Hainanese style chicken rice

Most Singaporeans love Hainanese chicken rice, in fact, many consider it the national dish. It's quite simple to make and to help matters along, there are even companies that package the ingredients in a ready to use format. All you need is the chicken and rice!

Prepackaged chicken rice

Chicken rice involves poaching a whole chicken, saving half the stock to make into a soup and cooking rice in the remaining. The chicken is then chopped into small pieces, seasoning poured over and served with the soup, rice, slices of cucumber, tomato and chilli sauce. For that authentic taste, a few pandan leaves will do the trick. Simple, right?

Here's how I do it-

Hainanese style chicken rice 


1.3 kg whole dressed chicken, skin intact
6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed with the side of the knife
2 slices ginger
2 spring onions
3 pandan leaves, torn, keep 1 for cooking rice (optional)
1 tsp Chinese sesame oil
2.5 litres water
1 tsp salt
Chopped spring onion for the soup

Chop off the wing tips of the chicken, give it a good scrub with salt inside and out, wash it. 
Fill a pot with 2.5 litres of water and bring it to the boil. 
Put the garlic, ginger, spring onions, pandan leaves, sesame oil and salt into the water. 
When the water comes back to the boil, immerse the chicken in the water and let the water to come back to the boil for another 5 minutes.
Place a plate over the chicken to ensure it stays submerged.
Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
Place the lid on the pot, simmer for 10 minutes then switch off the flame.
Leave the pot undisturbed for 35 minutes, don't open the lid.  
Towards the end of cooking time, fill another pot with ice cold water and add in some ice cubes.

As soon as the time is up, lift the chicken out of the poaching liquid and immerse it into the ice water. Change the water or add more ice cubes till the chicken is cold.
Drain it well and mop off excess water with a paper towel.
Rub some of the seasoning over the chicken and keep aside.
Strain the stock and keep aside, discard the solids.  

450 gm basmati rice
1 slice ginger
1 pandan leaf, torn
Salt to taste
625 ml reserved stock

Wash and soak 450 grams long grain fragrant rice (I use basmati) for about 10 minutes. 
Drain it through a colander. 
In a rice cooker, put in the rice, stock, ginger, pandan leaf and salt to taste. 
Switch on and leave to cook.

Seasoning for chicken
4 tablespoons light soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar

 Mix together all the sauce ingredients. Add salt only if necessary.

Chilli sauce 
12 dry red chillies, remove stalks and break into halves
1" piece ginger, peeled
4 cloves garlic
Vinegar, salt and sugar to taste

Soak the chillies in hot water for about 20 minutes.
Drain and grind along with ginger, garlic and some vinegar.
Transfer to a saucepan and bring to the boil, add salt and a little sugar to taste.
When cool, transfer into a small bowl.

To serve
Chop the chicken into bite size pieces. arrange on a serving dish, pour over the remaining seasoning. Arrange slices of cucumber and tomato around the chicken.

Boil the remaining stock, season to taste and garnish with diced spring onion. 

Serve the chicken with the rice, cucumber and tomato slices and soup. Don't forget the chilli sauce and some dark soya sauce.


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