It may be the battle of the sexes, or maybe I just associate myself with a lot of competitive people. Either way, the majority of our dinner parties end with us all sat around the coffee table, glasses of red wine perched precariously, yelling smack talk at each other over a board game, (Articulate, more often than not).
It might be my selective memory, but the girls are usually victorious. The boys usually start politely, apologising to each other for their poor game play, and congratulating correct answers. An hour later and a bottle of wine or two down and the scene is completely different. Blame is hurled over lost turns, other teams are accused of cheating, and the cards have always been poorly shuffled or rigged somehow.
Sunday night brought a new game to our ever expanding collection, Creationary, basically pictionary with Lego. All Dan kept jokingly asking for for his birthday was Lego, which made this a perfect (albeit early) present for him. In all the excitement of playing with a childhood favourite toy the boys even managed to keep their tempers under control.
This is my go to dish when I am entertaining. No matter how picky the eater this dish always has people reaching for seconds. In the summer I serve it with a simple asian salad I will be sharing later this week, and in the winter it works wonderfully with spicy broccoli and peas.
The aromatic ingredients can be prepared and stored a couple of hours ahead of time (though I’m rarely that organised) and then it’s simply a case of adding each to a wok. The recipe for rice makes the perfect sticky, chinese restaurant rice. It’s easy to eat with chopsticks and has a hint of sweetness that balances the saltiness of the soy sauce.
Pappa Wan’s Simple Soy Glazed Chicken and Sticky Rice
adapted from Gok Cooks Chinese
for the chicken:
3 tbsp groundnut oil
6 chicken thighs
a handful of mushrooms (optional)
2 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
2cm piece of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
3 spring onions, finely sliced, reserving one for decoration
6 tbsp water
1 tbsp honey
5 tbsp dark soy sauce
½ fresh chilli finely sliced
Heat 2 tbsp spoons of oil in a wok over a high heat.
Add the chicken thighs and mushrooms to the wokand cook until browned on both sides (about 4-5 minutes), then remove and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the work and when hot add the garlic, ginger and spring onions, fry for 2-3 minutes until softened.
Add the chicken and stir, ensuring that it is well coated in the garlic, ginger and spring onions.
Add the soy sauce and the water and bring to the boil.
Lower the heat and cover with a lid (or foil if you don’t have one), and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
Brush with honey and sprinkle with chilli and the remaining spring onion and serve.
for the sticky rice:
120g long grain rice
120g jasmine rice
Put the rice into a pan and fill with water, repeatedly rub the rice between your fingers (for about 30 seconds) to wash off the extra starch, discard the water.
Repeat two more times.
Cover the rice with water (about an inch of water above the rice level) and boil on the highest setting, without a lid, until the water has reduced to just bubbling through the rice.
Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, place a lid on the pan and leave on the heat for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes turn the heat off, fluff the rice with a fork and leave to steam dry for a few minutes.
To create a dome of rice, tightly pack the rice into a small bowl (I used a tea cup) pressing down with the back of a spoon to make sure it is pressed together and turn out onto a plate.