I was surprised one rainy day a couple of weeks ago when I saw a package at my doorstep. The package was drenched in the rain, the sender's name was unreadable. I tore open the package, and lo and behold I saw a cookbook called Momofuku.... with it came a note that said:
I thought about you when I saw this cookbook. The author not only shares his recipe but also his life story.
I hope this will inspire you to create more oh-so-delish dishes. Good luck on your catering business.
I have known my old friend Laura since high school. I reconnected with her just recently (as commonly seen with other people my age - through Facebook) after almost 2 decades of not communicating with each other. Now we talk on the phone, chat online, email each other regularly. It's like we didn't skip a beat being close to one another, our friendship is still there, despite not keeping in touch for almost 20 years.
When I see a handwritten note from an old friend, emotions creep in... her familiar handwriting transported me back in time: about the high school that we both went to, about our friendship, and about the eighties. Pictures of our blue and white school uniform flashed before my eyes, and yes, the oh-so-awful 80's fashion statement: the bulging shoulder pads and the stick up bangs! Scenes from the past came rambling through my mind. So I picked up the phone and called her up, and as she answered it was as if we were on a time machine, reminiscing about high school, our giggles in the corridors, the songs and dance steps we used to share and how much we loved to hang out. Memories of our good relationship made us realize why we didn't get in touch much earlier. 20 years? But yeah no matter how long time set us apart, reconnecting was a natural thing to do because of the bond we had in the past.
I told her how much I appreciate receiving a cookbook from her, much more about the note she had written. She shared with me how much she enjoys my blog, and because of it she's learning how to cook... a very good reason for us to reconnect. And as we plan on how we could meet up, I can't help but feel excited about our newly restored friendship. Just like that fateful day more than 25 years ago, when we first became friends in high school, as she invited me to watch the movie E.T. (the betamax version) at her home.
So Laura this recipe is for you:
Roasted Chicken ala Francis (Lechon Manok)
(Francis C. is an old friend from my hometown. She asked me to try sinigang mix as a rub to roast chicken. Sinigang Mix is a tamarind flavored souring agent that comes in powder form. It's traditionally used to make sour soup, so I was intrigued. But alas what a discovery, and thank you Francis! It has been a favorite ever since. It's so convenient. I didn't have to add any other seasoning... and as a bonus, you could buy the mix in my neighborhood grocery store like Ralph's and Vons!!)
This recipe is under the category: I can't believe it's that easy recipe:
A Whole Chicken
1 whole garlic sliced in the middle
As I've said, this is under the category I can't believe it's that easy recipe, so let me deliver the promise...haha! So let's begin.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Meanwhile, thoroughly wash the chicken. Pat it dry with a paper towel. Rub the outside of the chicken with a generous amount of the tamarind mix.
Add the lemon wedges, garlic and more tamarind mix into the cavity of the chicken. This will add more kick into the dish.
Slip more of the mix under the skin. You need some TLC while rubbing it under the skin, you don't want the skin to tear. Doing this will give you the desired sourness and will keep the meat moist.
Some tie or truss the chicken but for me that's way too complicated. Bake it breast side up, by doing so, it traps all the juices in.
I initially put the temperature at 450 degrees F for about 20 minutes. This will give a nice brown color and crispyness to the skin. Then reduce temp to 350-375 degrees F. Standard cooking time is usually 30 minutes per pound but ovens vary so be cautious. You don't want to have an overbaked chicken as it will be so dry. You know it's cooked when: the skin should be golden brown, and the liquid that runs through should be clear. To avoid guess work stick to what your thermometer reads. If it reads 170 -180 degrees internal temperature, you're good to go.
Rest the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes, backside up. All those trapped juices will find its way to moisten the breast giving a full flavor to every part of the chicken!
For sauce and dippings: Get soy sauce and squeeze some lemon into it. Add a little sugar and crushed garlic. Mix it altogether, and enjoy!