Chicken & Mushroom Rice Burger + Product Review

>> Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I've decided to have no resolutions this year.

I figured that I don't do too well with them. They have this negative connotation for me and I associate the word with the likes of promises on cereal boxes - 'Get into shape this new year!' Over time, it occurred to me that any resolutions I make would eventually be broken sooner or later.

So instead, I just have goals now. A different word - but to me it has a more positive vibe. I think about how I will follow through with it, and I visualise myself standing on the other side waving the mission accomplished flag.

Here are a few food-related goals on my list...

{one} Learn about different the types of cheese to be able to identify them at the markets and know what kind of drink/food to pair them with.

{two} Make an effort to freeze more left over food and minimize food wastage. Tips here and here. I'm also adopting the FIFO rules - first in, first out! This is a hard goal but I guess once it becomes a habit it wouldn't be too difficult.

{three} Have 5 servings of fruit and vegetable a day. It should be easy most of the times, although I did find myself with around 3-4 servings a day last year.

{four} Update the Recipe Index section of this blog. It has been 'Work in Progress' since its birth. Time to let this baby grow!

{five} Experience more with different types of flours like rye, quinoa, spelt and buckwheat in my recipes.

{six} Bake a fancy and impressive-looking cake that tastes as good as it looks. I tend to bake more rustic, homey kind of treats and don't really use much cream, always cut back on the sugar and sometimes over think the nutritional values of the food I make. I'd like to master a totally decadent, over-indulgent kind of cake though.
{seven} Learn to quickly clean and dissemble a whole chicken. I still feel clumsy when I handle large meat.

To elaborate on the last goal -  I have not cooked chicken ever since I've moved to Melbourne. I come from a chicken-loving family where everyone has their own winning recipe. Because of that, it was never required of me to learn to cook the bird (which my salmonella-phobic self is completely fine with!) so naturally, I've been staying away from cooking it now that I'm away from home.

Thankfully, a few weeks ago I was given a packet of freshly cooked chicken to try from Moira Mac. Perfect for as me I didn't have to deal with defrosting and then cutting/cooking the meat after a long day.

Moira Mac’s is a new brand in the ham/salami section of your supermet. The company specialises in cooked poultry products and has become the first company to launch a cooked fresh chicken breast range that contains no preservatives, is dairy free and gluten free. The chicken can be eaten straight from their resealable pack or used as an ingredient in hot or cold recipes.

The range comes in four styles: Mediterranean, Homestyle, Barbeque, and Tandoori. 

I was also told that the product is 100% real chicken breast fillet and is 97% fat free. It also has the Heart Foundation Tick of approval for meeting strict standards for saturated fat and sodium.

I've decided to test the Homestyle chicken with this rice burger recipe I've been thinking about lately. Great when you're pressed for time because this is a super fast meal if you've left over rice and a few other things on hand. The chicken chunks are lean and will work well in salads and sandwiches too!

Chicken & Mushroom Rice Burger
Serves 2
  • 2 cups leftover white rice
  • 1 packet Moira Mac's Homestyle chicken (or replace with beef or pork slices)
  • 2 leaves of lettuce
  • handful (4-6) of oyster mushroom, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 pack of enoki mushroom, rinsed
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp sake
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste 
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste 
  • empty milk carton
1. Wash the milk carton and cut it across to get a 1cm ring (see photo below):
2. Wrap a quarter of the rice in plastic foil and roll it around until it is circular.

3. Place the rice with the foil in the milk ring and push it down to fill up the ring.

4. Remove the ring and repeat the process to make the rest of the rice patties.

5. Place the rice patties in a pan on low heat.
6. Brush them with some soy sauce for flavouring.
7. In another pan, add a splash of oil and add the garlic and ginger paste. Stir around for a minute.

8. Add into the pan enoki and oyster mushroom. Cook for a few minutes before adding Moira Mac's chicken cubes to heat up.

9. Add the sauces - soy, mirin and sake and let cook for another few minutes.

10. To assemble, place a leaf of lettuce on a rice patty, followed by the chicken and mushroom (I added a bit of mayo on top of this as well!), then top with another rice patty. Wrap in aluminum foil if desired.


Goma Dofu - Sesame Tofu

>> Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm still living in 2010 at the moment in my head.

Because I haven't the chance to think about New Year's resolutions yet.

And I haven't passed on my greetings and best wishes to you.

So I'm doing it now. Passing on my greetings I mean. Resolutions don't necessarily have to start in January in my book.

So I hope your holiday season was very nice.

And that you got to be with the ones you love to plant kisses on and share food with...

And that you thought about the meaning of Christmas....

And if you were going through a rough time, I hope you found hope and consolation in the midst of it all.

Thank you for your readership and encouraging comments over the past year. You've made this journey so much more fun than a while ago when I used to begin my posts with 'Dear void'. Thanks for turning that void into friends. Or virtual friends.

So I was home for the holidays and was joyfully stuffed with Chinese food - crispy duck, shallot pancakes, stir fried noodles, dumplings, and everything else drool-worthy. Not your typical Christmas-type food. We also dined out almost everyday and that's the way it has been all my life - Christmas is celebrated with Chinese food usually not prepared at home. It's a tradition!

This post is rather special to me because because this goma dofu (sesame 'tofu' - not really tofu) has been planned for a long time now. Why so long, you ask? Ever since I saw this post on JustHungry, I knew straight away that I needed to make this - sesame tofu is one of my favourites to order in Japanese restaurants, but they're usually in fried form like agedashi tofu. I love the intense sesame flavour (from tahini) and the smooth tofu-like texture of this dish!

However, the problem I had was sourcing pure kuzu powder. The ones at the Japanese stores are usually sweet potato starch and arrowroot, which would not work according to the recipe. So for the past few months, I've scoured every Asian or Japanese grocery store I came across with no luck. 

Until last month Mother went to Japan and bought some for me. 

Probably the best Christmas present ever.

I hope you can find kuzu powder easier than I have and give this a go. Oh, and do you know that kuzu has a lot of health benefits and is also used as a hangover remedy in China as it detoxifies the liver? You learn something new everyday, huh?

This dish is eaten cold, with a dash of soy sauce (as the tofu itself is bland) and wasabi (which I didn't have).


(p.s. I used the rest of the kuzu powder to make kuzumochi - sticky mochi cake. One of the yummiest Japanese summertime dessert!)
Goma Dofu (Sesame Tofu)
Serves 4
  • 70g (2.5 oz) tahini or nerigoma that has been stirred very well
  • 50 g (1.75 oz) kuzu powder
  • 500ml (2 cups plus a tablespoon) water, filtered water preferred
  • Equipment needed: bowl, pan, square container to mold the goma dofu
1. Combine the kuzu powder with a little water to make a paste. Add the rest of the water and mix well.

2. Put into a pan over medium heat, and add the tahini or nerigoma. Mix continuously, smooshing any lumps of sesame paste and incorporating it as well as possible into the liquid. When it heats up it will start to thicken and get a bit lumpy - keep stirring to smooth out the lumps. After a while, it will turn from milky to a bit more translucent in color and have the consistency of a thick pudding.
3. Wet the inside of the square container you’ll use as the mold. Pour in the hot pudding-like mixture and smooth out the top. Bang the container a few times onto a countertop or table to get rid of bubbles. Let cool to room temperature, and then put into the refrigerator to cool, about 2 hours.

4. Unmold and cut into squares. Serve chilled, with wasabi or grated fresh ginger and soy sauce. (The goma dofu on its own is quite bland, so it does need the sauce.) It’s really nice as a cold appetizer on a warm day. It can be stored, well covered, in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Happy New Year.

It's 2011. I'm here and I'm present. And hope you are too!

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