Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Hainanese Chicken rice

  This may not be the most aesthetically pleasing dish,looks can be deceiving. I first tried this dish in Singapore, I'm not entirely sure why I decided to try it because it basically looks like an anaemic chicken fillet, a pile of rice and a few slices of cucumbers, at the time I thought that it was the healthy option and I have always enjoyed eating healthily, just as much as indulging. I have to say I wasn't overly eager to try chicken rice, even though it is one of Singapore's National dishes, but I am so glad I did. 
 Sometimes you try something and immediately have an out of body experience, you want to let everybody taste it's scrumminess, but at the same time keep it to yourself so you don't have to share, THIS IS THAT DISH. If there is one dish that I urge you to try it's this, it's chicken and rice, sounds straight forward, but this is an ingenious way of extracting crazy amounts of flavour out of a humble bird and some grains. The first time I made this for my husband he was extremely sceptical, this is now one of his favourite meals and a weekly must. Try it, you will not be disappointed It's stick in your mind fantastic.

For the chicken
You will need:
3 Chinese chicken stock cubes (available at any good Asian supermarket)
A bunch of spring onions
3 solo garlic cloves or a head of garlic
2 thumb size pieces of ginger
1/2 a white onion
2 lemon grass stalks
a bunch of coriander stalks only (save the leaves for serving)
a bunch of Chinese chives
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
4 1/4 pints of water
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy
I used a 1.8kg corn fed free range chicken.

In a large stock pan or cast iron casserole pan place all of the above items into it apart from the chicken. Pull all the excess fat off the chicken, such as the parsons nose and fat from the neck and cavity, reserve this for later. All of the items only need to be roughly chopped, you don't even need to peel the garlic, ginger or onions. Bring to the boil and add the chicken to the stock, boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken in the stock for 50-60 minutes covered with a lid to cook slowly in the residual heat.(I know this sounds like it will not cook but it will).
For the rice
You will need:
The Chicken fat from the bird
2 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tsp of salt
50g of ginger (peeled)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 a white onion finely chopped
300g white basmati rice
1200ml of the stock from boiling the chicken
1 tablespoons of light soy sauce
a pinch of salt

In a sauce pan pour one of the two tablespoons of sesame oil and add the chicken fat, cook on high so that the fat begins to render down.In a pestle and mortar crush the ginger and garlic with the sugar and salt, the sugar and salt acts as an abrasive.
Remove the skin from the pan that is left after rendering the fat, fry the onions until softened, then add the rice and stir well so the rice is covered in the chicken fat. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for 5 minutes or until the aroma of the garlic and ginger has begun to permiate the rice. Add the stock from the chicken, the remaining tablespoon of the oil, the pinch of salt and the soy. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes on a medium heat, the stock should have been absorbed by the rice, allow to cook for a further five minutes on low with the lid on so that the rice is cooked throughout.

For the sauce
You will need:
5 red chillies deseeded and sliced
a ladle of the stock from the chicken
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy
1 tablespoon of sugar
I use a few slices of the ginger and garlic from the stock.
In a small sauce pan add all the above ingredients and cook for ten minutes with the lid on.Blend in a food processor until smooth.

Serve with the chilli sauce, coriander sprigs, sliced cucumber, sliced spring onions and a drizzle of kicap manis.

It's perfection!


Anonymous said...

Your Aussie family loves this dish. Delicious x

Anonymous said...

This is the holy grail of recipes, thank you!