Stuffed Chicken Wings

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I’d not cooked for a while. It was high time I dusted off some of the old recipes percolating inside my head and update them. One of them was this recipe for stuffed chicken wings. I last made them yonks ago back in my university days and never since had the time nor inclination to make them again.

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The chicken wings are made by taking the wing part and removing the two little bones inside, keeping the skin and meat pretty much intact. Then the cavity is stuffed with an aromatic minced meat mixture and the wings baked till golden all over. Sounds simple to do, but the deboning bit can be very tedious. The trick is patience and taking it slowly by popping the bones out of the joint and slowly cutting the meat off the bones with a pair of kitchen scissors. After getting the knack of one, the rest are easy. Still, it took me about half an hour to finish deboning 10 of these little fellas.

For the filling, I tried to add a bit of Thai flavour by adding kaffir lime leaves and coriander. I’d imagine variations along the lines of adding water chestnut and cloud ear mushrooms for a more Chinese flavour. Or using curry powder and cooked potato for a slightly more local Malay-Indian touch. Try it and go crazy with the variations!

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Ingredients:

200g minced pork
¼ bundle tanghoon, soaked and cut into short lengths
2 dried mushrooms, soaked and chopped fine
1 bunch coriander, chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, sliced very fine
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp chopped chilli, optional
10 chicken wingsticks, deboned

glaze
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  2. Combine the stuffing ingredients and mix well.
  3. Stuff into the chicken wings and round off the top, being careful to push all the ends of the tanghoon into the meat mixture. This stops it from drying out and burning in the oven.
  4. Combine the glaze mixture and stir till the sugar dissolves. Paint over the mixture on the wings and, if using, the drumlets.
  5. Place onto a foil-lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, turning half way through, till golden brown.
  6. Serve with a squeeze of lime on top.

Makes 10.

    Poor Woman’s Bolognaise

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    This is a rather cheap and comforting dish that freezes very well. It’s great to defrost one of these for a quick pasta dinner when really busy. I normally make a huge batch of this and freeze them in little baggies. The ingredients aren’t expensive at all, especially if you use frozen beef. Not being a fan of mystery meat, I skipped the beef mince and bought frozen beef cubes which I then minced with my food processor.

    Please note that this is hardly authentic at all. I doubt it’s anywhere close to what an Italian mama would make and I make no apologies for it. I like this recipe and I’m sharing it. A warning to carnivores: it’s not very meaty because it’s bulked up by the onion, carrot and celery. To me, it’s a good thing because I don’t have to worry about including veggies, though I normally do if I’m not pressed for time. If you’re in for a meat fest, easy! Just add more meat. Cooking is that simple. Uh huh.

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    Ingredients:
    1 head garlic
    4 large onions
    3 large carrots
    5 sticks celery
    2 tbsp oil
    2 punnets button mushrooms, quartered
    500 g minced beef
    2 tbsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
    1 tsp cinnamon powder
    2 tsp chilli flakes
    2 tsp ground black pepper
    2 bay leaves
    ½ cup red/white wine
    2 cans stewed tomatoes, chopped

    macaroni
    cheese

    Method:

    1. Peel and chop the garlic, onions, carrots and celery into tiny bits. For goodness sake, please use a food processor of some sort. I salute you if you manage to chop it all by hand.
    2. In a large pot, sweat the onions and garlic in the oil, followed by the carrot and celery. Don’t let any of it brown. Stir in the mushrooms.
    3. Turn up the heat and add the beef, stirring till coloured.
    4. Now add the herbs and spices, followed by the wine.
    5. Allow to bubble before adding the chopped tomatoes.
    6. Turn down the flame and simmer on low for one hour. Alternatively, put it in a slow cooker or thermopot for a couple of hours.
    7. To freeze, allow to cool and then pack into plastic baggies.
    8. To eat, cook macaroni till al dente, toss it in the pasta and season to taste.
    9. Top with cheese and then put under a grill to allow the cheese to melt.

    Makes about 10 servings.

    Chronicles of MPT: Tai Hwa Bak Chor Mee at Crawford Lane

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    A friend introduced me to the bak chor mee at Crawford Lane. This is Tai Hwa, not to be confused with Tai Wah. Unlike Tai Wah, it is the only stall with no branches anywhere else.

    We got there at 10.30 am and there was no queue at all. Apparently during the peak period, the queue would stretch the length of the coffeeshop. We were in luck!

    This bak chor mee ($4 up) is probably the best all-rounder so far. The noodles were perfectly al dente, as was the balance of chilli and vinegar. I also really liked the thin slivers of deep-fried lard that delivered the highest crisp vs. calorie ratio. They were just the right size: thin enough to crunch nicely yet large enough to avoid once the guilt set in. The one piece of dried sole fish wasn’t enough and was slightly bland, but it’s a small quibble.

    The sliced meat, minced meat, liver and pork ball were all spot on, tender and juicy. The only let down was the dumpling, which was too salty. My friend didn’t notice, so I guess it was just me being too sensitive. Either that the uncle didn’t mix the dumpling filling well.

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    Wins: Best All-Rounder

    Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
    Blk 466 Crawford Lane #01-12
    Tel: 6292 7477

    Vanishing Food: Maxwell Oyster Pancake

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    While I ate a disappointing curry puff at Maxwell Hawker Centre’s Tanglin Curry Puff, I spotted the friendly aunties at Hong Jia Oyster Pancake chatting animately with a customer. Such friendly people had to make good food, so I asked for a $2 pancake (with oyster). I got chatting with them and the younger auntie has been making this for over 20 years after taking over from her mother’s itinerant stall.

    These little babies are pretty expensive considering that it’s just a snack, but you pay for the labour involved. It’s basically crispy batter studded with crunchy peanuts encasing a filling of chopped vegetables, minced pork and prawn. That’s the $1.50 version. If you shell out for the $2 version, you get an oyster inside too.

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    It’s quite special and yummy with lots of contrasting texture and taste. The older auntie who helps out likes it so much she eats at least one a day! Just be warned, it’s a tad on the oily side.

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    Hong Jia Oyster Pancake
    Same row as Tian Tian, next to Tanglin Curry Puff
    Maxwell Hawker Centre

    Chronicles of MPT: Seng Kee Mushroom Minced Pork Noodles

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    I’m the biggest fan of meepok tah, whether fishball or bak chor flavour. It’s my default if I can’t decide what to eat at the hawker centre.

    Since Mum and I were in the area, we dropped by Seng Kee Mushroom Minced Pork Noodles at Eunos to check out the hype. The smallest bowl of bak chor mee cost $4 and was slightly smaller than the typical $3.50 food court bak chor mee.

    The sauce was good. I could tell that the mushrooms were stewed for ages to get out all that yummy mushroom flavour. The chilli was decent though I’d like it to be much hotter than this. Making this extra delicious were the tiny bits of fried lard that added crunch and sinfully good oily porkiness. If I’d never tried bak chor mee before, this would be pretty darn It. The missing ingredient was good ol’ black vinegar. A generous dash of that would take it straight to heaven.

    Noodles-wise, it was only OK. While the noodles were the better thicker variety, they were too soft and needed either vinegar or a change to fresh blanching water. The beansprouts were a nice touch for adding crunch. I love beansprouts in my MPT. The fish dumpling was decent, though my mum got one with the filling missing!

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    The soup was quite something. As the bowl was set down, I could already smell it! Check out how much stuff has been boiled in it in the picture below. It’s sweet with pork and soy beans, deeply savoury from the dried sole (that’s where the smell came from) and redolent of chinese herbs like wolfberry. I liked it but my mum found it too rich.

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    Notwithstanding the tiny dried scallops sprinkled generously over the vegetables, we found the $4 dish overpriced. There were only about three heads of xiao bai cai on the plate, topped with two bland mushroom halves. The sauce was rich and full of seafood flavour and the dried scallops rather tasty. Still, I couldn’t help feeling cheated because all I really wanted was enough vegetable to balance out my meal.

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    Verdict? While it certainly is better than the average bak chor mee, the difference in quality isn’t that great. Go there only if you’re in the area.

    Seng Kee Mushroom Minced Pork Noodles
    316 Changi Road
    Tel: 6345 7561