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Bonus tips and new riffs on his most popular dishes – Tricks and Tips

Bonus tips and new riffs on his most popular dishes

Four of Adam Liaw’s most popular cold-weather recipes made even better (plus one underrated bake he thinks should’ve been in the mix).

Chicken fricassee

This recipe has been a huge hit with you all this season, and a simple but delicious one-potter is always a great winter option. If I was to give my advice on this, it would be to take your time. One-pot dishes are simple, but they will amply reward investment of a bit of time, particularly in the early steps.

Browning the chicken well creates the flavour base for the dish. Use medium heat, not high and take your time getting the chicken nice and brown while also creating a “fond” in the base of the pan. The fond is the brown residue left on the pan from browning.

Frying the mirepoix (in this case onion, carrot, celery, garlic and mushroom) for a good 10 minutes or longer will add to that depth of flavour, too. Cooking out the roux (the flour and butter added to the vegetables) before adding the wine is important as well, then when the liquids go in you really want to scrape up the fond that has formed on the base of the pan.

Finally, after the cream goes in you want to cook that for a good 10 minutes as well so that the cream stops tasting “milky”. All in all, the key to this dish is to make sure everything cooks out. Doing so will make the dish taste rich instead of raw and underdone.

Singapore noodles meet fried rice. Photo: William Meppem

Taco fried rice/Singapore fried rice

I think it says a lot about how much we love fried rice that two of my most popular winter recipes were fried rice recipes. We make LOTS of fried rice in my house. I make it to use up leftovers, to cobble together a meal from whatever is in the fridge or freezer if we can’t be bothered to go shopping.

These two variations – taco-ed and curried – are just really simple ways to switch up a family classic by adding some different flavours.

Adam Liaw’s taco-inspired fried rice. Photo: William Meppem

A good hack for fried rice (actually told to me by Terry Durack) is if the one thing holding you back from making fried rice is cooking the rice, you can just order a few extra serves of rice next time you get takeaway and for a few extra bucks you have a whole extra meal in the waiting.

Fried rice recipes usually start with leftover rice, but if you want to make rice specifically for fried rice, adding a couple of tablespoons of oil to the raw rice when you cook it will help to keep the grains separate. Cook the rice as normal but with the added oil, then spread it on a tray to cool and refrigerate overnight. Break up any clumps with your fingers the next day and you’re ready to fry.

To simplify the taco fried rice you can substitute all the spices for a packet of taco seasoning. And for the Singapore fried rice I listed Keen’s curry powder because it’s Australian and readily available, but one of the favourite curry powders among Malaysians and Singaporeans is Baba’s Meat Curry Powder, which you can get from Asian grocers (probably around the aisle where you find coconut milk and belacan (shrimp paste)).

***EMBARGOED FOR SUNDAY LIFE, JUNE 20/21 ISSUE***
Adam Liaw recipe : Fettucini alfredo with garlic mushrooms
Photograph by William Meppem (photographer on contract, no restrictions)ÂÂ

A little starchy water will make this creamy pasta even creamier. Photo: William Meppem

Fettuccine alfredo with garlic mushrooms

The key to most pasta recipes is the starchy pasta water, and this one is no exception. Tossing the pasta with its water emulsifies with oils from olive oil, cheese or in this case, cream, to create a creamy texture.

Even though we’re already adding cream and cheese to this, you can make it even creamier by making sure you toss the pasta with the pasta water. It might sound counterintuitive, but that emulsification is so important for texture.

The garlic mushrooms are added on top in the original recipe, but you could easily fry them in the pan with the shallots before you add the cream to make a combination mushroom alfredo, but I wouldn’t skip the parsley and little squeeze of lemon juice. Both are there to cut through the creaminess of the dish with a bit of sourness and tannin.

Adam Liaw's classic chocolate cake.

ICYMI: this underrated recipe is now Adam Liaw’s go-to chocolate cake. Photo: William Meppem

Classic chocolate cake

Now this wasn’t one of my most popular recipes this winter, but honestly it should have been. It’s my go-to chocolate cake recipe and I was a little miffed that it wasn’t more popular. Will and Hannah, the photographer and stylist that shoot all of my recipes for Good Food, said that this was the best chocolate cake they have ever had – and they’ve shot, styled and eaten a lot of chocolate cakes.

The secret to this is the Dutch-process cocoa powder and the hot water. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is washed in an alkaline solution so it is richer, sweeter and darker than normal cocoa powder, and adding the hot water helps the starch from the flour trap liquid and gives you a much more moist cake.

People often avoid water when it comes to baking, particularly with chocolate, but it is really important.

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