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Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

Reviews June 3, 2013

On planning my recent trip away to Singapore and Japan, I was happy to see a post on ChopinandmySaucepan’s food blog detailing a recent experience at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore. Having only visited there once on a layover as a child, I was happy to put something so delicious-looking on my must-eat list. Plus, with Anthony Bourdain touting Tian Tian as his favourite spot to eat Hainanese chicken, I didn’t really need much more convincing.

(vid above) Anthony Bourdain enjoying Hainanese chicken rice at Tian Tian.

Admittedly I had very little experience with Hainanese chicken rice in Sydney. I remember first ordering it in Chatswood at an Asian food court and was somewhat disappointed. The rice was bland and flavourless, the chicken dried out and nothing special at all. I couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about and so did not ever bother to order a second time. However, upon glancing upon Chopinand’s blog post about Tian Tian – I was immediately entranced by the glossy, gorgeously moist looking photos of luscious looking chicken and from that I was convinced that I had to give Hainanese chicken a second try.

One of the reasons I was so excited to visit Singapore is because of its insane cleanliness. As a kid, my mum put the fear of God into me about street food (which everyone knows is the best stuff!) and so I was never allowed to sample any on our family trips to the Philippines (much to my disappointment). Even now as an adult, I hear my mum’s voice echoing every time I have the opportunity to sample some tasty but potentially dodgy-looking street food while travelling. Fortunately Singapore solves this issue by displaying mandated signs pretty much everywhere food is served, which lets you know what sort of grade (A, B, C or D) their establishment has received from their National Environment Agency. You can’t really get much more reassuring than that. Plus the fact that everywhere in Singapore is so unbelievably spick and span makes me think that their kitchens have just as high a standard of cleanliness. So given this, Singapore is pretty much my dream destination – my one opportunity to safely gorge myself on as much cheap and delicious street food as possible!

Hainanese Chicken Rice, $3.50 SGD. Comes with their famous chilli sauce and dark soy sauce and a bowl of chicken broth (not pictured).

Why not grab a frosty glass of sugar cane juice?

Or a melon-soy smoothie?

So the verdict?

Tian Tian’s Hainanese chicken was without a doubt the best chicken rice I have ever had (including several other restaurants we sampled whilst in Singapore). Of course, my limited experience with this particular dish may not give much weight to this statement so I’ll go one step further and say that it is also without a doubt the best chicken dish I have ever eaten. Mike, who came on this Hainanese chicken adventure with me (and is a bit of a Hainanese chicken aficionado himself), claimed it was “Easily the best Hainanese chicken I have ever had.” The chicken was so unbelievably packed with moist, juicy flavour and the chicken rice was incredibly good. There were plenty of sauces and condiments to add to the dish, but it was SO good that I ate about 3/4 of it before I even remembered they came with it – and to be honest it didn’t really need it. It just tasted so damned good by itself.

With a price of $3.50 SGD per plate, it’s almost embarrassingly cheap (especially for Sydney-siders!). For chicken this good, I would expect to pay three to five times the amount in Sydney, should anyone ever master Hainanese chicken the way they have at Tian Tian.

It’s a shame that we only visited Singapore for three days. Had we stayed for more, or come to the Maxwell Food Centre earlier, I definitely would have visited Tian Tian on more than one occasion! I definitely will be looking for my Hainanese chicken fix in Sydney. Here begins the quest to find something that’s nearly as good as Tian Tian’s!


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Crispy Moroccan Chicken

Uncategorized March 26, 2011

I love throwing together easy, simple ingredients to make a delicious dinner for myself and my fiance.

On this particular night, I wanted to make something Moroccan spiced to go with my new cous cous craze and this is kind of what I came up with and Mike and I were pretty pleased with the results. Definitely going to keep this one around for time to come! I love throwing things in the oven and then coming back later and dinner is pretty much done. It also gives you an opportunity to clean up all of the mess that you created (which I tend to do quite a lot) in the process.

Ok! Lets get started.

Ingredients: Serves 2.
4 chicken thighs (this makes a big dinner! if you are a girl, like me, you may just want 1 chicken thigh for yourself. keep the remaining in the fridge to slice for a sanger. brill!)
2 teaspoons of moroccan spice
1 teaspoon of garlic powder (optional)
1/2 a cup of plain flour
some olive oil.

Line a baking tray with some baking paper and preheat the oven to about 180 deg C. In a small bowl, blend together flour and spices.

Rub your chicken thighs with about a teaspoon of oil or less per thigh.

Dip each thigh into flour/spice mixture until thoroughly coated and place on baking tray.

Repeat until all chicken is coated.

Chicken after abou 1 hour – golden brown.

Bake in a hot oven for about 1 hour, or until golden and crispy. Occasionally turn then about every 20-30 minutes to evenly brown them.

You could take them out at 1 hour and they would be fine, but if you have some extra time, 1.5 hours turns the thigh meat into a dark golden, lovely colour and the meat literally falls apart.

Chicken after 1.5 hours – dark golden brown and.. amazing.

Serve with cous cous and steamed greens and most of all.. Enjoy!




Chicken thigh

New Trick: Roast Sesame Chicken Thigh

Uncategorized September 6, 2010

I’ve learnt a new trick of cooking chicken with less fat than stir frying but still packs a lot of flavour and punch to any dish you want to add chicken to.

This seems so easy, it’s almost like a kitchen-cheat code.

It’s super simple.

1) Rub chicken thighs with sesame oil and salt (and pepper if you wish, but just salt is pretty good.)
2) Bake in a hot oven (180-200 C) in a lined tray for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown/juices run clear.
3) Cool. Slice. Add to your fave chicken dishes.
And that’s it! Easy peasy. So delish, full of juicy flavour and low fat! Okay, I digress, chicken thighs are not low fat, but I’ve tried this trick with chicken breast with equally great results. (One time I even stuffed it with minced garlic, that was really awesome.)

You could use a different, milder flavoured oil, since sesame is quite an intense flavour that can often overpower other dishes (especially depending on what you’re planning on adding it to), but I looooove sesame oil and that special oomph it gives to this.

Some things this goes great with:

Diced, thrown into pasta sauce (that’s what these babies went into.)
With stir fried vegies and oyster sauce and rice
Thinly sliced into a sandwich
Sliced as a pizza topping
For a chicken salad (salad leaves, diced chicken + salad dressing)
OR, just plain as it is, with a couple of side dishes/salad. Just awesome.

Try making your own variations! Give this one a go!

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Asian-style Chicken Salad

Uncategorized April 12, 2010

I got the inspiration for this one from Anh’s food blog, specifically her recipe for roast hoisin chicken and I came up with this chicken cashew nut salad.

I made a chicken marinade using hoisin sauce, grated ginger, sugar, some maple syrup and some soy sauce. I used about 1/2 jar of hoisin sauce, a couple tablespoons of soy, about 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar, a good sized heaped teaspoon of grated ginger and a dollop of maple syrup. I poured everything into a lee kum kee hoisin sauce jar I had leftover and shook the whole mix up, ensuring the sugar would incorporate with the mixture. After shaking it for about a minute, I marinated chicken thighs in several tablespoons of it (so they were thoroughly coated) in a glass bowl for about an hour, then roasted them in a shallow dish for about 1 hour at about 170 degrees in a hot oven until they were a lovely dark golden colour and cooked through. Keep the rest of your marinade in the fridge for next time!

I allowed the cooked chicken to rest for about ten minutes, then I sliced the meat into strips and placed them on top of a green salad (I used a simple Coles bag o’ salad, but you could just use a mixture of rocket, spinach and whatever else you fancy. I also added one chopped up cucumber.) Dress the salad with a simple mixture of balsamic and honey and sprinkle with cashew nuts. Serve. Yum-yum! Low-carb, high protein 🙂

Give this one a try!



Creamy Chicken Mushroom Pasta Bake

Recipes April 12, 2010

Mmmm. This pasta bake (I have to say), is amazing. It’s creamy. It’s garlicky. It’s cheesy. It has mushrooms and chicken. Seriously, how could you go wrong? The most awesome thing about this pasta dish is that it’s also incredibly easy. It’s also not an overly expensive dish to make and can feed quite a large group (or give you tasty leftovers for the rest of the week.) It is also versatile. You can toss in a whole bunch of other ingredients to give it that special flavour you want. This pasta dish only has one downfall and that is that it is not exactly low in fat. But hell, once you taste it, you probably won’t care.

Ok, enough self praise! Getting down to business.

This is a large serving. I made it for a dinner party and it can serve about eight to ten people (especially if you have a side dish of salad.)

Ok we’ll start out with the sauce. We’ll be needing two large onions (more if you’re into that sort of thing;), plain flour, cream of mushroom soup, garlic and butter. We’ll also be needing milk, but milk was being unreasonable and refused to be photographed.

Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy based pot (you’ll be needing a large one if you don’t halve the recipe!)

While it’s melting, grate about four cloves or garlic (more or less, depending on how garlicky you want it. If you’re me, that’s a lot. lol.)
When butter starts to bubble, throw in garlic and until it becomes fragrant. Add chopped onion and saute.

Add in flour, tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk until it becomes a smooth roux.

Gradually add milk, half cup by half cup, whisking the whole time to ensure smoothness. Add in can of cream of mushroom of soup and stir. Add in 1/2 a cup of shredded grated cheese and stir until fully melted. Adjust thickness of sauce by adding more flour to thicken or more milk to thin to your liking. If you like, you can freeze quantities of this sauce (before adding the chicken) for future use.

Shred BBQ chicken (or do beforehand, as I did).

Add shredded chicken to sauce.

In a separate pot, boil pasta shells in hot salted water with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the shells from sticking until pasta is al dente. Drain. Add cooked pasta to sauce and mix through.

Season with salt and pepper and taste.

Now if you were serving this as a pasta dish, you could serve it now with a fresh side salad. If you wanted to turn it into a pasta bake, leave pasta dish in the pot (make sure this is an oven safe pot, by the way-) and sprinkle with a mixture of breadcrumbs and extra cheese and place in oven to bake. Serve when cheese is melted and golden.


Here is a quick list of the ingredients for your convenience.


1 large family sized 750 gram packet of shell pasta, cooked
2 large onions
4 cloves of garlic, grated
4 tablespoons of butter
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (i used Campbells)
1 C grated tasty cheese
4 tablespoons of plain flour
2 cups of milk (more or less. depends on how thick you want your sauce.)
the shredded meat of 1 large BBQ chicken

Optional extra ingredients: peas/corn, fresh mushrooms, other vegies you want to toss in (broccoli or cauliflower would go well.) You can also sub chicken for a can of tuna which is equally delicious and oh so slightly healthier.

1. Melt butter in heavy based, oven safe pot.
2. When it begins to bubble, throw in grated garlic and onion and allow it to become fragrant. Stir gently.
3. Add flour, tablespoon at a time, whisking to avoid lumps.
4. Add milk, 1/2 cupful at a time, whisking still, to ensure smoothness.
5. When milk has been fully incorporated, add in 1/2 a cup of cheese and cream of mushroom soup. Taste sauce (it should be quite salty from the mushroom soup). You can also adjust thickness with extra milk or flour. If freezing portions of your sauce, do so here.
6. Add in shredded chicken and cooked pasta and mix well.

Optional. For a pasta bake, add extra cheese and half a cup of breadcrumbs (for crispness) to the top of the pasta bake and then bake until cheese is melted and golden.

Make this one today! It is superrr delicious. 🙂

Love ;