This is the second post in the series to chronicle our weekday dinners.
We had a one-pot meal of sliced fish soup last night, so I decided to vary tonight’s dinner with a couple of dishes with rice. This week is not a usual week – Jason doesn’t have school from Tuesday to Friday because of PSLE marking. I did not plan to do any work these few days because of that, but things don’t always go as I wish. So I ended up having to plug stories and finish up some work. Before I knew it, half a day was over. My plans to do a slow cooker meal so I could bring him out, were scuttled.
I found myself looking at the fridge in the evening, wondering what to cook. The good thing was I managed to go marketing this morning, so it means I have fresh produce and more ingredients to work with! I bought a Sakura chicken, already-chopped, because I can’t chop a chicken. One chicken lasts us three meals, we’re not big meat-eaters.
I decided on cooking steamed chicken, ladies’ fingers(okra) and cold tofu.
I would usually steam chicken with sesame oil and light soya sauce, or with some chicken rice paste if I’m cooking chicken rice. But I had some emperor chicken seasoning (powder form) left over from the previous week, so I decided to rehash that, but add mushrooms and wolf berries. This is also quite a perfect dish to cook if you have guests. Steam the whole chicken coated with Emperor chicken seasoning and you have a very presentable and tasty main dish.
My kids fell in love with ladies’ fingers after our trip to Port Dickson, so it’s on the menu at least every other week. It’s one of the few types of vegetables they will fight over, it’s also one of the few types of veggies Shannon has a great appetite for. So while I usually blanch my veggies, I make the exception for ladies’ fingers (and maybe long beans). I found out the hard way, that the way to cook ladies’ fingers to perfection (so that it’s not soggy), is to not add any water. Resist any temptation to do so no matter how much it might help in cooking speed! I cooked dinner late once and added water and covered the wok to speed up the process. We ended up with sticky, mushy ladies fingers… guess who ate it? I never did it again. Another way I’ve tried is to bake it in the oven but it tastes dryer than the fried version.
Cold tofu is my way of adding a quick side dish that doesn’t require cooking! Remove from plastic carton, add dark sauce, sesame oil, plus any garnishing. Sometimes I add seaweed, pork floss, shallots or spring onion. Most times I don’t. It’s a bit like frying up an egg to add to any meal, except that I have an egg-lover(Jason), whose egg intake I try to control, and a non-egg-lover(Shannon), who will not eat the eggs anyway.
Below is tonight’s tofu with crispy pork floss.
Seah’s Emperor chicken seasoning (from NTUC)
sliced mushrooms (fresh, pre sliced from NTUC)
Coat chicken with seasoning.
Wrap chicken with foil that comes with seasoning, or place in a covered dish.
Add mushrooms and wolf berries and steam for 45 minutes. (Or double that if you cook a whole chicken)
Stir-fried ladies’ fingers
1 pack ladies’ fingers, washed then sliced diagonally (do not wet it after slicing)
chopped garlic and ikan bilis(rinsed)
Soya sauce if needed
Add oil, garlic and ikan bills to wok, fry until fragrant
Add ladies fingers and keep frying until it’s tender, could take 10 minutes or so depending on amount of veg. For shorter frying time, slice thinly.
Add seasoning if required.
One more dinner settled. (I used less than half a chicken below but we couldn’t finish it)
Just three more dinners until the weekend!