Saturday, 13 September 2008

'Hainanese' Chicken Rice



I have never been to Hainan or tasted the real Hainanese chicken rice. My version of Hainanese chicken rice is kind of fusion with Malaysian style and a touch of Cantonese. Can't really called it authentic Hainanese chicken rice maybe just Yummy Chicken Rice.

The fragrant rice has really filled the whole house this evening, I can still smell it after few hours.

There are several things need to be done right to get the right flavour the texture.
  • The chicken must be velvety soft and succulent.
  • The rice must be very fragrant.
  • Condiments are essential, I always go for a chilli ginger sauce and a Cantonese spring onion and ginger paste.
  • There is always a clear bowl of soup to go with the rice

For the recipe, (enough for 4 - 5)

A. The poached chicken and stock

1 whole chicken, about 1.5 - 1.7kg
1 chunk of ginger, sliced
water
some chicken bones
  1. Clean the chicken. Find a stock pot that will fit the whole chicken in.
  2. Fill the pot with water to about 3/4 full, bring this to a rolling boil. Add in the ginger.
  3. Gently put the chicken it, ensure the whole chicken is immersed in the boiling water, if too much water take some out, if not enough add more.
  4. Gently simmer (without a lid on) for about 10 - 12 minutes, don't let it boil. Turn the heat off, put the lid on and leave the chicken to poach in the hot water. After about 40 minutes, the water would have cooled down a bit, turn the heat back on, very gently simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes (without the lid on) to bring the water temp. up again, then heat off. Lid on and continue poaching without heat for another 20 - 25 minutes.
  5. The chicken should be cooked through now. Some Chinese like the chicken very pink so they will poach the chicken a lot shorter about 40 - 45 minutes all together.
  6. Take the chicken out and run under cold water to cool it down right away.
  7. Drain and leave aside to prepare the other parts of the dish.
  8. Reserve the poaching liquid, if you have some chicken bones add them in now and boil the stock for 30 - 40 minutes. Use stock for rice and soup.

B. The rice

2 cups jasmine rice (500 ml)
3 cups chicken stock (made as above)
1 tsp of grated ginger
1 tsp Knorr chicken powder (optional)
2 pieces pandanus (pandan) leaves (tied to a knot)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt

Rinse rice and drain.
Add stock and other ingredients, tuck the padanus leaves under the rice.
You can cook the rice using a rice cooker.
If you cook the rice using a saucepan, bring the rice to a boil, lower heat and let the rice absorbs all the liquid. Turn the heat to the lowest heat possible. Let it simmer for another 10 - 12 minutes. Heat off and let it stand for 15 minutes. The rice should be cooked then.


C. The chilli sauce

40 - 50g red chilli (I use Tesco large red chilli, 1 pack)
1 large chunk of ginger, about 30 - 40g
1 large clove of garlic
4 - 5 tbsp lime juice
4 - 5 tbsp water
2 tsp of light soy
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar

Blend all the ingredients together in a mini blender till smooth.


D. Spring onion paste

4 stalks of spring onion
1 large chunk of ginger, about 40 g
1 tsp of Knorr chicken stock powder (essential IMO to give the right taste, but if you don't like it leave it out)
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of each of ground sichuan pepper and white/black pepper
5 - 6 tbsp of cooking oil

Method:
  1. Hand chopped the spring onion till very fine.
  2. Grate the ginger
  3. Mix all the ingredients together and warm in a small saucepan for 1 - 2 minutes

E. Soup
  1. Heat the stock made earlier. Season with salt/soy and pepper. If you like it tastier add a pinch of chicken stock powder.
  2. Chopped some Tienjin salted pickled vegetable.
  3. Chopped some spring onion.
  4. Add pickled vegetable and spring onion into the boiling soup. Heat off. Ready to serve.



** Blanch or steamed some pak choi and slice some cucumber

To assemble the dish
Fill a rice bowl with rice. Invert onto a serving plate
Cut the chicken into pieces, put some on the serving plate
Add some pak choi and cucumber
Condiment dish for the chilli sauce and spring onion paste
Lastly a bowl of hot soup.


*** the red stuff you can see on the photo on the chicken is just some of the chilli sauce.

If any chilli sauce or spring onion paste left, it'll keep in the fridge for a week. If not can freeze.

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