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Easy Asian Dishes for Beginners, Part I

Credit: Pexels Edited by A. Azizi

Culture Editor Ally Azyan shares her recipes for easy Asian dishes.

Before I started university, I was too afraid of being near a stove and I would cower behind my mum each time the oil spat at us. Fast forward a year and a half later, I’m known as the MasterChef among my friends and they’re always begging to dine at Chez Ally.

So, naturally, I knew that I had to share my recipes and combinations with the public (thanks mum for the tips and lessons!). While these dishes are easy to cook, the ingredients are harder to get, but thankfully I’ve been saved by two online supermarkets (MaiFresh and Thai Food Online) which sell all the required ingredients.

Before I begin, I would like to say that although it’s not necessary, I recommend that you invest in a wok (it can be purchased for about £10 on Amazon) because it’ll make things easier and more flexible. I also have to warn you that I don’t have the exact measurements for every ingredient, because in Malaysia we agak-agak (estimate) them. Not everything will taste delicious if you always do it by the book.

Let’s start with the easiest!

You’re going to laugh at me, but it’s probably one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten in my life: Thai-style fried omelette with rice and cili padi (bird’s eye chilli) drowned in sweet soy sauce.

You’ll need:

2 Eggs,
3 Cili padi (you should buy them from either of the above Asian supermarkets, because local supermarkets overprice them, ugh),
1 Tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (ABC Kicap Manis),
Salt,
and as much rice as you want.

Steps:

    1. Cook your rice; as you prepare your omelette, your rice should be cooking.
    2. Crack the two eggs, beat them and add some salt.
    3. Firstly, you should pour a lot of oil (vegetable or sunflower are the best, and for God’s sake, no olive oil) into your pan or wok. The oil should be an inch up from the base of your pan / wok.
    4. Heat the oil until you see steam coming up; if you’re still unsure, you can dip the rear end of a wooden spoon and if there are bubbles surrounding it, that means your oil is hot enough.
    5. While waiting for your oil to heat up, chop your cili padi and place them on your plate. Then, pour some soy sauce over it and kacau (stir) the two ingredients with a teaspoon.
    6. Once your oil is ready, pour the eggs into the pan / wok and watch it sizzle. It’s literally the most satisfying thing to watch.

      Step 6 should look something like this

    7. Over the next few minutes, you should flip your egg every 30 seconds and wait for the omelette to brown (don’t let it burn!).
    8. Place that beautiful omelette onto your plate. Hopefully, your rice should be cooked by then and you can scoop some of that onto the dish.
    9. Et voilà , that’s your simple and fulfilling meal which should take about 10 minutes to prepare and cook.
Ayam Goreng Kunyit (Chicken Fried in Turmeric)

Ayam Goreng Kunyit

This is a childhood favourite. My mum used to cook it on lazy days with leftover chicken breast fillet and it tasted absolutely divine. This dish takes a little longer to cook about 30 to 40 minutes – but it is worth every second. A Thai-style omelette would be a lovely accompaniment, but it might take too much work. If you have the time, do try them together!

You’ll need:

6 Garlic cloves,
2 Onion shallots,
1 Large red chilli (can be found here),
2 Cili padi,
1 Chicken breast fillet,
Turmeric powder,
Salt,
And of course, hot rice.

Preparation:

    1. Peel and chop the garlic cloves and shallots into halves.
    2. For the red chilli and cili padi, remove their stems.
      • You can leave the cili padi as it is.
      • The red chilli should be cut into smaller pieces.
    3. Chop the chicken breast fillet into really thin and small pieces. This way, there will be more flavour in them!
    4. Once you’re done cutting your chicken, marinate them in salt first, then turmeric powder. You should use loads of turmeric powder: the chicken pieces need to be completely covered in them.
    5. Yes, you should also start cooking your rice.

Steps:

    1. Again, pour loads of oil into your pan/wok (an inch up from the base) and wait for the oil to heat up (refer to steps 3 and 4 of the preceding recipe).
    2. Add your marinated chicken into the pan/wok and wait for it to cook. The surface of the chicken should brown which indicates that it’s well done.
    3. Take the chicken out of the pan/wok and allow them to cool off on a plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb the oil.
    4. While your chicken cools off, add garlic, shallots, red chilli and cili padi into the pan/wok (with the oil still in it obviously!) and allow them to cook. You can tell that they’re ready once your garlic looks crispy and slightly weathered.
      • To make it tastier, you should add some turmeric powder into the oil.
    5. Add your chicken back into the pan/wok and kacau them with the vegetables. Do this for about 2-3 minutes.
    6. Pour your food into a bowl. You should even pour some of the oil in; it adds that extra kick into the taste.
    7. Finally, scoop some rice onto a plate and present that dish to your hungry friends and family.

And there you have it! I hope this turns out well for you, and if it doesn’t, well then, I’m sorry. You’re just not cut out for cooking, so you should get someone else to cook this for you.

Tune in for Part II next time!

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