Dudestronomy. Have you heard of it?” Bjorn Shen (chef-owner of Artichoke and Bird Bird) asks. “It’s a portmanteau of dude and gastronomy. And dude food is all about elevating comfort, junky shit to high levels, using good ingredients, skill and creativity.”

For Shen, comfort food is key. That means no bulls**t, no diets, and if he had to give up food or sex, he’d give up sex any day. “I’m not very good at it anyway.”

Like for most of us, chicken rice is his comfort food. It is the basic of local cuisine, and so we got him and three other chefs involved in a cook-off (watch the video here). Chicken rice, done four ways. In part two of this series, we present you Shen’s version, a crispy Scotch egg over rich chicken rice risotto. A pretty simple dish with a lot of steps. Try it at home if you are up for it.

This is part two of a series of chefs we profiled this month (February 2017). Get your copy today at all good bookstores or if you wish, subscribe.

Bjorn Shen’s “The Chicken & The Egg”

What you will be making:

Hainanese scotch egg w chicken rice risotto, compressed cucumbers and chicken crackling

Master stock eggs

4 eggs (no harm making a few more in case some break)

½ cup light soy sauce

½ cup dark soy sauce

¼ cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

1 clove garlic

1cm slice of ginger

Dash of white pepper

2 cups of water

Ginger scallion relish

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup chopped spring onions (scallions)

1 cup grated ginger

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp salt

Compressed cucumber

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 dash of white pepper

4 tbsp water

1 handful cucumber strips or slices

Vacuum seal bags and a vacuum sealer 

Scotch eggs

600g minced chicken

1 egg

1 tbsp ginger scallion relish

1 tsp salt

Dash of white pepper

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

4 masterstock eggs

Oil for deep frying 

Chicken skin

1 handful of chicken skin

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of white pepper

Oil for deep frying

Chicken rice risotto

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium shallots, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tbsp grated ginger

2 cups arborio rice

1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp ginger scallion relish 

To serve

Chicken rice chilli sauce (or “just get from the supermarket lah“)

Calamansi lime

Ginger scallion relish

Coriander stalks

Spring onion slices

Sesame seeds 

Make the master stock eggs at least two days ahead. Boil the eggs in water for exactly six minutes. Remove and place straight into ice water to chill completely. Remove shells. Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil and take off the heat. Allow to cool slightly and then place the shelled eggs into this liquid. Let marinade sit in the fridge for up to a week.

On the day that you wish to cook this dish, start by making the ginger scallion relish. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan till it is smoking hot. Place the scallions and ginger in a metal mixing bowl and pour the hot oil over. Season with sesame oil and salt, and mix well. Set aside.

To make the compressed cucumber, you need a vacuum sealer. Place all the ingredients into a vacuum sealable pouch and vacuum seal. This immediately ‘compresses’ the cucumber and drives the soy marinade straight into each slice. The result is similar to what you would have achieved if you had soaked the cucumber slices in the liquid for a day. Call it an instant pickle if you will. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, simply marinate the slices the night before.

To make the Scotch eggs, place the minced chicken in a mixing bowl and mix vigorously with the egg, ginger scallion relish, salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 4 balls. Remove the master stock eggs from their steeping liquid and shape each mound of minced chicken mixture around each of the eggs. You’ll end up with a large meatball slightly bigger than a tennis ball. Repeat with the remaining three eggs. Roll these in panko breadcrumbs and chill for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, they would have firmed up a little. Deep fry at 170C till golden brown.

While the oil is still hot, rub the salt and pepper into the chicken skins and fry till golden and crispy. These chicken skins will go even crispier when you let them cool down.

The last thing you wanna do is make the risotto. Heat up a large saucepan and fry the shallots, garlic and ginger in the butter and oil. Once the vegetables have turned translucent, add in the raw rice and stir to allow the oils to evenly coat the grains. Add the pandan leaf to the saucepan. Then, ladle by ladle, spoon in hot chicken stock to cover the rice. Stir frequently. As each ladle of stock gets absorbed, keep adding another, stirring constantly. Around 15 minutes in test the rice by eating a small amount. If it’s still very crunchy, keep adding liquid and cooking. When the grains are nice and firm and cooked through, immediately remove from the heat and throw in the parmesan cheese, the last tablespoon of butter, and the ginger scallion relish. Stir well and season to taste with more salt if needed. The risotto should be creamy and wet. Add more chicken stock if the risotto is too dry.

To serve, spoon the risotto onto each plate, top each with a Scotch egg, a few slices of cucumber, a few shards of crispy chicken skin, several dollops each of chilli sauce and ginger scallion relish. Garnish with fresh coriander and spring onion, and finish each plate with a little squeeze of calamansi juice and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Photo credit: Daydream photography

written by.

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