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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with protein

19Apr 12

Simple Chicken Satay

Simple Chicken SatayI want to share a simple chicken satay recipe with you – one you can whizz up indoors all year round.  The sauce is rich and spicy, and we’ll fry the chicken for simplicity.  Of course you can always barbecue the chicken outside in the summer if you wish, or grill it in the oven.  You can also vary the amount of chilli to your taste.

There are many variations on this classic Malaysian dish, which is often served with rice.  One such variation is this chicken satay with sun-dried tomatoes. My version works to bring out the elemental flavours of the dish, combining the juicy meat with the tangy sauce.

The peanut is actually part of the bean family and is thought to have originated in Peru.  This humble legume which we all think of as a nut is both energy-giving and rich in nutrients.  A good source of niacin, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and protein, peanuts may also help to reduce levels of bad cholesterol.

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh chicken breasts, skinless
  • 1 tbsp olive oil to fry the chicken
  • 8 tbsp peanut butter
  • 8 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1-2 red chillies, very finely chopped

You will also need 8 short wooden skewers

Steps:

For the sauce:

  1. Blend the peanut butter, chilli, water, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and the soy sauce in a food processer.
  2. Transfer to a serving dish or individual dishes.

For the chicken:

  1. Cut each chicken breast into 4 strips length-wise and concertina fold them onto the wooden skewers.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a shallow-based pan and fry the chicken on the skewers until golden brown and thoroughly cooked, usually 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.
  3. Serve on one communal plate alongside the satay sauce.

Duration:  15 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to cook

Recipe for:  8 skewers to serve 4 people as a starter

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28Mar 12

Chicken Stir-Fry with Ginger and Cashew Nuts

Chicken Stir-Fry with Ginger and Cashew NutsI recommend using chicken thighs for my chicken stir-fry as this part of the fowl is generally tenderer than the breastStir-frys are renowned for being speedy to cook and healthy to eat.  As long as the vegetables are piping hot throughout, they taste great when they hold on to some of their crunchSesame oil adds a subtle nuttiness, and ginger gives a little zing to this recipe.

In this recipe, I recommend ginger and cashew nuts. However, there are a million flavour combinations. Another particular favourite of mine is a honey and garlic chicken stir-fry.

Ginger was first cultivated in South Asia.  It is used as a delicacy, a medicine and a spice, and is from the same plant family as cardamon, turmeric and galangalCashew nuts are a good source of protein and iron, amongst other nutrients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 chicken thighs, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into thin slices
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ pack of beansprouts
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • Handful of cashew nuts, whole

Steps:

  1. Heat the oils on a high heat, in a wok if you have one, or in a large frying pan if not, and cook the chicken with the garlic until both are golden brown all over – around 5 to 7 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
  2. Throw in the yellow pepper and the ginger, and continue to fry for a few more minutes.
  3. Splash in the soy sauce, add the beansprouts and the chicken stock, and keep stir-frying over a medium to high heat for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Once you are sure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked and that the vegetables are piping hot throughout, sprinkle in the cashew nuts, cook for another minute then remove from the heat.
  5. Serve alongside rice or noodles.

Duration: Less than 30 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 2 people

Note: Remember that small children can have trouble swallowing nuts. When making this dish for them, cut the cashews into small pieces.

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23Mar 12

Hearty Chicken Soup

Hearty chicken soup

Maybe you roasted a chicken the day before and now you fancy a hearty soup?  This recipe makes perfect use of those roast chicken left-overs.  It’s simple to make and is a true winter warmer.  Winter celery adds a distinctive flavour to the dish.  Once you’ve cooked it a couple of times, you could create a variation if you fancy it by swapping the carrot for parsnip or butternut squash, or by swapping the fresh parsley for fresh coriander.  A chicken and corn chowder is also a tasty option. You don’t need to use a blender for this recipe either, just remember to chop the vegetables nice and fine and enjoy the texture of the torn chicken pieces. I often enjoy a glass of Guinness with my Hearty chicken soup for richness of flavour and relaxation.  Chicken is packed full of protein, and did you know that it’s also a good source of selenium?  Ladies and Gents, this is a simple chicken soup for the soul!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, washed and chopped into little cubes
  • 3 medium celery sticks, washed and finely sliced
  • 60g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock
  • 500g cooked, skinless chicken, hand torn into fairly fine shreds
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste

Steps:

  1. Take a large heavy-based saucepan and place on medium heat, adding the butter, onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add the flour to the pan, stir it in, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock and stirring the contents constantly, bring the liquid to the boil.  Reduce the heat, season with salt and black pepper and simmer the soup mixture for 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Place the cooked chicken into the soup and continue to cook until the chicken is piping hot throughout.
  5. Sprinkle and stir in the parsley, and serve in bowls with baguette or hunks of granary bread on the side.

Recipe for: 4 people

Duration: 1 hour

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