Cooking With Kaya (kind of) Episode 2: FRIED CHICKEN!!!

Fried chicken faces in effect.

Time flies.  The older I get, the more that’s true. It’s been over half a year since the last post, which I’ll admit is kind of standard for me (which might explain the fact that this blog has a readership of about 6.3 people).  More hard to believe, it’s been almost a decade since I started this here food blog. In that time – the posts in this blog provide documentation – Shefali and I got married, had a kid, moved from Brooklyn to Oakland, had another kid and well, continue to just live our rather ordinary lives.  One of those markers of ordinary life came couple weeks ago when Kaya started kindergarten. But before her official start,  she and I had an opportunity to hang out – quality time, just father and daughter.  So I thought, what better way to spend time together bonding then making another food video?!  Genius, right?!  Kaya, was maybe a little less enthusiastic.  I mean I’ve been subjecting her to these vids since she was a fat little baby (when we both looked a lot younger).  So, she wasn’t really feeling it, having her own thoughts and all, but I’m her dad and I can still make her do stuff, so that’s cool.  You’ll see in the video.

In any case, I wanted to make something that despite the passage of time has remained a constant in my life: fried chicken. I. Love. Fried. Chicken. It’s got to be up there in my top 5 of all time favorite foods. I will never turn down a piece of fried chicken.  It has been there for me, always. For example, when I was maybe five or six and my mom accidentally chopped the tip of her middle finger off with a cleaver when she was cutting up a roast duck. Now, I actually look back on that episode with fondness  because 1) well, it wasn’t my finger and I was napping when it happened and 2) because while my mom and my dad rushed to the emergency, finger tip packed in a cup of ice so doctors could sew it back on, my aunt and uncle took me and my sister to Kentucky Fried Chicken (before it was rebranded as KFC) where we feasted on salty, greasy goodness. Later when I was a teenager and my parents had a night out, they’d let me eat whatever I wanted and I always got a box of frozen Banquet Fried Chicken (spicy) and I’d polish off about three or four pieces in a sitting.  As an adult, I’ve been fortunate to have my horizons expanded – at least when it comes to fried chicken. From southern style (American) fried chicken to to Japanese karaage chicken, I’ve made room for all of them in my heart and stomach.  I’d say pretty much everybody around the world loves fried chicken and everybody does a version of it. In my  humble opinion, it’s all good. I’m a globalist. I admit it.

I found this vendor in a bus stop in Antigua, Guatemala.

I found this fried chicken in a market in Pai, Northern Thailand. I tried to have at least one piece of fried chicken a day there, often for breakfast.

I’m happy to say that love for chicken that is fried has been passed on to my daughter. Nature? Nurture?  Does the fried chicken come before the fried egg or vice versa? These are deep questions, I know. Welcome to my life. But I digress. One of my favorite versions is Thai style fried chicken. It’s got a lighter skin (rice flour instead of wheat flour) and the meat is often marinated beforehand (basically, brining does the same thing) so that the meat has a lot of flavor as opposed to just the skin or batter (don’t get me wrong, I love that too).  It’s also reminiscent of the fried chicken my dad used to make for us when we were kids and he was getting really into cooking.  He used bread crumbs for his coating though. Anyway this is the version I decided to make with Kaya.

Here’s the Ingredient list (amounts are approximates, as usual).

Marinade Ingredients
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup fish sauce
3-5 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of ginger
3-4 tbsp of lemongrass
bunch of cilantro
2 1/2 tbsp of sugar

5 lbs of chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs) – you can also use little wings and drumettes)
rice flour to coat chicken pieces
oil to fry

And here’s the all important video for how we do it. Watch, learn and enjoy.

 

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C’s Asiany-ish Green Beans

C's Asiany-ish Green Beans

C’s Asiany-ish Green Beans

Hello people (or person or spambot)! Here’s a quick and easy recipe that is guaranteed to make you the toast of the town, the bell of the ball, the king of the hill, etc.  And all it takes are beans – green beans.  I kid you not, you make these green beans and people will think you’re the shit! in the best possible sense.  These green beans are so easy to prepare- maybe taking 20 minutes out of your life – and when you serve them, people will think you’re a culinary genius!  Am I selling this recipe too hard?  Perhaps.  All I know is that my kids love these green beans.  And they have really good taste.  I mean, they are my kids.  In fact watching K and M attack these beans one day, gave me the idea to make the video and put this recipe up.  Because who doesn’t love videos about green beans – and adorable kids?  (Note to self:  for the next vid book cute kittens and a Kardashian for the next vid. Scratch that.  Just book the kittens. I want to keep this blog classy).

Back to the beans.  What makes them Asiany-ish?  Well, I made them.  Obviously.  Also, the ingredients of the dressing: miso, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Basically you steam the beans and  then toss them in the dressing. That’s it!  The resulting flavor is a brilliant combination of  textural crunch of the beans with the salty, sour, sweet and umami flavor of the dressing.  Alright enough reading. Let’s get to doing. Here’s the recipe and check out the video below for how you do it.

Ingredients:
1-2 lbs of green beans (blue lake, French, whatever variety of string bean you want to use) – stemmed, cut into 1.5 inch pieces and steamed and cooked to your liking.
1.5 tbsp of miso paste
2-3 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of sesame oil

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Jason’s Mom’s Chow Mein!

It might surprise you, as it did me, that MY mom is not the only Chinese mom in the world who knows a thing or two about cooking. Imagine. Well  according to my friend Jason,  HIS mom makes a mean dish of chow mein that blows the socks off of Chinese restaurant chow mein – that is if chow mein wore socks. Well, fortunately for all of us Jason convinced his mom to cook up a batch. And even more fortunately, he made a video of her doing it so we may all learn how to make this mean dish of chow mein.  I’ll let Jason  do the honors of introducing his mom’s chow mein.  Enjoy!

I luckily grew up in a household with a loving mother who happened to be a great cook.  Lacking her cooking prowess, I finally asked my mom to teach my wife and me how to make one of her best dishes: Chicken Chow Mein.  My mom agreed and showed up to our place ready to cook!  She didn’t know we would be putting her instructions on video and posting it to the rest of the world.  After a few grumbles about her appearance, she agreed to be on camera and started instructing like a pro.

We picked this dish because I have never found Chow Mein like hers.  She uses standard size noodles, but pan fries them until they are crispy.  When the crispy noodles soak in her incredible gravy/sauce, magical things happen.  I am very happy we got her instructions on video and will be shocked if we can ever duplicate what she does so well.

– Jason W.

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Hana’s Healthy Soba

Hana shows this dumpling who's boss

Here’s the latest and greatest from my youngest contributor, four-year old Hana (seen above sampling a dumpling).  This time, she takes on something a little more involved than ants on a log but as usual, she demonstrates her ease and charm in front of the camera as she guides us through the preparation of this healthy and delicious soba.  Me thinks she might have a future in this business.   Enjoy!

-C. Ting

[From Hana (as channeled by her food obsessed mom, Sari)]

Dear Uncle Clarence,

Here is my favorite meal of all time and I video’d myself for you.  I even take my healthy soba to pre-school in my lunch box sometimes.  My friends think “What the hell is that? It kinda stinks…” but I don’t care–it’s goood!  I make it myself and thought you needed my recipe on your website.  I got confused and called the Japanese yam (which my mom thinks is taro in English but maybe not?) many different things.  It’s real name is “tororo” but I said, tororo, totoro and daikon and something else.  They are all white and weird except for Totoro so it’s all the same.

Hope you like it!

–Hana

Hana’s Healthy Soba

Serves 4

1 package Soba (boiled and chilled in ice water)
3 cups Tsuyu (homemade or store-bought)
Grated Yamaimo (“Tororo”/Japanese Mountain Yam – skin peeled, grated)
Natto (2 packages with tsuyu packets mixed in)
3 Japanese Cucumbers (julienned or chopped however you like)
1 cup toasted Sesame Seeds
2 cups dried nori (in thin strips)
Green Onions (thinly sliced)  and Grated Ginger (optional)

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Tim and Zainab’s pork chops and peanut stew

Pork chops + soy sauce, sugar and a few other ingredients = delicious. Right? Well for this Asian brother that’s a no brainer. But what if the equation was tilapia + peanut butter and a bunch of other stuff? Would the sum of those parts still be delicious? Well, click on the photos below for the answer as well as videos and recipes for both dishes. Here’s a hint: Um…. yes.

Nature's Candy

peanut stew? yes.

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