syrup: Place 25ml water and 50g dark brown sugar in a pan. Heat the mixture till the sugar dissolved. Remove from heat. Add in 1/2 tablespoon honey, stir to combine. Leave to cool before using. (Double or triple the recipe accordingly to yield more syrup).

Recipe source: adapted from Okashi – Sweet treats made with love by Keiko Ishida