Chicken Fried in Oyster Sauce & Spring Onions - #CookfortheFamily

Friday, July 13, 2012

I was asked recently to help promote a "#CookforFamily" campaign, which will be launched in August. This is to help encourage eating at home as a family.

It was not difficult for me to say yes, as in part, this is what the blog is all about.

I have one wish which has yet to come true: believe it or not, I have always wanted to be a singer.

Yes, I have not dreamed of becoming a preacher or even a cook. But I have wished, again and again, that I could have a great singing voice.

Oh, don't I envy those soloists who could share a song in church to an admiring moved audience. To be a preacher is one thing. But to be a singer, that is quite another.

I really tried, especially in my younger days. I crooned in the bathroom. I researched on ways to improve my vocals. Drink more honey. Sing from your diaphragm. Relax your vocal muscles.

There was a phase when I was vibrating my voice. Joy..ya, ya, ya,ya.

I really thought I sounded better. That was way before karaoke was invented.

At one stage, I even had delusions that if I don't sound well in pop songs, maybe I could go operatic.

"My Prayer" fed this delusion as I tried to mimic Josh Groban. "Let this be our prayer when we lose our way...ay, ay,ay,ay...Sento che ci salverà..ah,ah,ah,ah..."

It did take a while for my wife & girls - who often view my performances as clown acts - to convince me that maybe - just maybe - singing is not my gift. They will say it ever so gently. Ouch.

But the fact is, I still sing.

I have realised for a long while that my singing is best done amongst the audience, not in front of them.

I sing it for the God whom I worship. I sing to encourage those around me when I am in a group. And when I am sincere and my singing carries a message, at times, I seem to have hit some right notes. They may still not admire, but they are blessed by it and that can be good enough.

What has all that to do with cooking? 

You may not be able to cook like restaurant chefs. You envy Gordon Ramsay. Each time Oliver says cooking is easy, you feel like bashing him. And when Yen says it again, "If I can cook, so can...", you change the channel. At this point, watching for the trillionth time folks catching Alaskan crabs in Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel can be more entertaining. At least you know you were watching something which you will never have to emulate.

You envy those Master chefs. In fact, you even envy the Junior Masterchefs. You don't just wish you could cook like them at that age. You wish you could cook like them. Period.

And you get discouraged and think, if I cannot cook like them, why cook?, if you can't sing like Mariah Carey, why sing? Why indeed unless you remind yourself that you can sing and you can cook. Neither a Carey nor a Ramsay, but just you.

In doing so, you bring joy to yourself and those around you. Even if you are no expert chef and perhaps never will be, the fact is, you can whip up a dish or two. You may not be able to sing like a pro, but you will not give up singing as it brings joy to yourself. Likewise, cooking. And more than just occasionally, you make someone else happy. There will be some disasters, but on a whole, eating at home, what you have cooked is a blessing to someone else.

And if that someone is your family, why not?  When my Mum was alive, the highlight of the week were those Sunday dinners. The family gathers around. What can bring more joy than family and good friends gathering over a meal? In fact, the Bible says that this is one thing we will do in eternity - a banquet!

After she passed away, as I have shared elsewhere, I resumed cooking in earnest to keep this tradition alive - eating regularly with my family.

Are you convinced yet?

Perhaps some "101" dishes here can inspire you. Basic as they may be, they can be delicious. I am aware that many recipes here may be too complicated for the occasional cook. That said, a good number of dishes here can be made by most.

I add another one here: Chicken fried in Oyster Sauce & Spring Onions.

I will normally use the wok to do this. If you have a claypot, why not use it? Here is the simple recipe:

Chicken Fried in Oyster Sauce & Spring Onions Recipe
To serve 3-4

Spring onions stalks and ginger slices
Preparation & mise en place
Half a chicken
2 inches of ginger
2t chopped garlic
1T dark thick sauce
3T cooking oil
2T chinese wine.
some spring onions

Marinade2T of oyster sauce
1t of dark sauce
2t of light soy sauce
1t of sugar
1t sesame oil
1t corn flour
100 ml of water

1. Chopped the chicken into small pieces
2. Marinade the chicken for an hour.
3. Sliced the ginger thinly.
4. Cut the spring onions in lengths of about an inch.

1. Heat up a claypot in small fire.
2. Add the cooking oil and when it is heated, add the sliced ginger. Stir.
3. Add the garlic. Stir and ensure that it is not burned.
4. Add the chicken meat and stir.
5. Then pour in the rest of the marinade.
6. Cover the claypot and cook for 12 minutes.
7. Open the pot and add dashes of Chinese wine and stir in the spring onions just before you serve.

Serve the pot on your dining table.

Optional: Add shitake mushrooms.
Almost finishing
We had it with rice and miso soup. A simple and delicious meal. 

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  1. You helped me put a missing piece of the puzzle into place. THANK YOU!

  2. This is really nice post for those who are new in cooking industry and want to learn lots of things. I like your way of cooking and how you bring new innovations for your cooking style.