April 7, 2010

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice is a very popular Chinese dish. Like other traditional dishes, such as Spaghetti Bolognese, Curry Laksa and  Osso Bucco, everybody has their 'way' of cooking and serving it, but all still produce an extremely delectable and satisfying dish. 

After watching Poh Ling Yeow from Masterchef put her spin on the classic, I decided to try out her recipe at home. I found her technique made quite an oily dish, and felt very parched by the end of the meal! I endeavour to test many versions of making Hainanese Chicken Rice to familiarise myself with its components and come up with the best way for me to cook it - with efficiency and maximum effectiveness!

For this recipe, it is best to buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself. I found a video on CHOWHOUND that shows you how to do this - make sure you don't follow the step where she cuts the Maryland in half!

Serves 2:

For the Steamed Chicken:
- 2 Chicken Marylands
- 1 spring onion, roughly chopped
- 3cm piece ginger, grated
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 tbs Shao Xing Wine
- 2 tbs light soy sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil

For the Chicken Stock:
- 2 chicken wings
- 2 chicken breasts, skin removed, roughly chopped
- 1 chicken carcass
- 1 cup pre-made chicken stock
- 5cm piece ginger, thickly sliced
- 4 spring onions, green part only, roughly chopped

For the Rice:
- 2 tbs peanut oil
- Skin from one chicken breast
- Parson’s nose of chicken
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 2cm piece ginger, grated
- 1 cup Jasmine rice

For the Chilli Dipping Sauce:
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 red banana chilli, roughly chopped
- 2 tbs caster sugar
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- ½ tsp peanut oil

For the Ginger and Spring Onion Dipping Sauce:
- ¼ cup peanut oil
- 3cm piece ginger, finely shredded
- 2 spring onions, green part only, 3cm pieces, finely shredded

To serve:
- Sliced spring onions
- 3 large wombok leaves, trimmed and blanched
- ½ tbs deep fried shallots
- 2 tbs kecap manis

For the steamed chicken, fill a wok half way with water, place a wire rack on top, making sure water does not touch the rack (As a substitute, I placed a heatproof bowl upside down in the water in a large pot). Place a shallow bowl with the chicken pieces, on top of the rack (or upside down bowl). Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl to make a marinade. Pour marinade over and around the chicken. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

For the chicken stock, place all ingredients in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover the chicken bones. Simmer over medium heat for 40 minutes. Strain and set the stock aside.

Instead of using a cup of pre-made chicken stock like Poh, I added a couple of carrots, Chinese white radish and an onion to the stockpot for a more refined taste.

For the rice, heat peanut oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the skin and parsons nose, cook for 4 minutes. Then remove skin and parsons nose from the pan. Add garlic and ginger to the infused oil, cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden. Stir through the rice to coat in oil, and add 2 cups of chicken stock. Bring to the boil, cook partially covered for 5 minutes or until holes start to appear in the surface of the rice. Cover completely with the lid and turn heat down as low as possible. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove the pan completely from the heat and leave to stand, a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.

For the chilli dipping sauce, pound garlic and chilli in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir through remaining ingredients until well combined. Spoon into a dipping dish, to serve.

For the ginger and spring onion dipping sauce, heat peanut oil in a small saucepan over high heat, place remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and carefully pour over the oil. Spoon into a dipping dish, to serve.

To serve, cut the cooked Chicken Marylands into pieces, arrange on a plate and top with spring onion. Spoon rice into a small bowl, packing it down tightly, and carefully flip it upside down onto the side of plate. Line a small bowl with the wombok leaves, pour in the stock and top with deep fried shallots. Place kecap manis in a dipping dish next to the other two sauces.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

 Poh's creative way of serving Hainanese Chicken Rice

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