Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Chinese Chicken/Pork with Water Chestnuts, Quick Pickling and Bread Rolls.

Good morning form sunny Thailand where the weather is either steaming hot or we have a fierce tropical storm with the loudest thunder I have ever heard in my life.

Well Wimbledon is done and dusted for another year with the men’s title going to Djokovic who was my favourite to win and a new ladies champion…Will she become one of the greats or will she be a one time winner? Nethertheless I will extend a well done and well deserved…

On the political front will the outcome be as predicted and Boris will be the New Prime Minister or will Jeremy pip him at the post? By the time this post is published we will know the answer to that one…

I think it is generally much safer in the kitchen…Don’t you?

Well unless it is me having one of my bad days…which has its upside as I wasn’t allowed to cook the chilli last night…Result…ha-ha…

Today as I know many of you are having some sunny days and some are having a heat wave which makes it very hard to know what to cook sometimes doesn’t it?

I like stir fry’s as once you have prepared your ingredients they are quick to cook…I love Water Chestnuts and sometimes ( not) often I am lucky enough to get fresh ones from the market…

Usually available in specialty groceries or supermarkets, they should be washed thoroughly and peeled with a sharp knife, especially if to be eaten raw. At this point, adding a few drops of lemon juice keeps them from turning brown when steamed or sautéed. Once peeled, they’ll only remain fresh in water that’s changed daily for two to three days.

Chinese Chicken/Pork with Water Chestnuts.


• ½ lb of chicken breasts or pork finely sliced.
• 1 tbsp dry sherry
• 3 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp of corn flour or arrowroot
• 3 tbsp sesame oil
• 2/3 cloves of garlic crushed
• 3 tbsp of spring onions
• 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated or julienned
• 2 cups of water chestnuts peeled and sliced (tinned are fine) and can be found in most Asian sections of supermarkets.
• 1 cup of bamboo sliced (optional) or bean sprouts.

N.B…I have started using arrowroot instead of corn flour it is tasteless and gives a glossy sauce and where corn flour has a slight taste and cloudy appearance arrowroot is glossy and clear. It is a great thickener and can easily replace corn flour.

Arrowroot powder is fast gaining in popularity in the western world as people are looking for substitutes and alternatives to cornstarch either because they have corn allergies/sensitivities or they want to avoid anything GMO and laden with pesticides.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Mix the sherry, soy sauce and arrowroot together, set to one side.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add chicken /pork and stir fry for 2 minutes add garlic, spring onions, ginger and bamboo and stir fry for a further 3 minutes or until meat is cooked.
  3. Add water chestnuts and stir fry I minute then add the arrowroot mix and stir fry for another minute or two until juice thickens slightly add beans sprouts if using.
  4. I always add my bean sprouts if using add the very end as I like mine crisp and just cooked.
  5. Serve immediately with steamed rice or noodles…

Summer is also the time to make lovely crispy chicken or fish bites or goujons with an assorted salad and pickles maybe some lovely fresh rolls …There is nothing better than sitting in the garden or on your balcony with a nice cool drink and just pick and nibble and talk..Soft music in the background perfect…

Not so the batter I have had some disasters with batter in the past…Not sticking being the main one ….

Thai Style Batter for Chicken or Pork or fish

Traditionally Thais use rice flour for batter:


• 1 1/2 cups rice flour.
• 1 tsp salt.
• 1 Cup water + 2 tsp Baking Soda.( Or you can use a cup of soda water)
• For the dry coating, you will need 2 cups of rice flour.
• 1 tsp chicken stock granules (If you are coating chicken drums).

Let’s Cook!

  1. Coat your chicken or pork in the flour…I find it easier to put in a bag and roll it around until all the meat is coated.
  2. Dip your meat/fish in the wet batter.
  3. Heat oil but don’t overload the wok as it will cause the temperature of the oil to drop and you won’t get crispy batter…
  4. Sometimes on the street stalls, you will see the cook remove the chicken/pork and then put in another pan (double dipping) to make sure it is crispy.
  5. This is an authentic recipe given to me by our Thai chef when we had our restaurant as are all my Thai recipes.
  6. If you are cooking a large batch just double or triple the recipe.

If you love a whole chicken and this one is delicious….Then Beer Butt Chicken should fit the bill…A bit messy but well worth it as it is so tender and succulent just right for sunny days…

Beer Butt Chicken…

I have seen this recipe many times over the years but never tasted it until my son gave me a demo…It was lovely and moist and even the kids and they are good eaters demolished it like there was no tomorrow.

He tweaked the recipe as it would have been too hot for the little ones and served the sauce separate rather than basting the chicken at the end with it…But for all, you die-hard spicy food lovers go ahead…

You will love it!

Pickles always go down a treat and at one time I thought all pickles took weeks to mature …But now pickles can be made in 5 mins or just a day or two…

I used 4 cucumbers ( they are short) ones here not like the ones we used to get when in the UK although I have discovered Japanese cucumbers and they are nice, crispy and very similar to the cucumber I know and love.

The cucumbers here are much smaller with larger seeds in the centre and not quite as crispy and flavoursome. In fact, I think I prefer them pickled.

Lets Pickle!

• 1 peeled and sliced (quite thickly) 4 cucumbers.
• 1 large Onion peeled and sliced.
• 3 cups of vinegar.
• 1/4- 1/2 cup of sugar or sweetener of your choice. I only used a 1/4 cup of sugar and some salt to season as required.
• 1 cup of water.


  1. Whisk vinegar, sugar and water together in a jug.
  2. Put alternative slices of cucumber and onion in pre-sterilised jars, and then pour the vinegar mix over the cucumber and onion making sure to cover completely.
  3. Screw the lid down tightly and refrigerate they will be ready to eat in 2 days in fact if you leave these too long they get too vinegary.

They are really a quick pickle recipe.

This second recipe is ready in about 5days

• 3 medium cucumber
• 1 large Onion thinly sliced.
• 85g sea salt flakes (essential- table salt will render your efforts inedible)
• 500ml cider vinegar
• 250g granulated sugar
• 1 tsp Coriander seeds
• 2 tsp yellow mustard seed
• 1 tsp peppercorn
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• Small bunch dill


  1. Wash the cucumbers, split along their length and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Cut each half into finger-length chunks, and then cut into 5mm strips.
  3. Mix with the onion and salt in a large bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.
  4. Next day, drain the juices, rinse the vegetables in cold water and drain well.
  5. Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a very large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 mins to let the flavours infuse.
  6. Add the vegetables and bring the pan to a rolling boil over a high heat, stirring now and again. Boil for 1 min, and then remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Tear in the dill, and then pack into sterilised jars making sure that no air bubbles are trapped.

Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use about 5 days.

Alternately if you want really quick pickles for a BBQ or buffet and don’t want to bother sterilising jars…

  1. In a freezer-weight re-sealable plastic bag, combine 3/4 cup distilled vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 4 tsps sugar, 1/2 tsp salt; 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, and 1/2 tsp peppercorns.
  2. Then add 2 pounds cucumbers quartered lengthwise.
  3. Seal bag and refrigerate overnight. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to a week.

As easy as 1, 2, 3…

Bread Rolls…I am having to resort to this as the only decent baker is still not open again… The bread here in Thailand is so sweet. I detest store bought cut bread it is sticky and claggy just horrible…so am resorting to doing my own at least the dough proves quickly here it is an ideal climate for bread making.

Olive Oil Bread Rolls with Rosemary… These rolls were nice, soft and had a good texture but I still haven’t mastered the crusty top type yet…lol they were also nice toasted.


• 1 1/2 lbs Unbleached Bread Flour
• 1 tbsp of instant yeast
• 3/4 cup of Olive oil
• 1 tbsp of coarse salt
• 2 cups of warm water
• 2/3 tbsp of chopped rosemary.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Combine water, flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and olive oil mix together you will now have sticky dough.
  2. If dough is really too sticky then add a bit more flour.
  3. Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and turn dough in a bowl to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise approx 60-90 minutes here it is more like 15-20 but it all depends on where you live and your heat and humidity.
  4. When the dough has risen turn it onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 16 pieces.
  5. Shape the pieces into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet lined with cooking parchment leaving a 2-inch gap between each roll.

Stage two.

  1.  Leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
  2. Heat your oven to 450F/230C
  3. Sprinkle the top of the rolls with a little sea salt.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops of rolls are golden brown.
  5. Cool on a wire rack, they are now ready to eat. So yummy slightly warm with proper butter.

Now that was easy, wasn’t it?

If sunny days are a little sporadic for you then I hope you enjoy them and find these recipes give you a little more time catching those rays…

Thanks to Carol for working away in her kitchen to share these delicious recipes with us…

©Carol Taylor 2019

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

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29 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Chinese Chicken/Pork with Water Chestnuts, Quick Pickling and Bread Rolls.

  1. Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    If you love pickles then I have a couple of different recipes for you using cucumbers, A lovely olive oil bread roll recipe and a couple of meat recipes, especially for those hot days…A nice Beer Butt Chicken…it would go down well with a pint or two….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was sold on the sherry in the Chinese chicken or pork recipe, but am not sure about the beer butt chicken – interesting pic but. Carol, your bread rolls look delicious. Thanks for the share, Sally.

    Liked by 1 person

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