The theme for this month’s Random Recipe Challenge hosted by Belleau Kitchen is “My Christmas Gift.” Essentially, we have to pick a random recipe from a cookbook we received as a present last Christmas.
Now I didn’t actually get given any cookbooks last Christmas *sniff* but I did buy myself one in the form of the catchily titled “Masterchef Australia The Cookbook: Volume Two.” I bought it because last December I went to a cookery demo by Masterchef Australia contestant Alvin Quah. In case you haven’t seen the series, this is a picture of lovely, smiley Alvin and, look, he signed my book:
For my random recipe I just happened to pick the very dish Alvin cooked at the demo: his drunken chicken and bruised salad. Before accusations of cheating start flying around, this honestly was the page that the book fell open at. Plus I am not usually this lucky with my picks (see my post on Tourte de Blettes if you want proof!)
So I have tasted this dish before but then I kind of haven’t. See I made a right ‘nana of myself in front of Alvin by eating what I thought was a snake bean which actually turned out to be a whole birds eye chilli! So I had no concept of the flavours of this dish as my palate was completely stripped raw by intense, chilli heat. I tried to style it out but that’s hard to do when tears are pricking at your eyelids and you’ve turned beet red! If Alvin noticed, he was a gentleman and didn’t say anything.
It’s a shame I didn’t get to appreciate the dish first time around as having cooked it again for Random Recipes, I can confirm it’s an absolute stunner. Succulent poached chicken, a piquant salad and an aromatic, Asian broth. No wonder the Masterchef judges raved about it. It is so amazingly tasty and fresh; I could happily eat this every day of the week.
Alvin’s recipe contains a lot of specialist Asian ingredients so I ended up having to improvise a fair bit. The alterations I made are listed below:
- For two people, I used two bone-in chicken breasts and a quarter of the quantity of ingredients listed for the broth.
- I substituted ordinary common-or-garden caster sugar for the palm sugar. I found I needed to add more than the stated quantity of sugar to get the balance of flavours right.
- Due to a store cupboard fail, I ended up substituting 2 tbsp of peanut butter for the roasted peanuts. I also used a teaspoon of shrimp paste in place of the dried shrimp.
- I left out the cucumber for no other reason than I hate cucumbers! I substituted snake beans for ordinary green beans and I replaced the birds-eye chillies with one chopped and deseeded mild red chilli to avoid a repeat of the aforementioned incident!
You can find Alvin’s original recipe here in all its glory.