In case you couldn’t tell, I have a bit of a craving for chillies at the moment. Dragon chicken is an Indo-Chinese dish that definitely delivers on this front and consists of battered chicken stir fried in a spicy chilli sauce. The sauce has a lot of flavour from the garlic, ginger and soy sauce while the dried red chillies deliver a fiery kick. You can adjust the amount of chillies and chilli paste based on your taste. If you like a milder dish, you will want to use significantly less but then you won’t really be making dragon chicken.
This is quite a dry dish. The sauce should be just enough to coat the chicken so if you want more then, by all means, double the sauce ingredients. The chilli paste can be bought readymade but is easily made by soaking dried red chillies in hot water and then grinding to a paste. They give the dish an amazing kick. If you are not a spice fan then this recipe is probably not for you. If however, you can’t get enough of it, read on.
500g Boneless Chicken Breast (cut into thin strips)
Coriander leaves or Spring Onion for garnishing (finely chopped)
Oil for Deep frying
2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Red Chilli Paste (ground dry red chilli)
1 Egg White
¼ – ½ cup Plain Flour
¼ cup Cornflour
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp Oil
3 Dry Red Chillies
4 Tbsp Cashews, broken into small pieces
1 large Onion, sliced thinly
1 Bell Pepper, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 Tbsp Red Chilli Paste (ground up dry red chilli)
1 Tbsp Dark Soy sauce
2 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
Salt to taste
1 tsp Sugar
Take chicken in a bowl and add all the marination ingredients. Mix well and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Now heat some oil for deep-frying. When the oil is hot drop the chicken in oil and fry till golden. Drain and set aside.
Now heat oil in a frying pan. Add in dry red chilli and cashews and fry till the cashew turn golden brown.
Now add in onions and bell peppers and toss well in the oil.
Add in ginger garlic paste and sauté for a min.
Now add in red chilli paste, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, salt, sugar and mix well.
Cook this for a couple of mins till the water evaporates and sauce thickens.
Now add in the fried chicken and toss well in the sauce. Add in chopped coriander or spring onion and mix well.
Gochugang is a deep red fermented chilli paste that has a nice deep dark flavour (not too much heat, with a little bit of sweetness). It is pretty readily available in Asian grocers and most large supermarkets now.
The sauce is rich and spicy with a hum of garlic and fresh ginger while the drizzle of honey helps to balance the heat and the black sesame seeds and/or peanuts add a nice nutty flavour and crunch. The crispy batter, succulent chicken and deep flavour of the sauce will have you disgracing yourself as you destroy the lot but don’t worry, you won’t be the only one.
If, like Marilyn Monroe and I, you like it hot then add a little gochugaru (Korean chilli powder) to the sauce for extra lip-smacking goodness.
For the spicy Korean bbq sauce:
¼ cup gochugang (Korean Chilli Paste)
5 garlic cloves, grated
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon honey or barley malt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the chicken nuggets:
3 chicken breasts cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
1 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 ¼ cup cold water
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil for frying
1. Preheat oil to 180°C.
2. For the spicy Korean bbq sauce, place all ingredients into a milk pan and whisk together over a gentle heat for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and infuse the garlic and ginger. Set aside.
3. Sift together the flour and cornflour into a mixing bowl. Whisk in water until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
4. Dip each nugget piece into the batter and shake to remove any excess. Carefully drop each battered nugget into the hot oil and fry for 5 to 6 minutes (this will have to be done in batches).
5. Drain onto paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Once all nuggets have been fried, place nuggets back into the fryer and fry a second time (double fry) for 5 to 7 minutes or until light golden brown and crispy. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
6. Pour some of the Korean bbq sauce into a heatproof bowl and thin out with a few drops of water. Add the nuggets and toss together in the sauce to coat them. Transfer them onto a serving plate with a slotted spoon and garnish with black sesame seeds or crushed peanuts and a drizzle of honey or more Korean bbq sauce.
Taking the time to make your own enchilada sauce is so so worth it in this dish. If you’re going to the effort, why not double or triple it so you have some to refrigerate or freeze for another amazing mealtime? I don’t think authentic enchilada sauce actually has any tomato in it. It gets it’s beautiful redness from the amount of chilli powder so make sure you use the mild variety even if you like your spice. The sauce is unadulterated by refined sugars and additives that you’ll find in leading brand jars and instead, tastes fresh, vibrant and incredible smothered on top of chicken, beany, cheesy goodness. Try it, try it, try it!
Red Enchilada Sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. plain flour
1 Tbsp. mild chilli powder
Freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, grated
2 cups chicken stock
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients bar the stock. Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thickened to your liking.
Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
Chicken & Bean Enchiladas
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
salt and pepper
Jalapeno chilli slices, drained
1 can black beans or mixed bean salad (your preference)
6 small flour tortillas
Cheddar cheese, grated
1 batch red enchilada sauce (see recipe)
chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
As easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7!
Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare your enchilada sauce, if making homemade.
In large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook the butterflied chicken through, turning once, for 8-10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Shred into chunky strips then set aside.
Add onion to the same pan and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shredded chicken back to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl with the drained bean salad. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the enchilada sauce to the bowl and stir everything well to combine.
To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, bean and chicken mixture and cheese.
Microwave the tortillas for a few seconds so they become maliable and don’t crack when you come to rolling them up.
Lay out the tortillas and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of each. Divide the bean and chicken mix between the wraps and spoon in a line down the middle of each tortilla. Roll up each tortilla and place in a lightly greased baking dish. Spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas and sprinkle on the grated cheddar cheese so there is a nice generous layer. Add pickled jalapenos with the cheese for an extra tasty kick.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh coriander if desired.
This dish is great served with guacamole and salsa!
Nduja (pronounced en-du-ya) is a spicy spreadable Italian salami. It’s available from delicatessens and specialty grocers. Some supermarkets stock it too. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with finely chopped spicy salami. It has a lovely chilli kick and the oozy mozzarella adds a creamy respite to create a variety of flavours in your mouth.
Gozleme is a Turkish flatbread that is cooked on the griddle. Traditional fillings include minced meat, spinach and white cheese such as feta but I am slightly obsessed with nduja at the moment. Feel free to add what you like.
This is a really simple and tasty recipe that is fairly quick to put together. Making your own dough to encase a warm, spicy, gooey filling is definitely worth the little extra effort.
This recipe makes 6 breads but can easily be divided for fewer.
600g plain flour
80ml extra virgin olive oil
95g Natural Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
240g Grated vintage cheddar
300g Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, for sprinkling
Lemon wedges, to serve
Place the flour, oil, yoghurt, water, oregano and salt in a large mixing bowl and knead to combine for 3–4 minutes or until smooth. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2–3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place in a large lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat a lightly greased char-grill pan or barbecue to high heat. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Place each portion on a lightly floured surface and roll into 20cm x 28cm ovals.
With the shorter ends facing towards you, spread the bottom half of the ovals with the nduja and sprinkle with the cheddar and mozzarella, leaving a 2cm border. Fold the top half of the dough over and press the edges to seal.
Brush the gozleme with the oil and cook, in batches, for 2–3 minutes or until charred. Turn over and cook for a further 1–2 minutes or until charred and cooked through. Sprinkle with pepper and serve with lemon wedges.
Make a batch of clever, cook-from-frozen calzones to pull out of the freezer anytime and have a house filled with fresh doughy aromas and an amazing dinner with no fuss.
Oozing, gooey cheese mixed with subtly spiced chorizo and comforting tomato sauce is encased in crunchy, fresh pizza dough that will easily beat any take-out favourites!
Use full-fat mozzarella. The high water content in the low-fat versions leaks out when cooking and leaves you with a soggy calzone. No one likes a soggy calzone.
Your favourite pizza dough recipe or 500g ciabatta bread mix
1 red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g cooking chorizo, diced
1 red chilli, sliced and deseeded if a milder flavour is desired
½ tsp smoked paprika
A small bunch of basil, chopped
150-200g mozzarella block, cut into large cubes
Fine semolina or plain flour, for dusting
Make a batch of your pizza dough (see my pizza dough recipe-I’d love to provide a link but haven’t got a clue how to do it). Alternatively, make the bread mix following packet instructions. I always add 1 tsp of dried herbs and some garlic powder for added flavour. Leave it to rise while you make the filling.
Dry fry the chorizo chunks in a frying pan until they begin to brown and release oil. Drain half of the oil and set the chorizo aside. Fry the onion in the remaining oil until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Return the chorizo to the pan with the paprika, chilli and passata. Simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Stir in the basil and season well. Allow to cool a little
Cut the mozzarella block into large cubes. If you can’t find the hard mozzarella blocks, you can use the ball but drain really well in a sieve before using.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces on a work surface dusted with fine semolina or flour. Roll each piece out to make ½ cm thick rounds about 20cm wide. Put a generous spoonful of the sauce onto each base and spread over half the dough leaving a 3cm border around the edge. Scatter a few chunks of mozzarella on top.
5. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the sides together making sure to seal the whole edge. Fold the sealed dough over and crimp to make sure no sauce leaks out when cooking. Make a steam whole in the top of each. Carefully transfer the calzones to a baking paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid then individually wrap in cling film.
6. To serve, heat the oven to 200C. Unwrap the frozen calzones, put onto a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until the dough is puffed and golden. Stick a metal skewer into the steam hole to check the filling is piping hot before serving.
Serve with salad and your favourite sauce to dunk the crunchy, doughy crust into.
Crispy burritos filled with juicy Mexican shredded chicken with a rich sauce, Mexican red rice and cheese. These are MADE for freezing – a perfect standby meal! If you aren’t freezing the burritos, feel free to add other things inside such as avocado, fresh salsa, pico de gallo, lettuce and tomato! (These are not suitable for freezing which is why I have served them on the side).
Chicken & Sauce:
2 chicken breasts, skinless boneless
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp chipotle chilli paste
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp each dried oregano, ground cumin, smoked paprika and garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ onion, diced
½ red bell pepper / capsicum, diced
½ cup tinned black beans
½ cup tinned corn kernels
2 cups cooked rice
4 tbsp pasatta or chopped tomatoes (from the chicken recipe)
2 tbsp water
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 ripe avocado
2 spring onions, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest and juice of ½ a lime
Chopped coriander (optional)
Cheddar cheese, grated
For the shredded chicken:
Place the chicken & sauce ingredients into a medium saucepan. Simmer covered on medium low for 20 – 30 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, until chicken can be shredded with 2 forks.
Shred the chicken using 2 forks and set aside. Keep fairly chunky for some nice texture.
At this point, you can blend the remaining sauce to be really smooth but I like mine a bit chunky.
Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the shredded chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When starting to brown and crisp slightly, add the sauce a bit at a time until a nice thick shredded chicken sauce is achieved. Add chopped coriander and lime and set aside.
For the rice:
Combine the Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix.
Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Add garlic and cook for 10 seconds until fragrant.
Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the onion becomes translucent – about 2 minutes.
Add the black beans and corn. Cook for 1 minute just to heat through.
Add the rice and sauce and stir quickly to coat the rice evenly.
Season with black pepper. Set aside.
For the guacamole:
Remove the avocado flesh from the skin. Chop then mash to a lumpy paste. Add all the other ingredients and mix to combine.
Microwave the tortillas very briefly to warm them up (15 seconds or so). This ensures they don’t crack when you roll them.
Place 1 tortilla on a workbench – cover the rest with a tea towel to keep them warm.
Place cheese down the middle of the tortilla, then top with 2 generous spoons of rice and then 2 generous spoons of chicken.
Roll the burrito up by tucking in two ends then rolling. Wrap in foil to hold it together.
If you are serving it immediately, heat a dry frying pan over medium heat. Cook the burritos for around 4 to 5 minutes on each side to make the tortilla brown and heat the inside through.
Serve with the guacamole and fresh salad.
If freezing, place in the freezer. To reheat, you can either bake from frozen (with foil on) at 180C for about 40 to 45 minutes, or thaw and cook in the skillet per above. You could microwave it (remove the foil) but I like my burritos a bit crispy!
It tastes and looks like you’ve spent hours slaving away making this curry but actually, it is very simple to put together and there is a lot of flavour going on too.
I have suggested using a curry paste in the recipe. It doesn’t have to be Rogan Josh. Try Balti, Tikka Massala, Korma etc based on your taste but make sure you buy paste and not sauce. Ready made curry sauce is not authentic and not very tasty either.
For the Kofta
1 heaped teaspoon garam masala
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
400g quality lean beef mince
A splash of milk to combine
For the curry:
3 ripe tomatoes
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
2 spring onions
1 fresh red chilli
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon runny honey
2 heaped teaspoons Patak’s rogan josh curry paste
½ x 400 g tin of coconut milk
4 tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt, to serve
Put the mince into a bowl with salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, ginger and garlic and garam masala. Add a splash of milk then mix and scrunch together with clean hands. Divide the mixture in half, then with wet hands quickly squeeze and mould each half into 6 fat fingers. Put them into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning until golden.
2. Squash the tomatoes into the liquidizer, add the peeled ginger, trimmed spring onions, half the chilli, the coriander stalks, turmeric, honey, curry paste and coconut milk then blitz until combined. Pour into the kofta pan, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes and season to taste.
3. Finely slice the remaining chilli and the coriander leaves and scatter them over the curry, dollop with yoghurt, then serve with lemon wedges, poppadoms and rice.