My cooking is greatly influenced by Filipino cuisine, in which meats are stewed for hours and vegetables are frequently overcooked to a soft mush. A lot of it is done the previous night and reheated, finished or broiled the following day, a practice that requires a lot of planning and makes spontaneous meal options impossible, and cooking small batches a waste of my time.
For quick meals we have relied on the quickness of fish and salads, tacos and wraps, protein sources that need only a little cooking and some assembly for a tasty meal.
|Chicken with Nasi Goreng Paste, Sauteed bokchoy on the side.|
So I’m very happy to be recently leaning towards a happy medium in my cooking, one that is not too slow or too fast (i.e., often cold), which focuses on simple flavors and limited ingredients, with a preparation time of thirty minutes or so.
I wanted to make something similar to my simple chicken curry, but didn’t want to bend over backwards buying ingredients I didn’t already have. Then I remembered that I had a jar of Nasi Goreng Paste lying around. It is a mix of peppers, tomatoes and spices used to flavor fried rice in Indonesian cooking. I’ve had it for a while but never found the time to learn how to make Nasi Goreng. So I decided to experiment and see how the paste would fare as a flavor base for another quick chicken stew.
I began by smothering four chicken pieces in two tablespoons of nasi goreng paste.
I seared them on both sides in a hot pan.
Then I added a whole sliced onion.
Poured in a quarter cup of water, juice from one lemon, and and simmered it covered for 30 minutes.
The sauce becomes rich and thick as the chicken cooks.
I mixed in a handful of cilantro leaves.
And served it with some sautéed bokchoy.
I enjoyed the heat and boldness of this dish, which complemented the crunch and simplicity of the bokchoy. The trick to cooking meats without marinating often lies in serving it with a flavorful sauce. The chicken turned out soft, moist and flavorful. The onions were a good texture companion to the dish.
Chicken with Nasi Goreng Paste
4 chicken pieces
2 tablespoons Nasi Goreng paste (available at Asian food stores)
juice of one lemon
1 whole onion, sliced into rings
1 handful washed cilantro leaves
Smother chicken in paste then sear in a hot pan with oil. Add onions, 1/4 cup water and lemon juice and cover, simmering for 30 minutes on low heat. Add cilantro leaves and mix well. Serve with a vegetable side and rice.