Salt and Pepper Chicken

Since adopting the paleo lifestyle, I have been ravenous most of the time. It requires adequate planning in advance, with enough variety to keep things from heading to boredom-ville. This recipe, if you could even call it that, is simple and easy. All you need is good quality chicken. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of quality ingredients: free-range chicken. If you have that, you can do no wrong. 

I learnt butchering chicken while growing up so I use whole chicken all the time.  You get a variety of textures and flavours from the different cuts. My favourites are thighs and chicken oysters. The alternative is to buy your favourite cuts but as it is free-range, it might cost you and arm and a leg. Best tip is to get a good quality cleaver and get over your fears of butchering. I also include most of the skin now. If you have good quality chicken, you get good quality fats (e.g., omega 3). I should add that crispy chicken skin is food for the gods. It literally is.

Place your cuts in a bowl. Pour in 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil, salt and lots of pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes, although overnight is better.

Heat a heavy pan and cook the cuts with bones first (legs, back, wings, and thighs if you have not de-boned them). No need to add oil if you left the skin on. Fat will render out and make the skin crispy.  Cover to steam/fry for about 10 minutes.  Add in the boneless bits thereafter.  Turn every now and again for the next 10-15 minutes to make sure they get browned evenly. Drain and sprinkle with smoked sea salt.

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Best hangover food.

Seeded Turkey Breasts

Faced with the necessity of making quick, healthy and lean after-work meals, I made up an alternative to breaded turkey.  While I am not averse to crumbs, I pondered there should be a way to make it healthier and interesting. Then it hit me, ‘Why not use seeds instead?’ That would make good use of the Omega Sprinkle from Holland & Barrett – a mix of linseed, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  Added omega fatty acid benefits, too. Shhhha-ting!!  And to make them stick to the poultry, the versatile mustard came to the rescue.   Ever-so-easy to make, you’ll need:

Turkey breast slices
Enough seed mix (partially ground in the mortar and pestle, just to break the big ones)
Mustard
Salt / Pepper

Season the seed mix. Coat the turkey slices in mustard, sprinkle the seeds on the surface and press with the back of the spoon. I find this works better as the mix tends to stick to the fingers. Be as generous as you can but make sure they actually stay on the meat.

Fry in a medium hot pan with little oil (or use non-stick) for 5-7 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Or afterwards pop under the low to medium grill for an additional 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your meat.

Devour.

NB. Free range chicken breast slices work good too, as well as boneless chicken thighs.  The latter is the best option of the three.  And promise, I’ll wipe the plate next time. 😉

Nusa Dua, Pan-Asian

Planned a catch up with a friend yesterday.  It was after work so decided to grab an early light dinner. As he cancelled on me previously, he had the burden of choosing where to feed the tummy at.  So, it was either Japanese or Indonesian. As I really have not had much experience in Indonesian gastronomy, I went for that option. It turns out, the Japanese he had in mind was Koya. ha! I’ve just very recently been to that eatery (see last post) so I am quite glad I opted for the other.

This restaurant, Nusa Dua, turned out to be pan-Asian with heavy Indonesian touches. The expansive menu ranges from several curries in the region to pad Thai, Vietnamese chicken to roast duck. It really is heaven for lovers of Southeast Asian grub. 

By the time we sat down, I was marvin’! Chop, chop, I’m heading for the main. After a bit of silent deliberation in my head, I opted for Ayam Bali, strips of chicken in Balinese sauce.  A bit of excitement there, ordering something I’ve never tried before! Of course, I had to order coconut rice. ha!

I grazed on prawn crackers while waiting for the food to arrive, coversing over a bit of Tiger beer, imagining the sunset in Boracay. Life, int it? 😀

Snap! Back to reality. Food arrived quite promptly (at this time, we were the only customers in there), and these are what I got:

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Ayam Bali has in it chilli, lemon, sugar, lots of garlic, pineapple chunks, a hint of ginger, coconut milk, some cashew nuts, and a bit of coriander and some peas.  It had a bit of shrimp-y taste to it.  I could only posit that some shrimp paste was added along the way. The chilli was surprisingly mild. I am not sure what variety it was, but not birds eye definitely.  It was a nice salty / sweet / sour mixture typical of the food from the region.  Went really well with the coconut rice*. 

Overall, the experience was pleasant, service was attentive and very friendly. I have already lined up a next visit to explore the rest of the items in the menu. To top it all off, it was less than £12 for my share.

So, when are you going???

(*Coconut rice deserves a post of its own.  One weekend, I will try and decipher the secret in making a perfect serving. It is truly a hug in a bowl :D)

Addendum: Back for the second time on 24 February 2012 — received the same warm welcome and great food. The curries have depth to them. The spicy lamb chops were spicy indeed. The beef penang was very comforting and satisfying. And it was around £25 / person, with tiger beer and all. Definitely a treat in the middle of town.  Coming. Back. Again.

Nusa Dua on Urbanspoon