Have you ever tried an Asian style fried chicken? It’s got many names including Korean Fried Chicken, Garlic Fried Chicken, and Mochiko Chicken, just to name a few.
But whatever you call it the taste is very similar and the recipes are pretty much the same. And of course it’s delicious! It’s slightly sweet, slightly salty garlicy chicken pieces that are delicately battered and fried to a crisp chicken that’s tender and juicy on the inside. In short it’s perfect!
Serve it hot over a bed of hot steamed rice or a stack of noodles. A crisp fresh salad of greens makes a great addition. Or serve it as a nice lunch on a bed of mixed greens and drizzle with the homemade garlic sauce.
For the tastiest Asian Garlic Fried Chicken make the sauce ahead of time and marinate your chicken pieces in some of the sauce overnight in the fridge. Also this recipe uses boneless skinless chicken thighs not breasts which tend to be less tasty and dry.
My family loves this delicious chicken dish I’m sure yours will too!
I’ve written about themed parties many times, I just loved themed events. But I don’t limit my themes to parties and events; I think it adds fun to family dinners and get togethers too! One of my favorite themed dinners is Middle Eastern night mainly because it ends with a favorite Middle Eastern dessert called Znoud El Sit!
What you may ask is Znoud El Sit. Well literally translated it means “lady’s arms”. I heard it was because the creamy sweet pastries are reminiscent of a lady’s creamy white fluffy arms, interesting I know. But what ever it translates to in my book it’s delicious! Its a crunchy pastry made from fried phyllo dough strips filled with a fluffy sweet cream and dipped in honey syrup.
I’ve included the recipe for Znoud El Sit in this post, but before I share it let me give you some ideas on how you too can have a Middle Eastern themed night.
First off it helps if you have a few items you would consider “middle eastern” such as colorful tablecloths, napkins, plates, etc. it would help set the stage, it not it’s ok. If you really want to you can run to Walmart or the dollar store and pickup some disposable items in the party section. You can download some middle eastern music too, think Aladdin! Candles in brass holders or lanterns help set the stage and the mood. All this is great if you have it but not really needed because in a real Middle Eastern get together the focus is the food. Here are a few ideas of things you can serve.
Then of course it’s dessert time! The best part of the meal! So for a middle eastern themed night serve up a tray of Znoud El Sit!
This recipe is a bit fussy in that it involves 3 different things to prepare – the cream, the pastry, and the syrup. But you can make everything well in advance and store in the fridge or freezer depending on how far in advance you make it. To be honest I keep a supply of all these things, the pastry and cream in the freezer, and the syrup in the fridge. That way all I have to do is fry them when I’m hungry for some Znoud El Sit!
So here’s how to make this yummy dessert.
1 Quart Half & Half
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Corn Starch diluted in 2 Cup water
Place the Half & Half and sugar in a large pot over medium high heat until it starts to boil.
Slowly stir in the diluted corn starch. Your cream should start to thicken.
Stir constantly to keep the bottom from scorching and cook until it reaches the consistency of pudding.
Remove from heat and let cool.
You can use the cooled cream immediately or place in a sealed container and freeze for up to 3 months. Just be sure to thaw it out before using.
4 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
1 Tbs. Honey
Place the sugar and water in a large pot over medium high heat.
Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Stir in honey and cook until it starts to boil.
Turn down heat and cook until it starts to thicken, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from heat and squeeze and stir in the juice from the lemon.
Cool and pour over cooked pastry or store in sealed jar in the fridge for up to a month.
Znoud El Sit
1 box Phyllo Dough Sheets cut lenghwise into thirds and sheets/strips separated – keep a damp cloth over the sheets so they don’t dry up while you work.
1 stick butter, melted
Ashta Cream (recipe above)
Oil for deep frying
Honey Syrup (recipe above)
Take two strips of phyllo dough sheets
and place on a board to form a cross.
Brush with melted butter.
Place a heaping tablespoon of cream in the center
Fold the “arms” of the cross over the cream
Brush with melted butter.
Fold bottom part of remaining strip over the folded arms.
Brush with butter then roll the rest to the end of the strip.
Repeat this process until you’ve used all the strips.
At this point you can deep fry all of the rolls until they are golden brown or freeze some of the unfried ones for later use.
Drain the fried rolls on paper towels then dip in syrup before serving. If you want to you can drop a dot of red cookie icing or red jam on top of each roll just to give it some color.
Mansaf, Fatiyeh, or Fatihah this traditional middle eastern lamb stew in yogurt sauce is a big part of Arabic cuisine. It is a favorite dish for large gatherings including weddings and engagement parties. In short it plays a large part in Middle Eastern hospitality.
In my experience folks in the Arab world are very hospitable and generous. Rolling out a huge tray of Mansaf is a sign of respect and welcome to anyone visiting an Arab home whether it be in Jordan, Dubai, Europe, or America.
But of course this traditional dish has several names depending on the country or even city one is in. In most countries like Jordan and Lebanon it’s called Mansaf; it’s the same dish Palestinians from the West Bank call Fatiyeh or Fatihah and those who hail closer to the larger cities call Mensaf. Whatever it’s called it’s basically the same dish with a few regional additions to the toppings.
So what is Mansaf? It’s a dish typically made with Lamb that’s simmered in a yogurt sauce made from reconstituted “Chisitch/Kishk/Jameed” (fermented or dried sheeps’ milk yogurt.) Then the meat and sauce are served on a bed of torn unleavened bread like Shrak or pita and rice. The whole dish can be topped with fresh parsley and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts; or as I’ve been taught by some of my Palestinian husband’s friends a ring of fried onions and tomatoes.
Really the secret ingredient, or not so secret, is the Chisitch. Okay it’s not the easiest thing to get your hands on. I usually get the dried balls of Chisitch from my husband’s relatives who travel to and from the Middle East or my sister-in-law who actually makes it! I’ve also been able to buy it from a market in Oman during one of my trips there. But you might be able to find it at a middle eastern market where it’s usually called Kishk or Jameed. It’s available in liquid or powder form. Or you can believe it or not order it from Amazon by clicking this affiliate link!
If all else fails and you simply can not get a hold of Chisitch/Kishk/Jameed then use Buttermilk! Yes the carton you find in your grocer’s diary section. Good old fashioned buttermilk, the stuff you can use to make Buttermilk pancakes and biscuits!
If you’re using balls of chisitch from where ever you must reconstitute it – meaning soak the balls in water overnight, then place all of it in your blender until it is liquified. You might need to add water to the blender to get the liquid you need.
If you’re using powdered kishk or jameed then dissolve it in water. Obviously the easiest one to use would be liquid jameed or buttermilk.
Whichever one you use the real secret is to keep the jameed or kishk liquid from curdling when you add it to your meat. To do that you must temper it by slowly stirring the liquid into a little bit of lamb broth. This brings the temperature of the jameed up to the temperature of the stewed meat.
So if you want to try this yummy dish at home scroll down for my recipe. It’s pretty fussy, it takes me a whole afternoon too make it! This recipe is for a fairly small tray, you can double or triple it if you need to make a large tray for more people.
By the way Mansaf or Fatihah is traditionally eaten with one’s fingers right off the serving tray. The polite and proper way to eat this dish is to use your fingers to take bite-sized portions from the tray and pop it in your mouth. You take portions only from the meat and rice that is directly in front of you; respect other diner’s tray space. That’s how it’s traditionally eaten; at our house it’s served family style with a serving spoon used to spoon a portion on to each person’s plate and we uses forks and knives.
Place meat in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.
While meat boils fat will come to the surface. Skim off fat and discard. Continue this process until fat stops forming on the surface.
Strain meat and set aside while you thoroughly wash out the pot. Dry pot before proceeding.
Heat 1 Tbs. Olive Oil in pot and add 1 portion of chopped onions. Cook onions until they start to soften.
Add meat and Lebanese 7 Spices Mix and stir well. Cook until onions become translucent.
Add beef broth to cover meat. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer covered for 2 hours.
Meanwhile you can prepare other parts of the dish.
Heat remaining Olive Oil in frying pan and add remaining chopped onions. Cook until onions start to soften.
Add garlic to pan and cook about 1 minute stirring constantly.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft and juices start to come out. Salt & Pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
Melt 2 Tbs. Butter in saute pan and toast pine nuts until they start to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
About 30 minutes before stew is cooked prepare rice by first melting remaining butter in pot.
Add Vermecelli and saute until pasta starts to turn golden brown.
Add dry rice and saute another minute.
Stir in about 4 cups of water to cover the rice. Cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Let rest at least 5 minutes to absorb any remaining water.
Check you meat. It should be tender and falling off the bone.
If meat is cooked turn down heat very low.
Remove about 1 cup of broth from pot to temper your jameed or buttermilk.
Slowly pour liquid jameed or buttermilk into that broth. Stirring only in one direction as you add the jameed. This is tempering the jameed. It is very important that you stir as you combine the liquids and stir only in one direction to keep the jameed from curdling.
Once the jameed is tempered using the same procedure slowly add the tempered jameed into the pot of stew.
Simmer on low heat for about 20 Minutes.
Meanwhile prepare your serving tray. Break up the bread into pieces and place pieces on to the tray.
Cover bread with rice.
Place meat on the rice. Pour yogurt sauce (liquid you cooked meat in) over the meat and rice.
This dish too was caused my desperation to own Pancit Palabok. Now, within the Philippines you’ll get this noodle dish nearly anyplace. It’s additionally extremely popular for birthdays. However in my desperation this weekend to own this dish.
I had to form it from scratch. Pancit Palabok or Pancit Luglug (they are just about a similar dish except Palabok uses a thicker noodle) is seasoned with prawn gravy thickened with corn flour or flour and poured over rice noodles (bihon). What i like most concerning this dish ar the toppings – it’s a matter of private alternative however the foremost common toppings embody prawns, pork, hard-boiled eggs, smoke-cured fish, bean curd and my personal favorite, crushed pork crakcling (chicharon)!
500 grams rice noodles (bihon) 30 ml (2 tablespoons) cooking oil 10 grams dried prawns 5 cloves garlic, crushed 4 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon achuete powder 600 ml shrimp stock (see recipe below) 30 ml (2 tablespoons) fish sauce (plus more to taste) salt and pepper Toppings: grilled squid, prawns, pork belly, smoked fish (tinapa), crushed pork crackling (chicharon), spring onions, hard boiled egg (quartered)
1. To make the prawn stock, peel the prawns and place the peels (including the prawn heads) them in a pot and cover with around 600 ml of water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Make sure to press the peels as the stock is simmering to extract as much flavour as you can. Continue to simmer for around 30 minutes and set aside. The peeled prawns can be used for the toppings. 2. Heat the cooking oil and saute the dried prawns and garlic until fragrant, around 2 minutes. Next, add the flour and the achuete powder. 3. Add the prawn stock, a little at a time as if making a roux and mixing well after each addition. The sauce should now be thick (like a custard or a thick bechamel). If you prefer to make it thinner, add some water to dilute. Add the fish sauce and some salt and pepper to taste. 4. For the toppings – this should be done to taste. Marinate the squid, prawns and pork belly in equal quantities of soy sauce and fish sauce for around 30 minutes then grill or pan fry. 5. Fill another pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the bihon noodles and cook for around a minute until tender. Strain then place in a bowl Top with the prawn gravy, and the toppings (see above).
Pancit Palabok (Philippine Style Noodles in a Prawn Gravy)
June is National Rose Month. Did you know that on November 20, 1986 then President Ronald Reagan signed a resolution making the rose the national floral emblem? And he signed it at a ceremony held where else but the White House Rose Garden!
Almost everyone loves roses, these beautiful blooms come in many sizes and colors, and have a wonderful scent. They are the symbol of love and romance, after all who can resist a gift of roses from their significant other?
Celebrate National Rose Month with a Vintage Rose Garden Tea Party! This theme can be used for anything from an intimate tea party for two, a bridal or baby shower, birthday party, and what ever occasion you like. Roses and tea parties are an awesome combination. Here are some ideas to inspire you!
Everyone loves Chocolate Chip Cookies. It’s the world’s most popular cookie! Last week I shared the recipe for The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie. It is one of my favorites! But sometimes I get a craving for more chocolate and that’s when the Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies come in handy. They are simply delicious!
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I’m sure you’ve seen them at Starbuck’s and other retail bakeries. I think there are even some packaged ones by Pepperidge Farms. But nothing comes close to my Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’re definitely chocolaty but the white chocolate morsels I add give it that extra yum! They like crunchy brownies with a kick of delicious white chocolate. They go great with a cold glass of milk!
Another tip for making bakery quality cookies is to have the proper tools. In this case to make really good looking (and tasting) cookies you’ll need a measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, an electric mixer (a standing mixer is easier but costlier so a hand mixer works too), a 1 Oz. Scoop (they make the cookies all the same size) and a Silicone Baking Mat (or you can use parchment paper, either one works well, but the mat ends up cheaper in the long run and is definitely more eco-friendly). I know it seems frivolous to buy these things specially if you don’t bake often. I remember back in the day when we really didn’t have the extra money to spend on them (they were much more expensive then) I used to make do with whatever I had. But these days with online shops and big box stores baking equipment has become much more affordable!
But you don’t have to rush out and buy mats, scoops, and whatever. Use what you have or borrow from a baking friend or your mom! Just make sure you use the best ingredients that you can find, that’s the most important thing!