March 30, 2010

A Disney Story & Oven-Baked "Fried" Chicken With Sweet Wasabi Sauce

Looking back at my last post, I realized it’s been more than a week since I last spoke to this little journal of mine. Phew! I’ve been swarmed by unfinished business in the past couple of weeks. As a self-proclaimed “tomato-canning feminist,” my body and mind are a union of a kitchen goddess and career woman (Orenstein, 2010). And good news: These deities in me are working hard to get along! It’s not been easy, but I’m learning a whole lot as a 22-year-old. (I know I’m too young to talk about these … Bah …)

I’ve also learned a whole lot during my 1-week sojourn down South. Continuing with my Disney epic, and in all honesty, visiting the South wasn’t the rationale behind the spring-break trip I once partook a year ago, initially. Together with four other pals, we were there for Disney World!

Disney World, the world’s largest and most visited recreational resort in central Florida, the U.S., is made up of four theme parks. Well, because I’ve got (literally) an album of pictures to share with you, let’s get the film rolling now!

What a pleasant surprise! We're greeted by these lovely people who can dance, sing (or lip-sync) and smile all the way through! Amazing! I don’t think I’ve got the stamina to put up such performance.

After a little bit of humming and jiggling to the music – in the wee hours of the morning – we made our way through the theme park …

… where all the classic Disney characters come to life!

At Cinderella Castle: Don't they look familiar?

Winnie the Pooh in action at a parade

Daisy and her little ducklings

Mickey, Minnie and I ... Nothing really grand about it actually ...

After close to 14 hours of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pooh and so forth, I was already pretty sick. It’s time for some REAL animals! No, no – no real mice, thank goodness! (Yea, I still spotted two or three Mickeys and Minnies in the “wild.”)

On a ride across the "savanna," there was this slow-moving ostrich moving into our way.

Llama, with butt facing my camera. Argh ...!

Never seen something like this before ...

The Tree of Lives, if I ain't mistaken about what it's called ... And, I don't think it's real ...

The "Himalayas." There, you can find one of the best roller coaster rides in the world! Love it!

Day 3 – Epcot and Downtown Disney Marketplace

After trotting our way through the manmade savannas, it’s time for a break from the “wilderness.” It’s time for some globe trekking and shopping.

Spaceship Earth, at Epcot

Glass Pyramids of Imagination!, at Epcot

Unfortunately, tragedies are inevitable. The camera battery died on me! Bummer! So, I can only bring ya around to part of this very lovely theme park. In fact, Epcot is my favorite out of the quartet. I so love, love to learn about different cultures from various parts of the world. As a poor scholar, the theme park's World Showcase gave me the opportunity to “travel across the globe” in less than a day.

Five young travelers parted and went their ways. At one moment, I found myself standing before a tall pagoda at the Japanese pavilion, enjoying Japanese meal for lunch. The next moment, I was there watching and cheering with the crowd at young Chinese acrobats. I roved. I watched. I listened. My ear was mesmerized by the yodeling accordion of the Bavaria. My eye was hypnotized by the riveting street performance in Rome. My nose was engulfed in the enticingly sweet aroma of fresh baked goods before a “Parisian” pâtisserie and boulangerie. What a romantic evening I had when a young French lad said “bonsoir” to me! *Fainted*

Made up of Lego bricks entirely. Impressive, huh!?

On top of that, I kind of went on a shopping spree at Downtown Disney Marketplace. “What!?” you must be thinking I was crazy. Yea, I kept myself sane with a purchase of four bars of 85-percent cacao dark chocolate and Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets – my first investment in a cookbook. And from then on, I’m officially a cookbook addict!

Action-packed. Adrenaline-pumping. Star-studded. What more can I say about this very theme park! We had a blast – the Hollywood style!

Hidden within the tower is one of the scariest rides I've ever had ... Well, for me, it was scary at least.

Some stunt show, which I can't quite recall what it was called. But, it was sure good!

Indiana Jones in action!

How I wish this was real! I never made it to New York City whilst I was in the States!

The 4-day Disney trip was fun. But, the only complaint I’d file is there was too much walking and too much to see in such little time! We rose at 5-ish or 6 in the morning, rushed to have ourselves washed and dressed, hurried to catch the shuttle, and crawled our way to bed at midnight. In the end, we were downright exhausted! Nonetheless, here’s a shout-out to my friends who gave me the opportunity to join in the fun!

A group photo: the five of us with the characters from Peter Pan

Albeit tiredness, we still managed to trudge our way back to northern Minnesota – all the way from Florida – with reluctance. We drove past the states of Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri and Iowa before wrapping our journey up in the Minnesotan freezer.

The flat Iowa, which is a famous agricultural state in the U.S.

As the only non-American writers for the newsletter at my university, I shared my thoughts with my fellow schoolmates by submitting a piece of writing on March 18, 2009. I’ve extracted some parts of the article that sum up the essence of the trip, from my viewfinder:
“Seeing is believing” is another cliché that has been worn out as time passes by. Yet, the essence of this good old saying still holds true. And, the essence of my spring break revolved mainly around this long-lived truth. …
“As an international student who has been living in the northern part of the country for more than two years, I have been hearing a lot about the South such as its climate, beaches, people, hospitality and food. And surprisingly for me, the Disney experience was not the most memorable part. Instead, it is the climate – of Florida specifically – and the opportunities to interact with the Southerners. …
The largest drumstick I've ever seen in my life, and it's turkey. Of course, it was shared among three girls. *LOL*
“Yes, it is true that Disney World hosts tons of different cultures at just one stop at its famous international village Epcot. You could “fly” from China and Japan to France and Morocco in just a few steps. But nothing beats authenticity – that is, when you are at the actual place to experience the real deal for yourself! And in my case, I am glad that I finally got a taste of the South – something I will surely bring back to Malaysia.”

The friendliest and funniest driver ever! I enjoyed riding on his shuttle. I miss his Hispanic accent.

To wrap things up – and to stop my long-windedness, I’d like to share with you this healthier “fried” chicken recipe, to add a little “Southern” flair here.

This “fried” chicken isn’t fried – it’s baked. Baking the chicken gives you fairly crispy, utterly satisfying “fried chicken for the ultimate “deep-fry” cravings without compromising your health! (Attention: The statement above is ONLY applicable to gluttons not deep-fried food purists.) I’ve made this twice, and with a little twist each time. For my maiden attempt, I followed the recipe a “T.” For my second attempt, I added this magic ingredient:

I shun product endorsement; I want an ad-free blog! Blogging is for fun, is a way for me to relieve my stress through writing, and it has to be ethical. However, there’s this one thing that I’d really like to share with you. I’ve been head over heels in love with Tony Chachere’s original Creole seasoning ever since my family friends introduced it to me in 2007. We heart the unique spicy and salty kick that you can find in KFC. I don’t know if it’s me, but I seriously think this Creole seasoning really does wonders – because it’s from Louisiana!?

My home-made Southern fried chicken, with Tony Chachere's original Creole seasoning, and these are REALLY deep-fried

I lugged it all the way from the U.S. I’ve used this Creole seasoning on my fish, chicken, zucchini and in my soup. It’s always been a hit in my family! Eventually, this canister of spices will be exhausted. Good – I’ve now found an alibi to build Creole seasoning from scratch. In fact, I believe Creole seasoning of any brand would work – not just Tony Chachere’s. So, let’s us keep experimenting in the name of cooking. In the meantime, without further ado, here’s the recipe for a healthier version of good old “fried” chicken. Enjoy!

Oven-Baked Crispy Chicken With Sweet Wasabi Sauce
Adapted From I Love Baking, by Emily Wong   摘自《香噴噴烤焗料理》。Emily Wong 著

4 chicken wings
4 chicken drumsticks
*I've tried using chicken thighs, too. But, you need to adjust the cooking time of course depending on the size of the chicken used.*

1 tsp garlic salt
Some fresh ground black pepper, to taste
**I experimented by replacing garlic salt and black pepper wholly with Tony Chachere's original Creole seasoning. Either way is just as good.**
**Please adjust the quantity of the seasonings above to suit your taste -- you need not follow the recipe to a "T!" What matters is the end product because you're going to eat it!**

1 egg, slightly beaten
60 g breadcrumbs, or adjust as necessary
***I used Japanese panko.***
Enough all-purpose/plain flour, for coating the chicken prior to baking

(C) -- optional
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp wasabi paste
1 tsp honey
  1. Wash to clean the chicken parts real well. Then, drain and pat dry. Marinate them together with (B) and set aside, covered, for at least 1 hour
  2. When it's about time to cook, preheat the oven to 210C. Line a fairly huge baking sheet with aluminum foil. An aluminum foil-lined baking sheet helps catch the dripping from the chicken, and also makes cleaning easier later on. Next, grease a large metal rack, which can withstand high temperature during baking, with some cooking oil. Then, place it over the lined sheet. Set aside.
  3. First coat the marinated chicken with flour, then followed by the beaten egg. Lastly, cover to coat the chicken evenly in breadcrumbs. As you proceed with this particular step, arrange the coated chicken on the greased metal rack
  4. Place the whole deal into the oven, bake chicken at 210C for 15 minutes.
    Turn over the chicken and reduce the oven temperature to 190C, bake for another 15 minutes or till done -- that is, you will see juices run clear when you poke a chopstick/skewer/fork into the chicken, especially the parts with the most flesh. Remove the whole thing from the oven once the chicken is cooked through.
  5. While the chicken bakes, prepare the sweet wasabi sauce by combining (C) together thoroughly. This is for you to serve the chicken with, but it's optional. Dip the hot/warm chicken into the sauce and serve immediately!
*** Notes: Based on the feedback I've gotten on this recipe so far, some of you find that the resulting texture of this baked "fried" chicken is far from ideal. What I can say is comparisons vis-à-vis between baked ones and deep-fried ones are, for me, unacceptable. The reason being without the additional grease that's used in deep frying, baked "fried" chicken won't be as juicy and greasy as those deep-fried ones. Well, think about the dripping that escapes from the bird during baking -- you're actually getting yourself fat-reduced crispy chicken to chew on instead! In the end, it's the same old conclusion: If you really are looking for that "authentic greasy deep-fried feel," go with deep frying. That way, you won't go wrong. As of now, I still have neither figured out nor found any other better way besides baking in order to get crisped-skin chicken without that additional fat from deep frying. Happy experimenting! Do share with us if you have better idea(s)! ***


tracieMoo said...

wow, pei-lin! you're finally posting some pictures of you :) You look so cute especially the pic with mickey and minnie! is this post for me? I really liked the whole thing. The pictures, disneyland and the healthy baked fried chicken!!
did the chicken remain juicy after being baked?

Happy Homebaker said...

I have tried baking 'fried' chicken a couple of times, the result wasn't that great, will like to try your recipe, I am sure it will be good :)

ICook4Fun said...

Seeing your Disney pictures definitely brought back some nice memories. I only visited Disney twice even thought I live 25 min from the CA one. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful pix with us Pei-Lin. Your oven baked chicken looks really good. For sure it is so much healthier than my fried chicken wings :)

homeladychef said...

Interesting fried chicken! I am cutting down on meat but look at this! May be i shall have chicken this week...

Quinn said...


I had a great fun time reading through every single word you wrote. Damn...,that drumstick is huge, I believe it's turkey, not chicken cuz if it is chicken, it's probably a mutated one. And the Creole seasoning...sounds useful and will add yumminess to everything. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if they have it in Aussie and I'm sick of trying to bring food related product over to Australia!

faithy, the baker said...

My son will love Disneyland in US! I hope to bring him there one of these days! Not sure if he can take the long plane ride there. :) And your fried chicken looks fabulous..would love to sink my teeth in them..don't ask me to make them though..cos frying stuff will get my kitchen very oily..LOL!

tigerfish said...

The Happiest Place on Earth may jolly well be a place where you yearn what you want to be? :P

I am satisfied with your oven-baked fried chicken this moment.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Good to see that you finally get to post this...isn't it fun just writing and putting up the photos? Enjoyed your post, and thanks for walking through this wonderful trip for us readers. :) Made me want to go DisneyWorld! Even though I've been to Disneyland 4 times now...I know it's nothing compared to Disney world! At least the castle at the front court is real...not a 2-D wall in Disneyland, hahaha...

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

A bit difference from Hong Kong Disneyland and much bigger in size. Your oven baked chicken looks really good. And your photo with mickey and minnie is cute and pretty!

Angie's Recipes said...

You are so YOUNG!!!
Never been to Disney...lucky you!
The chicken look so crisp and mouthwatering!

Cindy said...

Great blog, thanks for sharing with the world your love of Tony Chachere's! However, we humbly recommend no other Creole Seasoning will do like the original Creole Seasoning Mr. Tony developed so many years ago! Keep shaking!

Cindy Adams-Ardoin
Food Scientist
Tony Chachere's

Su-yin said...

This chicken looks absolutely amazing. I need to check out this creole seasoning!

qinyi said...

ooohh... didn't know that there was a difference between disney world and disney land! hahah :) haven't been there, but there again, i'm not a fan of theme parks.

your 'fried' chicken looks very tasty! it so happens that I have most of the ingredients in my pantry! i just need to find the time to make them ;)

the creole seasoning sounds like a kitchen essential. will remember to buy some if I happen to go to the US again! i don't think there's creole seasoning here in the UK.

noobcook said...

you make me miss Disneyland. it appeals to the inner child in many of us. your chicken looks good and crispy :)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hello! Thank you so much for stopping! Thanks for the feedback, too!

@Tracie: Thank you so much for the encouraging words! *LOL* The adjective "cute" has never been associated with me! Well, because there was practically no additional oil, the chicken remained surprisingly succulent ... at least to me! Of course, you can't compare it side-by-side with deep-fried ones! These baked ones still have some fats, but they didn't taste too greasy for me. Just right.

@HHB: Thanks for stopping by! Do let me know if you ever get to try the recipe out. But again, you need not follow it to a "T."

@Gertrude: Oh, bummer! I never made it to SoCal, not to mention Disneyland! =( It's just a matter of time before I revisit the U.S. to see my loved ones there. We're so gonna hang out together! LOL! I do love deep-fried stuff though I try to shun using this method to cook nowadays. I don't mind having deep-fried food once in a blue moon! ;)

Food For Tots said...

Thanks for bring me a visual tour of Disney World. I'm still experimenting my baked cornflake chicken. My son loves it but not my hubby. He doesn't like baked chicken breast. Maybe will try chicken thigh next time. Your end product looks really yummy and healthy too!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hello! Thank you so much for stopping! Thanks for the feedback, too!

@homeladychef: LOL! Actually, meat does you good if consumed in moderation. Once a week sounds like the golden rule!

@Quinn: Yea, forgot to mention it was turkey! Chicken hasn't mutated as of yet! LOL! Aww ... They don't have Creole seasoning in Oz!? Well, I probably wouldn't be surprised as it's a Southern U.S. thing ... I, too, hate regulations!

@Faithy: Yea, I guess both Disney World and Disneyland would be his faves! I know ... deep-fried stuff can give ya that unpleasant greasy feel upon consuming. That's why baked "fried" chicken is here to curb our cravings! Woot!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hello! Thank you so much for stopping! Thanks for the feedback, too!

@tigerfish: LOL! It may and can be ... But I don't think I'm a Disney person. I'd rather invest my dough in backpack traveling to discover different cultures and try their foods! =D

@Bee Bee: It was sure fun, blogging (writing + photographing + brainstorming) has always been enjoyable for me. I just wish my life isn't bogged down by work, it's been tiring y'know. What!!?? The castle in Anaheim is 2-D!!?? LOL!

@Sonia: Just like what I said to Tracie, I've never been associated with the word "cute" -- and now, "pretty!" LOL! Boy, I don't think you can compare the one in HK with the ones in the U.S. You get such huge differences out of them!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hello! Thank you so much for stopping by! Thanks for the feedback, too!

@Angie: Hahaha ...! Being young doesn't necessarily mean good! It may also tell you that I'm young and reckless - and naive!

@Cindy: Thank you for dropping by! Well, I personally love Chachere's, but I wouldn't mind trying others out. Nonetheless, I'll always have a big fan of it. Trying other things brings us surprises and we learn so much out of experimentation, just like science! =)

@Su-yin: Oh, do let me know whether the Creole seasoning is available in the U.K.! Looking forward to hear from ya soon!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hello! Thank you so much for stopping by! Thanks for the feedback, too!

@Qin Yi: Hey, there! I ain't a theme park person, too! In fact, I'd rather spend my hard-earned money in backpack traveling into some different cultures! Please let me know if you ever get to make the chicken! And get yourself some Creole seasoning on your next trip to the U.S.!

@noobcook: I know, to many, Disney World and Disneyland are THE perfect place to hang out at. But not for me. Well, you cook better than I do. LOL!

@Lai Kwan: Oh, can't wait to read more about the report on your blog then! As much as I love fried chicken, I can't have them too much ... =( ... So, I made the healthier ones via baking. These baked ones tasted pretty darn good!

Anncoo said...

Happy Easter Day! I've an award for you, please come and pick it up when you're free.

Jo said...

Love the pictures of Disneyland and wish I was there to enjoy all the fun I've tried baked "fried chicken" once and it's not bad. Way, way healthier than the fried stuff. BTW I've been a cookbook addict for the last 10 months. Join the club!

Tuty @Scentofspice said...

Your Disney pictures bring back sweet memories :-)

Oven Fried Chicken are definitely healthier but my old taste buds still prefer the not-so-healthy ones :-))

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Who does not love the Happiest Place on Earth? I have visited every single Disneyland several times each, save for the one in HKG. And with 3 kids, I have more reasons to keep returning! Pei-Lin, I have never had luck with ovenbaked "fried" chicken. But your photo just screams for me to give it another shot. Really well done, girl!

PS: You look so young. YOU LOOK SO YOUNG!! Can be my daughter!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Nice trip to Disney world, Pei-Lin! I like oven-baked fried chicken which is not oily and healthy!

qinyi said...

pei-lin!! i tried out your recipe yesterday! the chicken was crispy but it was a tad dry. not as juicy as i would like it to be. will use the same coating and cooking method but a a different marinate the next time i try baking 'fried' chicken! :)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Anncoo: Thanks so much for passing on the award to me! You've made my day! I'm so gonna have a good-night's sleep! Happy Easter to you, too!

@Jo: Glad that the pics brought you back to those good ol' jolly days! As a glutton myself, who ain't picky at the same time, I already feel good enough with baked "fried" chicken. *LOL* Woot! I'm not the only who's diagnosed with a severe case of cookbook addiction! Thanks for the feedback! ;)

@Tuty: Yea, I get what you mean ... If you're really looking for THAT deep-fried feel and texture, baked ones wouldn't help much actually. Baked ones just help curb our cravings, not wholly though. Thanks for the feedback, too. Glad that the pics have now made you feel nostalgic. ;P

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Ju: Hey! Actually, you can't really compare baked "fried" chicken with the real McCoy! I think without that additional oil, the resulting texture of the baked ones won't be as "juicy" as those deep-fried. So, don't blame yourself for nothing as it's all science in the working ... ;) But I'm well-aware of the perfectionist in us, it's driving me wild! *LOL* Oh, silly! Of course I don't mind having you as my mom! Hahaha ...! I'm just worried by the time you've met me in person, you may be thinking, "Goodness, is this an 42-year-old or a 22-year-old!!??" I'm THAT old-fashioned when it comes to wardrobe, a typical and simple girl-next-door. *LOL* And I ain't a Disney person, too!

@Ellie: Thanks for the kind words!! I love oven-baked ones, too! I'm not a fussy eater. I can't be labeled as neither a "gourmet" nor "connoisseur!"

@Qin Yi: I really appreciate the honest feedback you've given me here! I know one recipe may work for one but not for others! So, I can't claim that this is a foolproof, satisfaction-guaranteed recipe. Well, since these are baked, you can't really expect an authentic "deep-fried" feel and texture in the end product, especially without the additional oil like deep frying does. So, here's a compromise we need to make if you want healthier, less greasy food. I'm sorry to hear about how it turned out for you. I guess if you're really looking for that "juicy" texture in the chicken, just deep-fry the dismantled bird. On the other hand, if you wanna a change of taste, play with the seasonings! Remember Mamak's fried chicken? Try that! Happy experimenting! Thanks for letting me know once again! Love ya!

Rose Belle said...

I've never been to Disney World only Disneyland in California. Geez, there are so many places to see and do there based on your pics! Thanks for the recipe. I have Creole at home and using wasabi paste is a first but I'm eager to find out how well it will come out.

petite nyonya said...

Very very nice post! Makes me feel like I'm really in Disneyland. Well, almost!;). So nice of you to share so many pictures too! Anyway, if you ever manage to find that Creole seasoning here in KL, do let me know, would love to try this recipe!

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