Quick and easy: Adam Liaw takes the practical approach to family cooking in his new book <i>Adam's Big Pot</i>.
Quick and easy: Adam Liaw takes the practical approach to family cooking in his new book Adam's Big Pot.

Adam's Big Pot, by Adam Liaw. (Hachette, $39.99.)

Orange baked chicken

Serves 6

Sentimental dish: Orange baked chicken was the first meal an eight-year-old Adam Liaw ever cooked for his family.
Sentimental dish: Orange baked chicken was the first meal an eight-year-old Adam Liaw ever cooked for his family.

This is a dish with a lot of history for me. I made it the first time I cooked for my family. I was eight years old, and I remember bursting with pride as I put it on the table and saw my whole family enjoying their meal. I think that was the exact moment I fell in love with cooking.

6 chicken Marylands, cut through the joint to separate the drumsticks and thighs
¾ cup orange juice (about 1½ oranges, slice and reserve the leftover half)
Grated rind of 2 oranges
¼ cup honey
½ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp grated ginger
Salt, to season

Heat the oven to 190C (fan-forced). Cut 2–3 deep slits into each drumstick, to the bone. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the salt, together in a large non-reactive bowl along with the chicken.

Don't throw a wobbly: Coconut jelly, often seen at Yum Cha, is a cinch to make at home.
Don't throw a wobbly: Coconut jelly, often seen at Yum Cha, is a cinch to make at home.

Place a few slices of orange on a lined baking tray, and arrange the drumstick portions of the chicken on top (making sure there is enough room for the thighs later), season with salt and bake for 20 minutes, basting with the marinade after 10 minutes. Add the thigh portions, season them with salt, and bake for a further 30 minutes, basting all the chicken pieces every 10 minutes until they are glossy, browned and cooked through.

Rest the chicken for 10 minutes before serving.

TIP: A tablespoon or two of Grand Marnier mixed through with the chicken before roasting adds a touch of sophistication to this uncomplicated dish.

One pot wonder: The toasty toasty cumin in Adam Liaw's lamb chops with chilli, garlic & lime is enhanced by the heat of the chilli and contrasts well with the fresh coriander and mint.
One pot wonder: The toasty toasty cumin in Adam Liaw's lamb chops with chilli, garlic & lime is enhanced by the heat of the chilli and contrasts well with the fresh coriander and mint.

Lamb chops with chilli, garlic & lime

Serves 6

I love Australian lamb. It stands up to strong flavours and remains moist and rich even when cooked for a long time. The toasty cumin in this recipe is enhanced by the heat of the chilli and contrasts well with the fresh coriander and mint. Ground cumin can be substituted for the toasted cumin seeds, but it will have a milder cumin flavour. 

2 tbsp cumin seeds, or 2 tbsp ground cumin
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 large red chillies
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt flakes
1.5kg lamb forequarter chops
Coriander leaves, mint leaves and lime wedges, to serve

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frypan and crush them to a very coarse powder with a mortar and pestle. There should still be a few large seeds remaining.

Chop the garlic and chilli together on a chopping board until roughly chopped and well mixed. Mix the cumin and the garlic and chilli together with the fish sauce, lime juice, vegetable oil, sugar and salt and rub all over the lamb chops. Leave for 30 minutes to marinate.

Barbecue method: Grill the lamb chops on a very hot barbecue for about 4 minutes each side, or until well browned and cooked to your liking. Rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Oven method: Heat the oven to 200C (fan-forced). Arrange the lamb chops in a single layer on a foil-lined tray and bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking process. Scatter the lamb with coriander and mint leaves and serve with lime wedges.

TIP: If you prefer a leaner cut, this same rub can be used for a lamb backstrap. Pan-fry or chargrill the marinated backstrap for about 3 minutes each side (or until cooked to your liking) and rest the meat for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Coconut jelly

Serves 8-10

This creamy Cantonese jelly is lightened with whipped egg whites to produce a delicate texture. It's one of my favourite sweets at yum cha, but unlike many of the things you see going around on the trolley, it's a cinch to make at home, too.

2 cans (400ml each) coconut milk
30g powdered gelatin
1 can (400ml) evaporated milk
1 tsp coconut essence
1 cup caster sugar
3 egg whites

Pour one can of coconut milk into a large bowl, sprinkle over the gelatin and leave it to bloom for 5 minutes. Heat the remaining coconut milk, evaporated milk, coconut essence and caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, then whisk it through the gelatin mixture until all the crystals are completely dissolved. Place in the fridge for about 1 hour, or until the jelly has the consistency of thickened cream.

Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold through the thick jelly. Transfer the jelly to a 20cm square cake tin lined with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until the jelly is set firm. Cut into 5cm cubes to serve.

TIP: Mayonnaises, mousses and any other foods made with raw egg should be stored in the fridge and are best eaten within 24 hours, both in terms of food safety and flavour.