Chicken salad with jellyfish
Vietnamese salads are typically fresh and light, combining sweet, spicy and sour elements with fragrant herbs and crunchy toppings. The classic Vietnamese chicken salad (gi gà) has long been an Australian favourite and here we share Luke Nguyen’s version, inspired by his travels along the coastal regions of Vietnam, in particular Nha Trang, where both fresh and dried jellyfish are used widely in cooking. Although jellyfish does not have a strong flavour, it is prized for its texture and adds complexity to dishes.
Chicken pot pies
Hearty and homely, the humble chicken pie has been nourishing a vast swathe of the American mid-West to great satisfaction for centuries. ‘Pot pies’, as they are popularly termed in the United States, often have a pastry base as well as top, although some, like our version here, are made in a dish and only have a top crust. Even if this dish didn’t feature in your ‘Mom’s’ kitchen, the pot pie is comfort food at its very best – perfect as the cooler months begin to roll in. You will need to remove the puff pastry block from the freezer at least 2 hours before needed to defrost. Alternatively, place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. You will need 6 x 250 ml round pie dishes for this recipe.
40 clove chicken (poulet aux 40 gousses d’ail)
This rustic-style dish is popular in Provençe and other southern regions of France. Traditionally, the French farmer’s wife would be able to procure these ingredients easily from her basse-cour (farm yard), where she kept chicken, rabbits and ducks, and her jardin potager (kitchen garden), where she would grow vegetables. This classic is known to incite differences of opinion – jointing, browning chicken and peeling garlic being the main points of contention. Whichever way you approach it though, the simple marriage of chicken and garlic, when slow-cooked together, becomes extraordinary. While the quantity of garlic may seem excessive, don’t be alarmed. Forty cloves of garlic is roughly equal to three bulbs. When unpeeled garlic is roasted, the flavour mellows and develops a caramelised sweetness, as well as a soft texture.
Deep-fried shaoxing chicken
Chickens pecking about the countryside is a common sight in China, and their free-range flavour is coveted by home cooks and restaurant kitchens alike. Darker cuts of chicken and cooking on the bone are favoured in Chinese cuisine – the bone imparts great flavour and the flesh remains succulent. The jiao liu (deep-fried) style of cooking is popular in Cantonese-speaking regions, and these crispy, bite-sized chicken pieces are delicious. Seasoned with a sprinkling of fresh ginger and finely sliced spring onions, with sizzling sesame oil poured over the top, the chicken is marinated in shaoxing wine prior to cooking.
Famed for its tagines, Moroccan cuisine is a mix of North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences. The tagine is a traditional clay pot with a distinct pyramid shape that allows steam to disperse and cook the contents. It is also the name given to dishes cooked within it. Once the lid goes on, there is no lifting to add ingredients or to give them a stir, so Moroccan chefs place great emphasis on the way ingredients are placed inside the tagine. Poultry is a popular source of protein in Morocco and is usually accompanied by couscous and flavoured with various spices, including chilli, paprika, cumin and saffron.
Yucatan-style chicken fricassee (fricase de pollo al estilo yucatan)
This chicken dish is based on a recipe that’s popular in Yucatán, Mexico and uses ingredients familiar to both Mexican and Puerto Rican cuisines. This particular version, however, is based upon a sofrito of onions, spices and tomato paste, making it distinctly Puerto Rican. Fricasé is a common South American cooking technique whereby the meat is browned first before being simmered over low heat.
Photography Alan Benson