Hainanese Chicken Rice – A National Dish For A Happy National Day!

Hainanese Chicken Rice 3

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese chicken rice is one of the favourite dishes of local Singaporeans as well as tourists, some of whom visit the little red dot with a purposeful intent to try out this dish. What makes this dish special is the simplicity in its taste – soft, tender chicken skin and meat decked out on a plate of fragrant, oily rice cooked in chicken stock. This simplicity parallels the minimal amount of effort that goes into preparing the dish. In fact, what matters most is not the amount of time spent cooking the chicken and rice, but the skills required to cook them – knowing how long to cook them (especially the chicken) and how. Once you get the chicken and its stock right, the other steps would fall into place quite naturally – the rice would smell aromatic; the garlic chilli would be tart; the soup would be savoury too.

I hope you’ll find pleasure in making (and eating) this dish, just like I did.

Ingredients (chicken):

  • Ginger: 2 1-inch slices, peeled and crushed slightly
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, crushed slightly
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Spring onion: 2 stalks, knotted
  • Chicken: 1 (about 1.5kg)
  • Pandan leaf: 1 bunch, knotted
  • Light soy sauce: 4 tbsp
  • Sesame oil: 3 tbsp
  • Coriander: 2 stalks, chopped
  • Cucumber: 1, sliced

Method:

  1. Place ginger, garlic, salt and spring onion into cavity of chicken.
  2. Submerge chicken and pandan leaf into a pot of water, breast side down. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Once the water boils, switch off the heat. Cover pot with lid.
  4. Leave chicken to stand in water bath for 40 min. Turn chicken over at 20min mark.
  5. Remove chicken from pot of water. Set remaining chicken stock aside for use later.
  6. Remove and discard cavity fillings. Place chicken quickly into a pot of ice cold water.
  7. Leave chicken to soak in water for 10 min. Remove and chop into pieces.
  8. Mix light soy sauce, sesame oil and 4 tbsp chicken stock together. Pour this over chicken.
  9. Garnish with coriander and cucumber to serve.

Ingredients (rice):

  • Vegetable oil: 3 tbsp
  • Sesame oil: 1 tbsp
  • Ginger: 2 1-inch slice, peeled and slightly crushed
  • Rice: 3 cups, washed and rinsed
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Pandan leaf: 1 bunch, knotted

Method:

  1. Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in wok. Fry ginger till fragrant.
  2. Add rice. Cook till toasted.
  3. Add salt, pandan leaf and 4 cups of chicken stock. Steam 20 min till cooked.
  4. Garnish with extra coriander. Serve with chicken meat, garlic chilli, dark thick soy sauce and chicken soup.

Hainanese Chicken Rice 2

Tricks:

  • Use the chicken stock to boil the soup as a side dish. This can be done by adding in a couple of Chinese herbs such as wolfberry fruits or licorice roots.
  • Scoop a tablespoon of chicken soy sauce gravy over the rice to serve. This makes for a much tastier bowl of grains to gobble up!

Serving:
4 persons

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