Monday, 27 October 2014

Mad Cooking 2 : The Kebab That Wasn't


It's Monday folks and let's have a laugh at PH's latest kitchen disaster! An episode arising from her insistence on saving some not-so-fresh chicken fillet. Take it away, PH!

Waste not want not. I am referring to the frozen chicken fillet lying in the freezer. I had stocked up on these because they are very convenient to use whenever I want to fry some noodles or rice for my partner. But last weekend he complained that the chicken was "powdery". Oh dear.



That would mean that the chicken had been in the freezer for far too long. I have this bad habit of overstocking and sometimes lose track. I must conduct a stock check more often. There's no way I was going to throw the chicken away as it is still edible, though not in prime condition. So what shall I do?

This is where Mad Cooking comes into play. Welcome to the second installment of PH's Mad Cooking. Where I simply chuck stuff into the mixing bowl and don't give a heck what would happen. No recipes, no rules, no stress.

It was Deepavali and I was rolling happily in the house. I took the frozen chicken fillet out from the freezer to defrost.


Seeing that I still had some satay skewers leftover from a previous project, I decided to make some kind of chicken kebab hah..hah.. (what a laugh, you'll see why later). I sure wasn't going to Google any recipes as this would be too stressful. Besides I may not have some of the ingredients required.

Then I remembered the nice marinade I used when I made Grilled Lemongrass Prawns. Though I did not have lemongrass in the pantry, I knew I had some in the garden. Or so I thought. This was what became of my lemongrass.

Dead lemongrass.

Looks like I had to find a substitute. OK, I'll just use kaffir lime leaves. Yes, my kaffir lime plant is still alive, thank you. After plucking 3 leaves, I checked out what else I could get. In spite of the grim fate suffered by the lemongrass, there was still a spot of hope.


I found a green pepper. It's small but usable. And then there were some cherry tomatoes.


You see, I am not such a bad gardener after all. Back in the kitchen, I sliced the kaffir lime leaves and mixed it with the other ingredients - curry powder, maple syrup (in place of honey), sliced onions, oil and fish sauce. If you think the marinade is weird, it is. But it worked with the Lemongrass Grilled Prawns.


The marinade was dry but I knew that as soon as I put the chicken in there, there will be enough moisture.


As I have seen in photos of kebabs, vegetable are also threaded on the skewers along with meat. But I had so little vegetables and can't do that for all my skewered chicken.

My puny harvest.

I did not cut the fillets into smaller pieces and instead threaded whole pieces as it were. Quite an easy task.


Then I heated the grill and grilled the so-called chicken kebabs in two batches. I basted with oil before grilling and I did not have high hopes. Whatever will be will be.


What came out of the grill looked good and smelt good. But looks can be deceiving. I expected the meat to be dry and due to the lack of lemongrass, tastewise it would fall short. And I was right. It was very difficult to eat. And I was hungry. When faced with such a predicament, sweet chilli sauce comes to the rescue. It made it bearable and raw onion slices improved the flavor.

Susah nak telan. Sos cili kasi.

If I see any comments gushing "PH, your chicken kebabs are so delicious!", you are clearly not paying attention. These chicken kebabs tanked big time. Not surprising since this is Mad Cooking. You reap what you sow and therefore you eat what you cook. Waste not want not. The End.

50 comments:

  1. No green fingers for me, you won't see me having green pepper or tomatoes....

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    1. Don't worry, Sharon. My garden don't really produce much vege. Mostly weeds LOL!

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  2. They look so good!!! With all the ingredients you used, I bet they tasted awesome...despite all that you said about it. I would not want to try though - looks like a lot of work, me so lazy! LOL!!!

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    1. It should taste good but the chicken was dry. Maybe I overcooked it. I actually want to re-attempt but using meat from the thighs. And I'll have to buy lemongrass :)

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  3. Good morning.. I agree with STP, they still look (so so so) good, really.. I'm imagining eating these kebabs with loads and loads of sour cream, or mint yogurt sauce.. Those chicken fillets in your picture look very fresh though, like freshly bought from the wet market leh.. I'm not a good cook like you.. If I have leftover frozen chicken/meat like you, I'd dump it in the pot with my ABC soup, together with my usualy chicken carcass and potatoes and carrots and all..

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    1. Hi Louiz! I should have done something else with the chicken. Maybe cook "kai teng" or some other stir-fry. But I was feeling adventurous. It smelt and looked good but too bad didn't taste good :(

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  4. Isnt it good some of the ingredients for this dish came from your garden? I bet it makes this kebabs looks extra delicious....green pepper makes it more flavourful, right?

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    1. Mel, my garden ingredients was not enough hah..hah... and the green peppers tasted nice but not the chicken LOL!

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  5. It's indeed looks good. Well done !

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    1. No, Chris. Not well done, it was lousy hah..hah...

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  6. Hi Phong Hong,
    Oh my, regardless of how the chicken tastes, your kebabs looks good! You are so funny, making me grin early Monday morning!
    Your tomatoes are wonderful! And your little green pepper is so cute! My green pepper plant has died, will have to try again. You have green fingers!
    I quit growing lemongrass!
    And glad to know that your sprouted spring onions are doing great! wink!

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    1. Hi Joyce! hah..hah...nice to look at but not nice to eat! Must try your Chicken Skewers - now that one is delicious! My tomato plant is dying off and I don't think I want to plant anymore hah..hah...The green peppers are still producing. They do a lot better than chilli plants. Oh well, I'll have to wait till I retire to devote more time to the garden :)

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  7. Ph, your kebabs looks so delicious, yum yum! and so envy you can go your garden to pluck the herbs or veggie u wan, wish I can have a garden too heeheehee

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    1. Jess, the kebabs not nice but the vege tasted good hah..hah....

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  8. Replies
    1. Looks divine but taste like hell LOL!

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  9. "You see, I am not such a bad gardener after all".. wah, you have got so much of things you can use in your garden!! not just "not bad" but you certainly have green fingers!! look at the capsicum and the tomatoes, they look nice and if you harvest them and put them into your dishes, they are probably a lot healthier than what you bought from outside..

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    1. But the harvest is so little. Maybe needs more fertilizer :)

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  10. i love this chicken kebabs!! aiyoh, so delicious looking and perfectly grilled.. a little burnt at some corners but hey, that's the beauty of it, if you have a perfect color without burnt at all, then i will suspect how you cooked it, haha!! and i like how you skewed the capsicum and tomatoes together and pop them into the oven, the veggie are even nicer after grilled..

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    1. SK, the kebabs only look good but taste is bleahks!! In fact it was the veges that tasted good instead.

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  11. Your kebabs may not have turned out the way you wanted them to....but at least your homegrown green peppers and cherry tomatoes look really good :D

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    1. Thanks! The peppers and tomatoes tasted good :)

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  12. Okay, I will not say your kebabs look delicious. I would just say most of the shops selling kebabs here tank big time as well..
    "You reap what you sow and you eat what you cook" - too bloody right!

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  13. Hi Phong Hong, if you don't share your story, the grilled chicken looks good. Try another with fresh chicken meat and see what happens next. Good Luck my friend.

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    1. Kimmy, I intend to try this again - with thigh meat and make sure got lemongrass. Must redeem myself hah..hah...

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  14. But anything can taste good when one is super hungry! LOL

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  15. No worries PH... I have paid attention and I still wanna say they look good for a kebab! :)

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    1. Claire, agree they look good. So deceiving!

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  16. Honestly, your kebab looks so good for me!
    (^_^)

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    1. Thanks but they taste lousy hah..hah....

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  17. Phong Hong, I laughed at the 'dead lemongrass' plant ... but you've harvested good capsicum and tomatoes ya. Your kebab looks abit dry but oversll threaded with veggie looks good.

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  18. If there is anything good that came out of it, it will have to be this very interesting post. Thank you!

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    1. You are right, need a laugh once in a while :D

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  19. Chicken fillets are from the breast meat and most people would say breast meat are dry. If it is powdery like your partner says then would turning them into minced chicken meat better?

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    1. Mun, you could be right but I don't have a mincer. I should have just stir fried them with vegetables.

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  20. Phong Hong, Sedap dan lazat! Jom makan, haha...

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    1. Esther, ini tak sedap lah....banyak kering LOL!

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  21. Hahaha, I won't say delicious this time since you already warned us earlier haha but eating with the chilli sauce shouldn't be too bad. Just curious, did you use corn flour to lock in the flavour? My experience is after rubbing the paste to the meat, the last step that should not be overlooked is to put enough corn flour in the marinade, then, rub the same marinade on the meat again. Why doing in 2 different steps, why not putting the corn flour earlier? Reason is first have to let the meat to sip in the marinade first, for chicken, i normally prick on the meat slightly, then cover with marinade. After a while,add in corn flour, this is to lock in the flavour but also make the meat to remain soft & moist. Yesterday i did the same way for my chicken drumsticks to cook rice porridge, after an hour of boiling, my meat was still super smooth like bb skin. Try it, hehe.

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    1. Hi Jessie! I did not know that we can use cornflour if we are doing grilling. I usually use cornflour for stir fries. If like that, then next time I will do your method. Thanks for sharing the secret with me hee..hee,,,

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  22. Hi Phong Hong,
    You are so cute! Making me laughing reading your Mad cooking episode 2. Now I'm looking forward for the 3rd episode...Hee Hee
    I love your green bell pepper. I started to plant some herbs too. My lemongrass, curry leaves and blue ginger grow well but my rosemary and basil died last 2 week :(
    Looking at your chicken kebab it is sure delicious. But....
    I normally will add some corn flour to marinate the chicken breast. It makes the chicken moist and tender after cooking. Like Jessie mention try it..you might like it :)
    mui

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    1. Hi mui mui! hee..hee... Glad to know that you also plant vege in your garden. My rosemary also died long time ago hah..hah... OK, I will try adding cornflour in my next attempt. Thanks for the tip!

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  23. Hi Phong Hong...

    Kalau I cakap your kebab looks delicious, nanti you kata I tak pay attention. Tapi memang nampak sedap pun. Plus your 'powdery' chicken doesn't look like one dalam gambar ni! Camera trick eh? Hahaha....

    Eh, your lemongrass in the pot looks like mine la! Hahahahahaa.... Tapi rumah I tak ada tanam tomato or capsicum tu. Agak-agak kalau I tanam, dia jadi sama nasib dengan that lemongrass tak? :D

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    1. Hi MamaFaMi! hee..hee..cantik dipandang tapi tak sedap dimakan....Don't worry, I will try this recipe again. This time buat betul-betul bukan gila-gila.

      My vegetables are suffering lah because I don't have much time to tend to them. That's why lah the lemongrass kojol I pun tak sedar until that day :(

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