I am admittedly a self-confessed chicken lover (the meat, not the animal). When I’m out eating with the mister, I tend to end my meal by saying “Okay, I’m done”, which could mean either of two things;– one, I can’t finish up my food, or two, I can’t finish up my food because I’ve already eaten up all the chicken pieces I can find in it. Most of the time, it would be the latter.
And then there were those years of growing up when I would either find chicken on my plate, or a slice of fish fried to an immaculately crisp perfection that it could pass off as fried chicken, failing which, I would be left either pushing my food about in the plate, or simply taking a very long time to finish my meal. You could say I was a picky eater, or just simply a chicken-or-anything-disguised-as-chicken eater.
I remember visiting my grandmother, hearing her taunting me over and over again by saying that one day, all the chickens in the world would go on strike and simply disappear. And that I would be left with nothing to eat but vegetables. Though that obviously scared me to no end, it inadvertently only made me appreciate and cherish my chicken more.
These days I find myself traipsing around the kitchen, finding means to get acquainted to the myriad of items in the refrigerator, conjuring blurry mental visuals of the mother cooking, and thereafter concocting a mediocre (by that, I mean poor) semblance of the meals the mother effortlessly brings to the table every day. Not to worry though, because firstly, I’m the only one eating my own purported cooking (the sister makes the wise decision of takeouts for dinner), and secondly, the parents will be back soon.
Unfortunately though, due to the first reason, I almost always end up with quite an amount of leftover cooked rice. Fortunately for me though, due to the first reason, I found a perfect excuse to have dessert for breakfast.
Tip #1: Do not overmix
If I could narrow it all down to just one important rule in baking muffins, it would have to be not to overmix. Muffins are said to be the easiest bake, but all it takes is just some extra flicks of the whisk, and you’ve got yourself the driest bake. When incorporating the wet ingredients into the dry, there is a tendency to overmix because the ratio of liquid to flour is quite high. Mixing too much develops the gluten in the flour, which results in hard and dry muffins with ‘tunnels’.
You simply need to mix the ingredients just until the flour is sufficiently moistened. Some bakers recommend mixing no more than 15 strokes, but personally, a good sign to stop before you overmix is when all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl, and you still see some flecks of flour in the mixture. This is definitely not one of those moments you’d want to exercise your OCD tendencies;– the batter should be lumpy, never smooth!