Lime Chicken & Rice with Kale

When my mom went over to Melbourne, Australia for a little holiday and asked me what I’d like her to bring back, I didn’t say Tim Tam, Vegemite or lamingtons (though she did bring back 2 out of those 3 things. Can you guess?)… I asked for kale. And then she asked me what’s kah-il. To which I extolled its life-giving properties and corrected her pronunciation. Cos that’s what daughters do, right?

When she went shopping, I was told, my uncle (I’ve got family there) asked her why she was buying veggies to bring home. Of course her response was, “Because girl asked for this supposedly hard-to-find veggie.” Yes, my parents call me “Girl”. Because they couldn’t think of a name for me for the longest time after I was born and the creative nickname stuck. But I digress. Also, I’m not writing in full sentences today… I think my brain is not functioning too well at this hour.

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Back to the kale story. She brought it back (no small feat with hand carry and all that check-in luggage! Thanks Mom!), trimmed the hard stems and kept it in her fridge for a week before I got to meet her. And if you know kale, especially these curly variety, they take up space. Thankfully being winter veggies, they’re super versatile! I froze 1 of the 2 packets she brought and after thawing, they were good as new… as though never frozen at all. Still crunchy, green and did not turn watery, although they did get the tiniest bit softer. Recipe of that coming up soon! Amazing vegetable to have on hand if possible. I’m so sad now because I’ve finished everything and have no luck getting some though good Instagram buddies have told me where to find them here. Bet they’ll cost an arm or a foot.

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It seems fair to turn it to a hearty one pot meal. Kale with chicken & rice? Even better!
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Browning the meat lends a richer flavour to the rice. And plenty of oil splatters. But it’s all worth it, I tell you.
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I used a paper towel to soak up most of that oil because greasy food isn’t pretty. Also, since I used boneless chicken thighs, it’s plenty oily already so better drain most of the oil off. More fat will be rendered as the chicken cooks later.
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Lime zest, turmeric & cumin. That makes this seemingly basic dish even more delicious. Also, you can appear really initiated in culinary arts when you throw spices into stuff. Try it some time. ;-)
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Looks like a lot? Fear not! These wilt down to nothing in a minute.
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I used a mix of Jasmine & Red rice for extra fibre (who doesn’t need more fibre in their life?) & colour.
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Chicken goes back in to finish cooking and give off even more flavour to the rice.
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I could have removed the skin before this but.. would you?
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Plenty of lime juice to top!
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Rice perfectly fluffy & chicken nicely tender.
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The kale looks a little yellow but that’s because of the turmeric. If you want your kale to remain green, toss it in the cooked rice and cover to let it wilt in residual heat. I’ll definitely do that next time!
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That’s a dish for entertaining, I tell ya.
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I think I did kale justice, no?

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“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” {Jeremiah 23:5}

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Lime Chicken & Rice with Kale
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless Chicken Drumsticks
  • Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 medium Yellow Onions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp ground Turmeric
  • 2 tsp zest & 1 tbsp fresh juice from 2 Limes (I used Kaffir Limes)
  • 1 bunch Curly Kale, thick stems removed & leaves roughly torn (about 4 cups)
  • 3 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium Chicken Stock (I used a mix of Anchovy Broth & Water)
  • 1 ½ cups basmati or long-grain white Rice (I used a mix of Jasmine & Red)
  • Optional toppings: sliced Cherry Tomatoes, Coriander, Lime slices
Steps
  1. Season the chicken on all sides with salt & pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until lightly smoking.
  3. Add the chicken & cook until well-browned on first side, about 2-3 minutes, then turn & cook until browned on the second side. Remove with tongs & set aside.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium. Drain oil but leave about 1 tbsp in.
  5. Add the sliced onions, stirring so they don’t burn, until just softened, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the cumin, lime zest & turmeric. Stir until fragrant, another 30 seconds.
  7. Stir in the kale**, then add the broth & rice. Stir together.
  8. Lay the chicken carefully on top & adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  9. Cover & cook until the chicken & rice are done, 15 to 20 minutes. The broth would have been all absorbed. Turn off flames & leave untouched for about 15 minutes to allow steam to release.
  10. Sprinkle with the lime juice & serve.
Notes
** if you want the kale to remain very green, tear leaves smaller & stir in just as rice is cooked. Cover & let residual heat to wilt the leaves & then serve.

Recipe adapted from: Yasmin Fahr at Serious Eats

Banana Chiffon Cake

It has been probably over 10 years since I made my last chiffon cake. Fluffy soft sponges, these were one of those beginner’s luck recipes I made… then boom. Nope. I made banana chiffon cake successfully about twice. And then I tried changing it up to orange. Failure. Back to banana. Failure. And I never made another chiffon cake since then.

Perhaps I feel a bit more confident with my baking skills a decade on. Or maybe it’s been the hundreds of Instagram pictures of chiffon cakes enticing me for the past year. Sigh. The last hint I needed to make these cakes was…. *drum roll*… dying bananas on the counter. Yup yup. It has happened again. Like countless times before. This time, fruit flies invited themselves to the party.

Really, this cake didn’t take too many out-of-the-ordinary ingredients.
Banana Chiffon Cake 1

In the sugar department, I chose to use palm sugar or gula melaka as we have it here. And these are the most authentic gula melaka we can get from Malacca itself. I was told that supermarket palm sugar tends to be rock hard because it’s made of cane sugar instead of actual palm nectar. Authentic palm sugar crumbles easily even right out of the fridge.
Banana Chiffon Cake 2

Lots of mashing & mixing.
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I never sift flour for baking but for this, I would advise doing it to maintain as much air & fluff.
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The banana-yolk mixture done, time to move on to the whites.
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Yup, so I started on this recipe before realizing I didn’t have cream of tartar. Fortunately, I discovered that white vinegar works just as well. 
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I learnt that it’s important to whisk in 1/3 of the whipped whites to loosen up the thick banana batter before folding in the rest. My mistake from past chiffon cake disappointments was because I tried to fold in ALL the beaten whites in. Because the banana batter was so thick, I over folded everything & hence knocked out too much air from the batter. Leading to a deflated cake & deflated self esteem. Heh.
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Look how fluffy the batter is!!!
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Batter poured into the tube pan carefully… even though you’d note I spilled some on the inner ring. Yeah. Dexterity ≠ me.
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After a long and slow baking, the most important step in this process is to remove the cake right out of the oven & immediately cool it inverted. I used a metal thermos flask & left it that way overnight.
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Another potential point of failure in preparing this cake is tearing it to crumbs while removing it from the pan. Because we cannot oil the pan prior to baking (as much cling to the pan as possible is needed to ensure the cake can climb to its full height in the oven), the cake naturally sticks to the sides & bottom of the pan. I ran my silicone spatula all around the outer & inner ring as well as the removable bottom. Then carefully lifted it out of the pan onto the plate as gently as humanly possible.
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Cross section did not disappoint.
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The cake is properly fluffy & airy from the well whipped egg whites.
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Because of the mashed bananas, this chiffon cake is not as soft as regular chiffon cakes. However, as far as banana cakes & breads go, this will definitely be the softest banana cake you’ll ever have. I assure you of that. :-)
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No frosting needed at all aside from a little dusting of powdered sugar.
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Plus, the wonderful nutty aroma of palm sugar shines through better without the thick layer of unnecessary frosting that most people scrape off anyway. Well, I scrape frosting off since I never did like teeth-numbingly sugary things.
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I’m back on the chiffon cake trail. I’m so back. ;-)

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“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.” {Isaiah 12:2}

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Banana Chiffon Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 5 large room temperature Eggs, separated
  • 2¼ cup Flour, sifted
  • 1½ cup grated Palm Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
  • ⅓ cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 1 cup mashed ripe Banana (about 3 medium)
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
Steps
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon powder & salt.
  2. In a bowl, stir together mashed bananas & palm sugar. Whisk in the egg yolks, oil & milk.
  3. Add to dry ingredients. Beat until well blended.
  4. In another large bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites & vinegar on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  5. Whisk ⅓ beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture. Fold in the rest of the whites.
  6. Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets.
  7. Bake on lowest rack at 325F or 160C for 60-65 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
  8. Immediately invert baking pan & cool completely.
  9. Run a silicone spatula around sides and center tube of pan. Invert cake onto serving plate.
  10. Dust top with a little powdered sugar. Slice & serve!

 

Recipe adapted from: Wives With Knives