Saturday, 27 December 2014

A cook-off with a twist (Philips)

Glorious food.
Food is one of the basic needs for human survival but over time, especially in the presentation of food, it has turned into an art. Preparing food is no longer about filling an empty tummy. It has evolved and ways to cook, while maintaining its nutrients has became an integral part in the art of preparing food. 

Just a couple of weeks back, I was invited to join Philips and their ambassador Chef Zam, at his culinary school in Klang Valley. A crash course on Christmas/holiday Cooking with Philips & Chef Zam, was a wonderful experience that taught me some useful tricks in whipping up a gourmet meal in a fraction of time and effort.

Chef Zamzani Abdul Wahab, a Malaysian celebrity chef together with Philips, have been working closely over the last 5 years to come up with uncomplicated, easy to follow and budget recipes. With one objective, to prepare healthy food conveniently so households can reduce their reliance from takeaways, dining out or boxed meals. They truly are advocating that Anyone Can Cook.

The (four) recipes, daunting at the beginning, proved to be simple and manageable. I am not a big fan of long lists of ingredients because of the work involved in prepping them but with the help of some ingenious kitchen gadgets, a full course meal that had not one but two scrumptious desserts was ready within two hours! Now that's a bargain and wait till you see what I dished out.

Whenever I prepare for feast, I like to start with the dessert, so that I can forget about it until just minutes before serving it. But for this cook-off, we started off with the main course under the watchful eyes of Chef Zam. He gave valuable inputs while he was demonstrating how to prepare the recipes. After which, I was teamed up with another participant and we had to replicate his recipes.

Recipe One 
Ayam Percik,
hails from Kelantan (East Malaysia) and the chicken is traditionally grilled over wood-fire while being basted in a sweet coconut gravy (the sauce). It's usually served with white rice during family feasts.

Although ayam percik is not something you would normally see for Christmas, Chef Zam thought it would be fitting to make ayam percik because a whole turkey can't possibly fit into an Airfryer.

For sauce (Ingredients A):
5 cloves of red garlic
1 clove of white garlic
½ inch ginger
(above ingredients to be blended)
2 cups of thick coconut cream (santan)
¼ tbsp of fenugreek (halba)
1 piece of dried tamarind (asam keping)
1" cube of shrimp paste (Belacan)
Salt to taste
½ cup of water
Cooking oil for sauté

Marinating the Chicken (Ingredients B):
1 whole chicken (about 1-1 1/2 kg, any bigger may not fit the Airfryer
4 cloves of red onions
1 clove of white onion
1 inch ginger
2-3 lemongrass (serai) stalk
(above ingredients to be blended)
2-3 tbsp red chili paste 
½ tbsp coriander powder
½ tbsp cumin powder
1-2 tbsp. turmeric powder
Salt and sugar for taste
Instructions for the marinate:

Blend all ingredients that's marked to be blended, from list A & B together
For the longevity of your blender and to get a smoother marinate paste, it is best to chop up the lemongrass stalks

Add just a dash of water to blend it into a smooth and thick paste.

Then transfer the blended ingredients into a bowl of red chili paste and add the rest of the ingredients from list B. Mix well and season with salt and sugar for taste. If you like heat, you may add more red chili paste at this point.

Use half to three quarters of the marinate to massage the chicken well, cling wrap it and refrigerate it for 20 minutes. According to Chef Zam, 20 minutes is the maximum time needed for a marinate to work its magic.

Instructions for the sauce:

Coconut cream (santan)
Shrimp paste (Belacan)
Fenugreek (halba)

To prepare the sweet coconut sauce, start by transferring the remainder of the marinate into a heavy bottomed pan, add coconut cream, water and the rest of the ingredients listed in list A. Heat over low heat until it thickens or reduces in amount. It might take about 20 minutes.

While waiting for the sauce to thicken, heat up Philips Air Fryer with the Double-Layer Tray for 5 minutes at 180'C. Transfer the chicken into the fryer and bake it for 10-15 minutes

Once the sauce has thickened, baste the chicken, a couple of times with until the chicken turns golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
To serve, you may want to pour the remaining sauce over the chicken or save in a serving bowl and let you guess take as much sauce as they like.

This dish took about 30 minutes to prepare.
The next dish made was Chicken Risotto, Cretan Kalitsounia and Banana Nutella Spring Rolls. For full recipe and picture tutorial on how to make these wonderful and very Christmas-y dishes, go to my recipe page.
Creamy Chicken Risotto

Yummy hard to resist Cretan Kalitsounia and Banana Nutella Spring Rolls
Disclousure: I was not paid to write this review but did receive a small gift from Philips for attending it.

For more recipes head over to my Recipes Page
Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts
and stay connected

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