“What’s Cooking” in Victor’s Kitchen

The other day when I was at the supermarket, I was thinking to myself if I should buy some pork mince. I had a look at the pre-packed 500 gm of pork mince. It has an expiry date of the next day. I have already picked a free range whole chicken and some king prawns. Then I thought to myself, will I cook the pork mince on the same night if I were to buy it. I could not make up my mind. So I browsed a few shelves further down, and saw some chicken mince which has a longer expiry date. So I got hold of a pre-packed 500 gm of chicken mince. I was thinking maybe I can use half of the mince to make some spring rolls, and the other half some dumplings.

I usually do my grocery at lunch time. When I get back to the office, I put my perishable produces in the office’s fridge. I will then write myself a sticky note and paste on my monitor to remind myself. Otherwise I may forget. I have done that before, and worse if that is on a Friday for the weekend cooking.

When I got home with my grocery, I sorted them between to use now and some into the fridge. At this time, I may or still may not know what I was going to cook. In this case, my chicken mince. I found some carrots and cabbage in my fridge compartment which I removed and put on the bench. I noticed I had thawed some chicken thigh a couple of days ago. I removed that as well. By now, I had the whole chicken, some thawed chicken fillets, chicken mince, king prawns, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, spring onions, fresh chilies, frozen peas on my bench. Yes, lots of chicken! 🙂

For the whole range chicken – I poached in a stockpot with some salt, sugar, spring onions (white section). The by-products of the stock will be used for noodle soup and congee. The poached chicken will be used for my partner’s lunch in the office and some will be used in my chicken congee.

The thawed chicken pieces were cut into smaller pieces and marinated in turmeric powder with a bit of salt. They will be used in a simple chicken curry with small diced potatoes and thawed peas as the base ingredient for my curry puff. I have some puff pastry in the freezer. I have never make a curry puff before. So this will be my first. I have not referred to any recipe on this – so I can invent my own. This will be my own invention test. The pressure is on. Hope it works.

The king prawns, which I bought 12 pieces for a finger-licking pre-dinner meal was a quick stir fry in a hot wok with spring onions and ginger in a mixture of light and dark soy sauce.  You can add some chopped garlic for a bit of garlicky flavour. I added a freshly chopped red chili and some cracked black pepper to spice up the dish. The prawns must be dark with an almost smoky flavour. The dish is very simple and fast to make. And, tastes delicious. Make sure you lick all your fingers. You can wash the smell off in a bowl of water with freshly sliced lemon.

By the time I finished cooking the above 3 dishes, I had a change of heart on how I wanted to use the chicken mince for that night’s dinner. I need to turnaround a quick and yet good dish for both my partner and myself. So I ruled out the spring rolls and dumplings. They are both fiddly and require some folding of the dough. I opted for a stir fry chicken mince with some finely diced vegetables type combination. So I looked through my cupboards and found a small can of water chestnut, sweet corns, some fresh carrots and chinese shiitake mushrooms, and some dried noodle. I diced up everything to about the same size for consistency, look and texture of the chicken mince dish. Another invention – spur of the moment. I don’t have a name for the dish.

I asked my partner what I should call it.

He said, “how about stir fry chicken mince?”

That sounds boring and plain. I said.

“how about Chicken ala Supreme?”

He laughed and said, “that is really stupid!”

But, that is the sort of name you would see in a country style chinese restaurant – some silly and stupid name like that.

So, what do you think? Any name for my newly invented dish?

The dish was stir fried with garlic and flavoured with light soy sauce, oyster sauce, black vinegar, chinese cooking wine, sesame oil, chili oil, salt, sugar and ground pepper.

I served the dish with some noodle (dry style) and garnish with chopped spring onions and dried shallots.

The beauty about this base ingredient – “chicken ala supreme” – is that it is a very versatile dish. It can be served in different ways. There was so much leftover. Imagine 500 gm chicken mince with all the small diced vegetables.

The next day, I packed some leftover with steamed rice. When I had it at work, the taste triggered a sensation in my mind with tiny molecular cells jumping up and down in my brain with great delights and satisfaction. Screaming out loud in my brain that I had to try the dish on a bowl of soup. What a great idea I thought to myself.

So I tried the base ingredient on a bowl of soup. The chicken consomme that I made on a previous night. I added some dried garlic in the soup, chinese mustard green, chopped spring onions and pickled ginger on top. It was superb! The soup mixed with the chicken mince sauce transformed the soup into an adventure of sweet and salty flavour with a twist of spicyness and sourness.

Weekend chat in my Kitchen.

Do you have a dream? I mean, do you dream of going to space one day? Something far reaching than our normal, daily monotonous life.

Well, I dreamed up a list of 10 things I like to do before I die. Almost 10. I ran out of idea after the seventh down my list. That was a few days leading to 2009 NYE. I sat in my room in front of my MacBook. I asked myself – I am turning 50 years in 2 years. What have I achieved in my life? What do I want to do before I die? Some very heavy stuffs, right? I asked my partner the same question. But, little did I know that he will put a post on his blog! Now it has become public.

I like to think that we all have a dream – a dream that hopefully one day will come true. It gives us some hope and reasons to live. Top on my dream list is to write my own book, which I have started compiling in the last 2 weeks. It is about my journey through life of food, cooking and travel. In my list, I also dream of having my own little culinary and heritage private tour business – on the rich and colourful history, food and culture of Penang.

What about yourself? Have you thought about what you like to do before you die? Oops, pardon me for being so upfront. It is a question which most people prefer not to think about.

Have a great weekend!

8 responses to ““What’s Cooking” in Victor’s Kitchen

  1. Chicken a la Cygnet? Ha ha.

    I have a dream that you will open a restaurant in Hobart so we can all come and enjoy these lovely dishes that you write about! I’d pay good money for that!

    • LOL! Thanks, Maggie. That’s quite a funny name.
      Well, I actually inspected a place in Lenah Valley main shopping street, Augusta Road. This business for sale. But not cheap and requires work to make the place to my standard. But Reb will have nothing to do with it. So I need to think carefully.
      But, thanks for the support.

  2. ‘Vicken’-as in Victor & chicken?
    or ‘Vic-Ayam’. Or perhaps, ‘I-dream-of-Penang-whilst-I’m-stuck-here-in-in-Boganville-Chicken?’ LOL!
    I liked the sound of your dream & esp the bit about doing guided cultural/ gastonomic tours of Penang-Sounds absolutely perfect for you Victor.
    Also Stephen may laugh at your chicken naming ideas but believe me ‘Gutter-Chicken’ does not sound appetizing ha ha !

    • LOL! So funny, Steve. Loves all the silly names! “Gutter-Chicken” – awesome! What a great laugh!

      Thanks. I hope to do it when mortgage free (if ever). So don’t have to worry about making big bucks.

  3. Very tempting dishes you cook!
    About what to do before I die?
    Retiring for the last 25 (?) years of my life to Penang on the MM2H program of course. Having Hokkien mee from Kedai Classic and CKT from Ah Leng or the Sisters about 3 times a week. And now and then cooking Western at home!
    Not asking much, just getting the best in life with my lovely wife at my side!

    BTW call your new recipe: “Pates a la Moi”. Cheers.

    • Jay-P, great to hear from you again. Oh, yes – Penang MM2H and food. Ideal dream soon a reality for you both. All the best.
      Oh..kay, Pate a la Moi..hmm, maybe.

  4. You MUST finish your book! Ok, enough tough love 🙂

    I say this because when I was in my mid-40s, I self-published the book about my amazing adventure that began after I was “set free” (laid off) from my job. And that fabulous journey continues to this very day!

    If you don’t mind some unsolicited advice, as you proceed with your book, stay strong and work through the blood, sweat and tears that you will definitely face as you fill each page of your manuscript. Feel the fear and just keep at it…and know in your heart that out here in cyberspace, there are folks cheering you on.

    So, hurry up and finish that book so you can make it to Oprah’s couch before her show ends 🙂

    Best of luck,
    Louise Lewis, author
    No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You!
    Sign up for the link to a FREE cover-to-cover read at: no experts needed dot com

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