Sticky Soy Chicken Strips

Chicken strips so moist and tender, bursting with Asian flavours, make a fantastic dinner served with egg noodles, and a green bean and broccoli salad with toasted sesame seeds. All moisture of the chicken is retained, setting this juicy tender chicken apart from the otherwise easily dried out strips.

Chicken strips are perfect for stir-fries, and this sauce adds delicious sweetness so that you could even serve it as a toothpick party snack. Toasting the sesame seeds brings out more flavour so is recommended, and toast some extra for garnish and for the side salad whilst you’re at it.

Ingredients:

  • MARINADE
  • 900 g Free-range Chicken Breasts (cut into roughly 2cm strips)
  • 3cm Knob Fresh Ginger (chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (smashed)
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce 
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • SAUCE
  • ¼ C Soy Sauce
  • ¼ C Rice Vinegar
  • 1/3 C Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds (toasted)
  • 2 Tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Maizena
  • 1/3 C Cooking liquid (from the bag after sous vide cooking)
  • SERVING
  • Egg noodles
  • Green Bean & Broccoli Salad with toasted sesame seeds

Method:

  1. Prepare your sous vide water bath
    Fill a container with water and place the sous vide immersion circulator in the bath. Set temperature at 62C degrees.
  2. Get the chicken ready
    Add the chicken and marinade ingredients to a vacuum bag and rub the ingredients evenly over all chicken strips by massaging the bag. Lay the bag on a surface and carefully press down, creating a single layer of meat with the marinade.
  3. Prepare the bag
    Either vacuum seal, or use the immersion technique and seal. When vacuum sealing, be careful that the liquid isn’t sucked out of the bag. Cancel the vacuuming process before the liquid is sucked out, or simply use the immersion technique and seal.
  4. Cook the meat
    Drop the bag in the sous vide bath, and cook for 2 hours. After cooking time, remove the bag from the bath.
  5. Cook the sauce
    Cut a tip off the bag, and pour the liquid into a container (keep the meat in the bag) and discard the garlic and ginger. Add all sauce ingredients, except for the maizena, to a skillet and bring to a simmer. Reduce the sauce by simmering for 5-10 minutes, until it’s thick and sticky. Only add as much maizena as required to make it thicker. Add the chicken strips, give it a good stir and serve.

These chicken strips make great finger food for parties too, served with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

Chocolate Chilli Steak

Chocolate & chilli pair so well together and it makes a beautiful sauce for a steak that tantalises all your taste buds. It made fame when Madame Zingara put it on the menu of their Loop Street restaurant. Capetonians were flocking to the restaurant to try it. And now you can have it at home, easier than you thought it might be.

This recipe is all about the marinade. The sauce should have the right balance of sweet with a good pinch of the chillies. Before cooking the steak in the marinade, taste it as the bite doesn’t change during the cooking process. Chillies vary wildly and it’s up to you how mild or hot you like it. Make sure you get a nice kick without making it overpowering.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C Brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Fortified wine or brandy
  • 2-3 Dried chillies / 2-3 tsp chopped 
  • ¼ C Cocoa 
  • Freshly ground pepper

Method:

  1. Prepare your sous vide water bath
    Fill a container with water and place the sous vide immersion circulator in the bath. Set temperature at 49.5C degrees.
  2. Prepare the marinade
    Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the sugar. Let it melt without stirring, and be careful not to burn it. Once the sugar has melted, add butter, soy sauce and chopped chillies and stir. Add the fortified wine, and cook off briefly. Then add the cocoa and pepper and cook further for a minute or 2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the bag
    Pour the marinade in a vacuum bag and add the steaks. Rub the marinade over the steaks by massaging the bag. When vacuum sealing, be careful that the liquid isn’t sucked out of the bag. Cancel the vacuuming process before the liquid is sucked out, or simply use the immersion technique and seal.
  4. Cook the meat
    Drop the bag in the sous vide bath, and cook for 2 hours. After cooking time, remove the bag from the bath, and leave to cool slightly.
  5. Sear the meat
    Pour the liquid into a sauce pan and heat up to thicken. This is the sauce to serve over the steaks. Pat the steaks dry with paper towel, and heat a cast iron skillet with avocado oil. Make sure it’s piping hot for a quick sear without further cooking the meat. All you need is to develop a flavourful crust, the meat is cooked already.

Serve the steaks with the sauce and your favourite sides. As these chocolate chilli steaks will take the centre stage there’s no need to stress about fancy sides. Roasted cauliflower and sweet potato mash go very well with it.

Eland Sirloin

We’re lucky in South Africa to be able to enjoy fantastic game meat. Venison may have a reputation of being difficult to cook, or you may not know how to spice it to do the flavour justice. A good cut doesn’t need much though, so no fancy marinades here and a simple seasoning.

For sous vide cooking there’s always the debate about whether or not to add fat to the bag for cooking. Venison in particular is lean, so a perfect cut to experiment whether it makes a difference whether you do or don’t at butter, and what the difference is. 

Our verdict: yes it does make a big difference, and we preferred the cut cooked in butter. It was juicier and softer, doing more justice to the flavour. 

Ingredients:

  •  500g Eland sirloin
  •  50g Butter
  •  1/2 tbsp Thyme
  •  Salt & Pepper

Method:

  1. Prepare your sous vide water bath
    Fill a container with water and place the sous vide immersion circulator in the bath. Set temperature at 54C degrees.
  2. Prepare the meat
    Season the meat with salt, pepper and thyme on both sides. Freshly ground peppercorns are preferred, however don’t go overboard as you would overpower the meat. 
  3. Prepare the bag
    Place the meat in a vacuum bag and pour the butter in. Roll around so that all sides are buttered. Vacuum seal, or use the immersion technique and seal the bag.
  4. Cook the meat
    Drop the bag in the sous vide bath, and cook for 2 hours. After cooking time, remove the bag from the bath, and leave to cool slightly.
  5. Sear the meat
    The finishing touch is the crust of the meat, which is achieved by searing on a piping hot cast iron skillet (or on the braai). High heat is important to create a crust very quickly, without further cooking the meat. Sear all sides. Leave to rest for a few minutes, and then slice to serve.

This beautiful cut goes well with warm, earthy flavours. Serve it with air fryer carrot fries with thyme, and beetroot barley.

Thick & Creamy Bulgarian Yoghurt

Homemade yoghurt will be a game-changer in your diet, promoting your gut health. This natural yoghurt is made without any preservatives or additives. The result is a yoghurt packed with healthy live probiotics that is thick and creamy without any sugars or stabilizers.

This recipe comes with a warning: once you realise how easy it is to make yoghurt yourself, and much tastier too than commercial yoghurts, there’s no turning back. Yoghurt returns to the breakfast table as a treat that can be served with your favourite fruits and granola. Each jar filled with velvety, creamy though slightly tart flavoured yoghurt. Heating of the milk does not only pasteurize the milk, it actually denatures the proteins resulting in a thicker texture of the yoghurt.

This plain version can be used as your basic recipe, and use it to play around with flavours that you like for variety. Rooibos, star anise, and cinnamon all work really well, and you may also want to try vanilla or lavender.

Ingredients

  • 2 litres Fresh Raw Milk
  • Tiny knife point Yoghurt Cultures

Method

  1. Heating up the milk
    Add the milk to a pot and heat on medium heat, bringing the temperature up to 82C. Once it’s reached the temperature remove from the heat, and either cool the pot in an ice bath (cold water) or leave to cool in a relatively cool space.
  2. Cool down the milk
    Depending on your method, the milk will cool down quick, or slowly. Keep an eye on it and check when it’s reached a temperature below 45C (and ideally above 40C).
  3. Prepare water bath
    Fill a container with water, and place the sous vide immersion circulator in the bath. Set the temperature at 43C degrees.
  4. Culturing
    Add the yoghurt cultures to the milk, and whisk. Just a tiny knifepoint is sufficient.
  5. Prepare the jars
    Get the (sterilised) yoghurt jars ready, and pour the milk into the jars. Divide the milk over the jars, and tighten the lids.
  6. Place the jars in the water bath
    Place the jars in the bath, making sure the water level is reaching the top of the jar.
  7. Leave the yoghurt to ferment for 6 hours. 
    After 6 hours of fermenting you can remove the jars from the bath. Leave to cool down to room temperature, and then store in the fridge.

Yoghurt can also be made with UHT longlife milk, and if using longlife milk you only have to warm up the milk to about 40 degrees. When using raw milk, make sure you heat up very slowly over low heat to denature the protein. It will result in a thicker yoghurt. Also very important: make sure that you can trust your source if using raw, fresh milk.

T-Bone steak | sous vide cooking time experiment

The classic T-bone is a fantastic cut to flame grill the traditional way on the braai, and even better when cooked sous vide first. Especially when you’ve got a nice, 3-fingers thick steak and want to make sure it’s cooked to perfection before searing with that flavourful crust.

At which temperature you need to cook the steak depends on your preference. We cooked it at 49C to get a medium rare result. Prefer it more medium or done? Cook at a higher temperature, like 56C degrees. The thickness of the steak determines how long you have to cook to achieve the result at that temperature, and additional time contributes to extra tenderness.

For this experiment we cooked 1 steak for 3 hours, and 1 steak for 6 hours. This is what it looked like:

T-Bone cooked sous vide to medium rare before giving it a flame-grilled sear

Ingredients

  •  4cm thick T-bone steaks
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Prepare your sous vide water bath
    Fill a container with water and place the sous vide immersion circulator in the bath. Set temperature at 49C degrees.
  2. Prepare the meat
    Season the meat with salt and pepper, and rough chop or crush garlic.
  3. Prepare the bag
    Place the meat in a vacuum bag and add garlic and rosemary. Vacuum seal the bag.
  4. Cook the meat
    Drop the bag in the sous vide bath, and cook for 3-6 hours. After cooking time, remove the bag from the bath and leave to cool slightly. In 3 hours the meat is cooked and still has some chew, after 6 hours it’s fillet-like tender.
  5. Make a fire!
    When cooking time is nearly complete, make a fire for that flame grilled sear.
  6. Sear the meat
    Remove the meat from the bag, and pat dry with paper towel. Grind some extra salt over the steaks. When the fire is ready, sear all sides of the steaks for about 30 seconds, until nice and brown. Leave to rest for a few minutes and then slice to serve.

T-bone steak goes well with anything, and we’d highly recommend a homemade Monkey Gland Sauce.