Thursday, January 30, 2014

NEW RECIPE: Asian Fried Chicken with Curry Braised Leeks

© Constantine William Spyrou

First off, before I begin, I want to say thank you to everyone who has every viewed this blog. Over the past week, this blog officially turned a year old. Since then, I've made around 60 unique recipes that I've shared with all of you. Originally, this blog was just meant to be somewhere for me to record recipes I had in my head down. However, because of you guys, this has turned into an amazing experience where I've gotten feedback and even ideas for new recipes from you guys! Thank you all so very much. You guys have helped make this blog a success! =)

Anyways... onto this recipe. Fried chicken is hands down one of my favorite foods, and I've always wanted to try giving it an Asian spin. This recipe takes a lot of the typical spices of Asia and puts it into a chicken dredge that makes them delicious pan fried! Served with some curry-braised leeks that give a great balance of texture (the creaminess of the leeks playing against the crisp chicken), this will be an enjoyable feast! 

Recipe will serve up to 4 people.

For the Chicken:

2 medium chickens, cut into 8 portions each
1 cup rice wine
1/2 gallon water
2 1/4cups soy sauce
1/4 cup white peppercorns
1 cup fresh sliced ginger
1/4 cup star anise
2 sticks cinnamon
1/4 cup cloves
2 cups flour
4 eggs
4 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon togarashi red pepper
1/2 tablespoon chinese five spice
Vegetable oil for frying

For the Leeks:

4 leeks, washed and halved
Salt and pepper to season
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon curry powder


1. Start by brining the chicken in the water, 2 cups of soy sauce, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, rice wine, and ginger. The chicken should sit in this mixture for at least 4 hours in the fridge, and can sit up to 2 days in this brine.
2. Make your dredges by seasoning the flour with half of each of the salt, white pepper, red pepper, and five spice. Remove any cloves or star anise and such stuck to the chicken, then roll in the flour. Transfer to the eggs, which should be beaten with a couple of tablespoons of water. Finally, roll around in the panko, which should be seasoned as well with the remaining spices.
3. In a deep pan, add vegetable oil until it fills one third to half of the pan. Heat to 375 degrees (it will be there when you can stick a chopstick in and it bubbles. You can also use a candy thermometer to check the temperature). Fry the chicken for 15 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
4. As the chicken is frying, season your halved leeks. Sear in a hot pan on medium high-heat with some olive oil. Once the leeks have a golden brown color on each side, melt the butter into the pan. Deglaze with the white wine, and pour in your chicken stock and curry powder. Bring down to a simmer, and cover most of the way. The leeks will take 10-12 minutes to cook.
5. Once everything is done cooking, serve the leeks alongside your chicken!

Brining the chicken makes it a lot more tender and juicy in the final product, and seasoning at each stage ensures the strong Asian flavors stick throughout the whole bite and aren't lost. Also, covering the leeks just partially means they don't lose their color as they cook, which is extremely important. Overall, this dish will be a great one because of how well the leeks and chicken play off of each other!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

Monday, January 20, 2014

NEW RECIPE: White Truffle Gnocchi

© Constantine William Spyrou

One of my favorite staples in college is pasta. It's extremely versatile and can be made with a ton of different sauces and styles. My favorites have to be wide rice noodles for beef chow fun, or pappardelle noodles with marinara and Parmesean cheese. However, those don't stack up to the dish I came up with a couple of weeks ago: White Truffle Gnocchi.

Gnocchi are potato and flour dumplings that are extremely fluffy, soft, and light. They cook extremely quickly and take on rich flavors extremely well. This is why I've paired them in this recipe with the classic brown-butter and sage sauce, garnished with Parmigiano Reggiano and white truffle oil. White truffle oil has a strong, pungent flavor, and just a little bit lends some amazing flavor to a dish. 

This dish gets an additional kick from black pepper, which really rounds out and makes the dish so much better! My friends and I tested this recipe out a week ago, and we loved making it! This is something that you will enjoy as well! 

The finished product. Delicious! 

Recipe will serve up to 4 people. 


2 packages fresh gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sage leaves
Black pepper and salt
Parmigiano Reggiano and White Truffle Oil to garnish

If you want to make your own....

3 cups boiled potatoes, mashed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to season


1. Use this step if making your own gnocchi. Combine the potatoes, flour, egg, oil, and seasoning and mix until soft. Be careful not to overmix! Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes before breaking up and cutting it into the gnocchi dumplings.
2. Put on a pot of water and set it boil. Add in some salt and olive oil to flavor the water to taste. Once the water hits a rolling boil, place in the gnocchi and cook for 2 and a half minutes. The gnocchi will float once cooked.
3. Drain the gnocchi. In a pan on medium heat, melt the butter. When it starts turning a nut-brown color, add in your sage and gnocchi. Toss together well, then serve. Grate over the Parmigiano Reggiano, drizzle on a touch of white truffle oil, and finish off with cracked black pepper.

This dish is quick to make, but extremely rich and flavorful and one of the great Italian comfort pastas. Using the richness of the truffle oil and the butter just lifts the gnocchi to an ethereal level.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

NEW RECIPE: Gluten-Free Agedashi Tofu

© Constantine William Spyrou

I come from a family with a lot of dietary restrictions, so I know how to cook for different kinds of allergies and such. For example, my older sister Barbara has an allergy to fish as well as a gluten allergy that was recently diagnosed. For her, this is saddening because a lot of her favorite foods had gluten or contained fish products. Examples of this include sushi, since the rice used to make it contains gluten, as does the vinegar traditionally used to flavor the rice. Another dish is one of her favorites of all-time: Agedashi tofu. Traditionally made tempura style with regular flour (which has gluten) and served with bonito flakes and a vibrant soy sauce dressing (gluten), every component has something my sister can't handle.

This is a gluten-free version of Agedashi tofu for my sister, using rice flour instead of regular flour to make the tempura batter, and utilizing a gluten-free version of soy sauce to make a better dressing that my sister can both enjoy and handle. This one is for you, sis!

Recipe will make 18 pieces of tofu.


1 package silken tofu, cut into 18 equal cubes
2 cups rice flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups soda water
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
1 tablespoon gluten-free rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon white pepper
Peanut or safflower oil for frying (both are gluten-free)
Chopped green onion for a garnish


1. Combine the rice flour, salt, and soda water in a bowl and mix well. Leave in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours so it gets really cold. It's key that the batter is cold as it's placed on the tofu!

2. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and white pepper together and set aside for at least 20 minutes to build in a flavor.

3. Take the batter out of the fridge. At the same time, start heating about 3-4 cups of your cooking oil in either a deep pan or sauce pan.

4. Using a spoon, carefully lower each cube of tofu into the batter so that it is not broken up, which is very easy to do. Immediately drop into the hot oil, which should be at 350 degrees F (if you don't have a candy thermometer to check the temperature, place in a wooden chopstick. If bubbles rise to the top, it's ready to fry).

5. Fry each piece of tofu for no more than a minute, then place onto a towel to drain. Plate when all of the tofu is fried, garnish with the green onion, and serve with the dipping sauce.

Using the soda water in the batter helps it to leaven really quickly, and the salt keeps it nice and crisp. Adding the contrasting sauces helps bring the tofu a little more flavor, and the freshness of the green onion just lifts it over the top.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)