I ate Hainaese Chicken Rice a lot as a kid and I often crave it. The chicken is smooth and silky and the rice is fragrant and full of flavour and you get a bowl of comforting broth to sip on with your meal. Because it is not fast food (slow, slow food) not many restaurants offer it.
I roughly followed this recipe that I found online. I couldn’t bear for the water to get cold (scared that the chicken wouldn’t get cooked enough) so I turned it up to a simmer at about the half way mark and then back off. I used chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 whole (3- to 4-pound) chicken, trimmed of excess fat
Several cloves smashed garlic, plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Several slices fresh ginger, plus 1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 cup peanut oil, or neutral oil, like corn or canola
3 shallots, roughly chopped, or a small onion
2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cup minced scallions
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons sesame oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add chicken to pot along with smashed garlic and sliced ginger. Bird should be completely submerged, but only just. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let bird remain in water for 45 minutes to an hour, covered, or until it is cooked through. Remove chicken from pot, reserve stock, and let bird cool to room temperature.
- Put half the peanut oil in a skillet over medium heat; you may add trimmed chicken fat to this also. When oil is hot, add remaining garlic, along with shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add rice and cook, stirring, until glossy.
- Add 4 cups reserved chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover; cook for about 20 minutes, until rice has absorbed all liquid. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
- Make a dipping sauce of remaining oil, ginger, half the scallions and a large pinch of salt.
- Shred or chop chicken, discarding skin. Put rice on a large platter and mound chicken on top of it; decorate platter with cucumbers, tomatoes, remaining scallions and cilantro. Sprinkle sesame oil over all and serve with dipping sauce.
Yield: 4 to 8 servings.
Weekday Lunch: Hainese Chicken Rice for one
Yes! You can cook chicken rice for 1 person. Who knew?! It takes a while (an hour and a half) which is probably why it’s usually cooked for many. I had the day off work so I could chaperone these drumsticks as they blossomed into something wonderful.
2 drumsticks with chicken rice, cabbage was cooked in chicken broth.
Dipping sauce: rice vinegar, black vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger.