Saturday, November 10, 2012

Photo Blog: Chicken Pad Krapaw + Thoughts on reviewing

Being a former film student, there are a lot of “classics” I have not seen. This list includes Titanic, ET, Schindler’s List, The Shawshank Redemption and Fight Club. For me, I can’t just sit there and watch film after film; I need to be in the right frame of mind. I tried to watch Anchorman the other day and I just couldn’t get pass the first 5 minutes, even though the film is meant to be hilarious.

I’m currently going through the Alien Quadrilogy. I have Alien Resurrection left to watch. Once that’s done, I’m going to put on my reviewing cap on and review all four films. I’m enjoying them a lot. I thought I’d hate them because I’ve never been that into science fiction. Although, I did enjoy Sunshine, but I don’t know if that’s just me being enamoured by Cillian Murphy.

I sometimes struggle with how much I reveal in my reviews. I read a bit of AV Club and while I enjoy them, I would never read them before watching something I’ve been looking forward to because I find they reveal too much or assume the audience has already seen whatever it is they’re reviewing. This is all fine because they want to generate discussions and interact with their readers. Sometimes to go into a bit more detail, you need to assume the audience you’re writing this review for has seen the film. If it’s merely to express if people should see it then, it really restricts you. When I review shows for artsHub, it’s for creative consumers who read reviews to gauge whether a show is worth going to (a balanced mixture of opinion and light analysis) and I find that kind of review to be quite tricky to write. I guess it’s all about practice.

I’ve never reviewed films before so this is going to be interesting. I mostly review comedy and theatre shows. I think reviewing a film or a TV show takes a lot more time. Some of the “how to” guides I’ve read on film reviewing recommend we watch the films more than once if possible, but I guess that just depends on how deeply we want to go into it.

On a completely different topic, I’m going to post up a recipe. My partner’s brother in law is Thai and ever since Liam and I started dating, I’ve taken on a keener interest in Thai cuisine. It's now my favourite type of food.

Since I’ve got a luscious bunch of basil growing in the backyard, I thought I’d use it today. The problem with growing basil in an Asian household is Asian cooking rarely uses basil. The only Asian cuisine that uses basil (that I know of) is Thai. They use holy basil, which is a bit different to the sweet basil we have here, but holy basil is so hard to find so sweet basil is a good substitute.

The recipe below is for a chicken pad krapaw, which is a chicken stirfry with basil. It’s very easy to make and when made well, it’s absolutely delicious. The one I made today was not as nice as the ones Liam makes, but I think I know where I went wrong with this one so the next I make it, it will be uh-muh-zing. A lot of restaurants offer this dish with random vegetables in it, which I absolutely hate because it’s not meant to have any vegies in it. If you wanted to be healthy and add vegies to it, it should either be some capsicum or string beans, not a medley of carrots and broccoli.

Chicken Pad Krapaw
2-4 serves


6-8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped (the more the better)
2 red chillies, thinly sliced (I used dried ones today, which didn’t have enough heat)
1 onion, thinly sliced (I used spring onions today)
2-3 chicken breasts, cubed (I sliced them into strips but cubes soak up flavour better)
1 Tbsp of oyster sauce
2-3 Tbsp of fish sauce
2-3 Tbsp of soy sauce
1 bunch of basil (the more the better)
Steamed rice, to serve

Heat up some oil in a pan or wok. When it’s hot enough, add the onion, garlic and chilli. Fry them until onion has softened and the garlic is starting to crisp. Add the chicken. Stir for a bit and then add oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce. Make sure to coat all the chicken. Have a taste of the sauce and add more oyster/fish/soy sauce if required. You can add a bit of sugar if you want it to be sweeter. Add some water if you think it looks a bit dry. Once the chicken is cooked, turn off the stove and stir in the basil. Voila! You have a delicious stir fry. Serve with some steamed rice.

Like I mentioned before, I used dried chillies instead of fresh ones. I’d recommend fresh chillies as the dry ones aren’t spicy enough. Fresh chillies also add a bit of colour. I also used spring onion instead of onion. I’d recommend you use onion for a bit of texture. I picked a few basil leaves from the backyard, and I wish I used more. Basil is such a fragile herb. It has a subtle yet distinct flavour and it doesn’t keep well. If you add the basil during the cooking process, the basil flavour will disappear. It must be added at the end, and make sure you add lots of it!

What is your favourite cuisine?

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