I tend to do most of my cooking experiments and recipe testing on the weekends, when I'm not in a rush to put food on the table. For weekdays, I prefer familiar, easy-to-make meals that don't require much washing up. These dishes fit that bill.
Korean spicy chicken stew with potatoes and vegetables (pictured)
This is a simple, one-pot dish that takes only 30 minutes to cook - about the same amount of time you need to steam the white rice. With many other types of stew, the meat is browned first, which adds a deeper flavour. Because the gochujang (Korean chilli paste) and gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes) are so intense, you don't miss the fact that the chicken pieces aren't browned.
Korean zucchini has pale green, thin skin, and the texture is smoother and more tender than Italian zucchini. You can find it, along with gochujang and gochugaru, at the Korean shops on Kimberley Street, in Tsim Sha Tsui, and while you're there, buy the banchan (side dishes) to serve with this dish.
800 grams chicken wings, separated at the joint (use the drumette and middle joints only, and save the wing tips to make soup)
2 onions, about 400 grams in total
60ml soy sauce
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
5-10 grams gochugaru
About 70 grams gochujang
About 50 grams corn syrup, or to taste
1 large carrot, about 40 grams
2 large potatoes, about 600 grams in total
1 Korean zucchini
1 green banana chilli
1-2 spring onions
Fine sea salt
Put the chicken wings in a pan. Peel the onions then slice them in quarters from stem to stem. Cut each quarter into three pieces and put them in the pan. Add the soy sauce, garlic and gochugaru. Dissolve the gochujang and corn syrup in 500ml of hot water then add this to the pot. Bring to the boil, stirring often, then lower the heat, partially cover with the lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
While the chicken is simmering, peel the carrot and potatoes. Cut the carrot into 2cm rings and the potatoes into 3cm chunks. Add them to the pot and stir. Partially cover the pot with the lid and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise then slice into 1cm wide pieces. Stir the zucchini into the ingredients and simmer, partially covered, for five minutes, or until the squash and potatoes are tender. Taste the sauce for seasoning and if needed, add some salt and/or more chilli flakes and corn syrup. Slice the banana chilli and spring onions and scatter the pieces on top. Serve with steamed white rice and your choice of banchan.
Calf's liver with bacon and sautéed onions
Prepared this way, liver with bacon and onions is a fast and easy two-pan dish, although serving it with mashed potatoes (which you should do) means you'll be washing three pans.
4-6 slices of streaky bacon
1 onion, about 200 grams
1 garlic clove
1 tsp sugar
15ml balsamic vinegar
2 slices of calves liver, about 7mm thick
Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dredging
Cooking oil, for pan-frying
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the bacon slices in the skillet and place over a high flame. When the bacon starts to sizzle, turn the heat to medium. Cook the bacon until crisp, turning it over as needed, then drain on paper towels.
Pour off most of the bacon fat from the skillet, leaving behind about 15ml. Cut the onion in half then slice it about 3mm thick. Thinly slice the garlic clove. Put the onion and garlic in the skillet and place it over a medium flame. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, then season lightly with salt. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onion is tender and starting to brown slightly, stirring often, and lowering the heat, if needed.
While the onion is cooking, prepare the liver. Pour oil to the depth of about 3mm in a skillet and set it over a medium flame. If the liver slices are too large for the skillet, cut them in half. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the liver slices, then dredge the pieces in flour and shake off the excess. Pan-fry the liver, cooking the pieces for about three to four minutes on each side, or until done. Do not overcook the liver or it will be dry and hard; it should be slightly pink at the centre. When the liver is ready, blot it on paper towels. Quickly reheat the bacon by putting it in the hot skillet used to cook the liver. Put the liver on two plates and top with the bacon. Sprinkle some pepper over the onions and stir, then divide them between the plates. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Styling: Nellie Ming Lee
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