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Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Fried chicken is what most kids and adults alike, claim as their all time classic chicken dish.  Who wouldn’t?!  The variety for fried chicken is just endless.  Our all time favourite when eating out would be the crispy skin chicken that accompanies the Vietnames Beef Noodle Pho.  But at home, mum’s usual friend chicken in soy sauce-lemon marinade is  your favourite.  That’s not discounting the breaded variety we have in our repertoire – using corn flour, eggs and bread crumbs!   

Now because the crispy brown skin of a fried chicken appeals to me, mum’s never been a fan of the Hainanese Chicken Rice.  But as the saying goes, there’s always a first time.  Mum tried this over the weekend and realised it is almost like the Filipino Chicken Tinola, except for the method and the over all presentation.  Mum was not going to try this dish if it were not for Steamy Kitchen’s amusing invitation to try it on.  And so mum did and you watched.  Rub, rub, rub away!  And everyone (adults and some tweenies) liked loved the dish!  Except some of you, who preferred the fried chicken on offer for that weekend lunch.  And the verdict?  The chilli sauce was the perfect accompaniment! Sweet, spicy with the aromatic flavours of ginger and garlic! 

The chicken.  Before, after and the clean pores.

Here are the ingredients for a superb Hainanese Chicken Rice, adapted from Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen
 1 whole chicken
  sea salt flakes/rock salt
4'' section of fresh ginger, in 1/4'' slices
2 stalks green onions, cut into 1" sections
1 tsp sesame oil

For the rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1'' section of ginger, finely minced
2 cups long-grain uncooked rice, washed and soaked in cool water for 10 min or longer
2 cups reserved chicken poaching broth
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes/rock salt

Chilli Sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice (we used lemon because there no limes at the market, at the time)
2 tablespoon reserved chicken poaching broth
2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce
4 cloves garlic
1'' ginger
a generous pinch of salt, to taste

 For this dish, Mum bought a whole corn-fed chicken from a favourite butcher in Eastwood.  Which I think must made all the difference with rubbing away the guck.  Most supermarket chickens seemed all ready cleaned and pores are gleaming so this was a good exercise.  The chicken still had a lot of grit and soft thin yellowish skin that came off with the salt rub.  After this, wash the chicken in cold running water then pat dry with kitchen/paper towels.   

Place sliced ginger and onion leaves in the chicken cavity and season with some salt inside and out.  Place the whole chicken in a large sauce pan, with enough water to cover the chicken.  Bring this to a boil and then turn down heat to simmer for 30 minutes.  Take the chicken off the stock and place in an iced bath to stop the cooking process and preserve the tight skin on the chicken – which is the highlight of a hainanese chicken dish.  After soaking for about 2-3 minutes, take the chicken off the ice bath and place a on large plate, and rub with sesame oil.  Set aside.

To prepare the chicken rice  (we used Basmati which was what we had in stock), sauté garlic and ginger in a medium sized sauce pan (with lid) in 2 tbsp vegetable oil.  Do not burn.  Add the rice and mix to coat.  Add chicken stock to the rice, enough to soak the rice.  Cook in medium heat for 15 minutes, adding stock as the rice dries up while cooking, but do not over do this as you might turn up with a rice congee.  Watch out so that the rice is still al dente and not overcooked and wet.  You should have a cooked rice with a light texture and with the aromatic flavours and taste.

While the rice is cooking, prepare your chilli sauce using the srirachi chilli sauce, salt,  lime (lemon), sugar, ginger, garlic and the broth.  Blend together using a stick blender or in a blender.  Set aside.

For the soup, strain the chicken stock through a fine sieve or muslin cloth and serve in bowls with finely chopped onion leaves.   Serve warm by scooping some rice on a plate, top with slices of the chicken, and some parsley leaves for garnish.  Serve with chilli sauce and chicken soup.

To make the chicken soup, strain the stock through a fine sieve.  Re-heat in the pot, season and garnish with some sliced shallots (green onions).

This recipe is also in Ptit! 

All recipes are on Petitchef

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