Chicken 101: Chicken Pot Pie

In the second part of the Chicken 101 workshop organised by the Richmond Food Security Society, Ian demonstrated how to make pie crust to make a Chicken Pot Pie.

Ian demonstrated how to make a flaky pie crust which will shatters when cut into it for the top and a mealy pie crust for the bottom which holds wet ingredients better.

The ratio of flour:butter:cold water to make a pie crust is 3:2:1. When comes to pastry, weigh your ingredients for precision measurement. If you want to use spelt for the pie crust, you may substitute 1/3 of the flour with spelt.

Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-3Pastry making requires everything to be cold. Ian freezes the butter and grate it using a box grater (largest grate).Combine cold butter and flour (unsifted) in a bowl. Salt it for flavour.

Ian illustrated that the flour is like elastic band and the butter cuts (shortens) the gluten strand.

Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-4Add cold water a bit at a time.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-5Ian swirled the mixing bowl to combine the flour/butter and water until it starts to form chunks.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-6Ian squeezed together the chunk (not knead), one small chunk at a time and place on a floured counter. You do not want to overwork the dough.Add more water when it becomes too dry.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-7Once all small chunks are formed, Ian gathered them together and form a ball.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-8Ian then flattened the dough with his palm with a motion away from himself.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-9Pull back the dough and fold once.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-10You”ll see chunks of butter and many layers. When the chunks of butter are big, you”ll have a flaky dough.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-11If you work the dough further more, like a couple more times pressing and folding, you’ll get a mealy dough with smaller chunks of butter.You must rest the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out for making pie.


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Chicken 101: Chicken Cutlet

This is the third and last of the Basic Food Skills workshops organised by the Richmond Food Security Society. The last workshop is chicken 101.


This workshop revisits how to debone a chicken which was covered in Stocks 101 workshop.


The above video was the demonstration by Ian Lai on how to debone a chicken.

Following the deboning demonstration, Ian proceeds to demonstrate …


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Richmond Community Kitchens celebrate Christmas at HML Seafood Restaurant on No. 3 Rd in Richmond

Minoo organised a Christmas celebration at HML Seafood Restaurant during one of last cooking session of the Richmond Community Kitchen.  The South Arm Community Kitchen had been to this location, also for Christmas celebration in 2007 but it was Kingford Seafood Restaurant back then.


Does anyone know why is this restaurant’s English name is HML Seafood Restaurant? I tried to ask the receptionist on my way out but just got a blunt answer that she does not know.


HML is a big restaurant and it was very busy when we were there at 10:30 am. Minoo had reserved a large table that fits 12 to 15 people.


But, guessed what? 19 people turned up for this gathering. We had to pull another table in order to fit everyone. There were members from various kitchens, i.e. South Arm Community Kitchen, South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors, Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen and Caring Place Community Kitchen.


Click on the menu above to take a closer look. The prices are average and the good thing is tea is free and it’s 20% off their regular dim sum items all day, even weekends and public holidays. The dim sum menu is on the right hand side.


We ordered a lot of food. In fact, I’m glad the captain came to us to alert us that we ordered way too much and cut down on the quantities of some of the items. Yet, we still have leftovers to bring home. What Minoo particular like in this restaurant is … (more…)

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Raisin Scones

The second baked goods which Minoo prepared at the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen is Raisin Scones.


The Raisin Scones are a hit with my boys as they are buttery. I made this with grated Cheddar or Parmesan cheese at home as my boys do not like raisins.


  • 2 cups (500ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons (18ml) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2ml) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup (50ml) sultana raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup (175ml) milk


Source: unknown via Minoo


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Dates and Prunes Squares

Minoo decided to have a theme of baked goods at the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen. It is the time of the year where there will be numerous potlucks to attend and baked goods make a good potluck item. Making baked goods as a gift during this holiday season is so much more personal and thoughtful than buying store bought gifts.


The first recipe is a Dates and Prunes Squares. This is a crumbly square but it is so good with the natural sweetness from the dates and prunes and it’s rich in fiber.


  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) chopped pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) chopped pitted prunes
  • 1 cup (250ml) boiling water
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1ml) ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) large-flake rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2ml) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2ml) baking soda
  • 2/3 cup (150ml) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons (25ml) cold water
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) chopped almonds


Source: unknown via Minoo


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Sugar Puffs

Betty made a dessert in the South Arm Community Kitchen. Betty had just learned how to make this Sugar Puffs from her friend a day earlier. Betty is a fast learner.


The Sugar Puffs remind me of the fennel cake that I had at the PNE. However, this Sugar Puffs is slightly chewier. I ate a lot of this while others were indulging in the Green Cabbage and Egg Dumplings; my sweet tooth.


  • 2 cups of glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

For coating:

  • 1/2 cup of peanut flour
  • 1/4 cup of icing sugar (if you cannot find peanut flour, you can just use icing flour alone)


Source: Betty


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Green Cabbage and Egg Dumplings

Li demonstrated how to make Green Cabbage and Egg Dumplings in the South Arm Community Kitchen. Making dumpling is common during the Chinese New Year eve. The whole family will gather together to make dumplings.


Many hands made this job so much more fun. Some will make the wrappers while others make the dumplings.


This Green Cabbage and Egg Dumplings has a crunchy filing as it just need to be boiled until the dough is cooked as the filling does not contain meat. It is almost a vegetarian dumpling if you substitute the egg with tofu, mushroom, etc.


  • 5 eggs
  • 1 kilogram (2 pounds) green cabbage
  • 100 g (3 to 4) green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil for dipping sauce

For the wrapper

  • 1200ml all-purpose flour
  • 540ml water
  • Cabbage-Dumplings-1

Source: Li


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Caring Place Christmas Potluck 2010

I’m posting this first ahead of the older kitchens because I want to get the Christmas spirit going. Otherwise, this post will only appear in Feb, way after Christmas. The Caring Place Community Kitchen ended the 2010 session with a potluck as usual.


9 members attended this potluck. We had dishes from Korea, Ukraine, Philippines, France, HongKong and Malaysia. Oops, I did not make a dish from Malaysia though.


We had a surprise celebration at the potluck. It was Minoo’s birthday and she baked herself a Porcupine German Cake. She should have let us know, we should be bringing a cake for her instead.


Minoo got the inspiration making this Porcupine Cake from her trip back to German this summer. Minoo told us that pastry and cake is big in German. Every family will at least consume 2 cakes a week. There are lots of pre-packed cake mixes in a box at the groceries stores there.


The Porcupine Cake is made of chocolate sponge cake that has been hollowed out to be filled with fresh banana and whipped cream and top with crumbs made from the hollow out cake. It was light and fresh tasting. We love this cake a lot.


Coincidentally, I also brought a Ponderosa Cake which is made with banana and chocolate chips.


Marian from the Philipines made some Teo Chew drummets marinated with five spices, hot sauce, anise, sugar, soy sauce, etc. She created this finger food for her children’s Christmas party. Marian also brought some home-made daikon and carrot pickles as appetizers. From Korea, … (more…)

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Stocks 101: Chicken Broth with Matzo Balls

For the second part of the Stocks 101 workshop, Ian showed us how to make a white stock. White stock is basically made with chicken bones and veggies like carrots, celery, onions, leeks and herbs like peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley.


Another thing that Ian brought up was you can add fillers like mushrooms, dumplings and grains like quinoa into a stocks to make a more filling soup.


Ian planned to make a Chicken Broth with Matzo Balls from the white stocks. Matzo ball mix is a flour/wheat base with leavening. It is a great pantry item to whip up some quick dumplings.


So, the first thing Ian prepared was the Matzo dough using the store bought Matzo ball mix. According to the instructions, you’ll need to add 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil and salt to taste. You may add bits of ham, mushrooms, etc into the dough if you like to. It will form a wet dough and need to be chilled in the fridge to firm up while Ian proceed to demonstrate how to debone a chicken for the chicken stocks.

Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-4First, Ian bisected the chicken wings at the socket into wing tips, winglets and drumettes. Ian used a small pairing knife to do the whole deboning process, amazing!Tip: roasted wing tips are great for nibbling.
Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-5Next, Ian separated the thigh from the breast by slicing through the skin between the thigh and the breast. There is no meat attach there.
Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-6The next step is to bend the chicken leg the other way slowly to dislocate the joint.
Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-7To remove the leg, Ian pulled back the leg, peeled and cut a little at a time towards the bone.
Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-8What is left is the breast and the frame. The breast bone in the middle is very soft. Cut one or two milliliters from the breast bone down the center and you’ll see the tenderloin and the breast.
Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-9Cut towards the bones to remove the breast and tenderloin.Tip: remove the tendon from the tenderloin which is chewy by holding the tendon and scraping it off the tenderloin.
Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-10Finally,you’ll end up with the carcass for making stocks. You’ll need about 6 carcasses to make stocks. Stuff the neck and any other bones into the carcass when freezing it to save storage space.
Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-11Ian also showed us how to stretch a chicken breast by butterflying it at the thicker part. One chicken breast can feed two people by thinning it out, pounding it and breading it.Tip: deep fried the chicken skins to make crackers.


To make the chicken stocks, Ian used 6 carcasses with bones. Frozen bones are best for making stocks. You do not need to defrost the bones for making soup because as you defrost, you’ll loose some flavour through the liquids from defrosting.

If you roast the bones before making stocks, you’ll end up with a brown stock. Roasted chicken bones will make the stocks sweeter.

To make the chicken stocks, Ian added 4 carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 1 large onion, some thymes and 1/2 teaspoons whole peppercorn. The vegetables are chopped relatively small so that more surfaces are exposed and give more flavour. The ratio of vegetables to chicken bones is about 20%. Add enough cold water to cover all the ingredients and bring the water to a boil. Once it’s starts to bubble, reduce it to low heat to simmer, uncover. Do not bring the stocks to a rolling boil as it will yield a greasy stock. The rolling boil process will emulsify the fat. Skim off the scums that forms on the top with a spoon.

The chicken stocks has to be simmered for 45 minutes to an hour. Do not over cook the stocks as the vegetables will disintegrate and makes a the soup cloudy or muddy. Strain the stocks and chill in the refrigerator after it cools off. You may then remove the fat cap easily the next day.


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