Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice reminded me when I studied in Singapore 25 years ago. After classes we always went to Far East Plaza to have this dish. I think it’s called Hainanese Delicacy, it’s one of the best stall in Singapore! I can still remember the chicken was so tender, juicy and tasty! The rice was so fragrant and it tastes very well with the chicken. Definitely not forgetting the salted vegetable duck soup too. I like the richness of the soup, it’s sour and flavourful, just simply delicious.

Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of poached chicken and seasoned rice, served with chilli sauce and usually with cucumber garnishes. It was created by immigrants from Hainan in southern China and adapted from the Hainanese dish Wenchang chicken.

I N G R E D I E N T S

F O R C H I C K E N & B R O T H

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3tsp salt
  • water
  • 4 slices fresh ginger, smashed
  • spring onion

F O R C H I L I S A U C E

  • 6 (3- to 3 1/2-inch-long) fresh hot red Thai chiles or serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

F O R R I C E

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 2tsp Asian sesame oil
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves or sprigs

H O W T O P R E P A R E

C H I C K E N & B R O T H

Remove fat from cavity of chicken and reserve for rice. Rub chicken inside and out with 1 teaspoon salt.

Bring water with remaining 2 teaspoons salt and ginger to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot wide enough to hold chicken.

Put chicken, breast down, in water and return to a boil, covered. Simmer chicken, partially covered, 20 minutes and remove from heat. Let chicken stand in hot broth, covered and undisturbed, until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Letting broth drain from chicken cavity into pot, transfer chicken to a large bowl of ice and cold water and reserve broth for rice and soup.

I put the chicken into the oven to grill the chicken for a while, don’t do it to long, just to get a nice golden brown!

Cool chicken completely, turning once. Drain chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into serving pieces

C H I L I S A U C E

Pulse chile-sauce ingredients to a coarse paste in mini food processor.

T H E R I C E

  • Cook reserved chicken fat in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until rendered, then discard solids. Add vegetable oil if necessary to make 2 tablespoons fat.
  • Wash rice under cold running water until water runs clear and drain well.
  • Cook shallots in fat over moderate heat, stirring, until browned. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, 1 minute.
  • Add 3 cups reserved broth and bring to a boil. Boil until liquid on surface is evaporated and small bubbles appear from holes in rice, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Cover and cook over very low heat until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand, covered and undisturbed, 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and cover.

A S S E M B L E D I S H E S

  • Shave as many long ribbons as possible from cucumber with a U-shaped vegetable peeler and chill ribbons in another bowl of ice and cold water 15 minutes. Drain well.
  • Stir together soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Bring 6 cups reserved broth and watercress to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan and simmer 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and let stand until watercress is a shade darker, about 3 minutes.
  • Drizzle soy-sesame mixture over chicken. Serve chicken with cucumber ribbons and individual bowls of rice, soup, and chile sauce.

N O T E S

· Chicken and broth may be prepared 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring chicken to room temperature before proceeding.

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