Saturday, 27 March 2010
My old Flatmate Natalie, who was Malaysian, used to cook this dish for us, its very simple and delicious. She used to just call it 'chicken rice', I understand its a widely popular dish across Malaysia, Singapore and parts of China. The Chinese call it Hainan/Hainanese Chicken and they tend to serve it bones and all. The rice is sticky and flavoursome because its cooked in the chicken fat and stock, this is an important element.
The chicken on its own is quite plain as the sauce is what give it added flavour and zing!
Natalie used to serve a bowl of the chicken stock/soup as a first course whilst waiting for the rice to cook and chicken to be chopped and served. I do this if I have guests. Alternatively you can freeze this for later and use it as a nice chicken stock for use in soups and other asian style dishes.
For the chicken
1 whole organic chicken - neck and cavity fat removed and kept aside.
4 or 5 spring onions/scallions (retain some for garnish)
1 thumb size piece of ginger, sliced
1tsp whole black peppercorns
punch of salt
For the sauce
1 red chilli, half sliced, half chopped
4 cloves of garlic, grated or chopped finely
1 splash sesame oil (if available)
1 splash light soy
Juice from half a lime
For the greens
3 or 4 bok choy, halved
splash of dark soy
splash of fish sauce
1 cup basmati or Jasmine Rice
1.Trim fat off chicken if you haven't already done so, specifically neck and inside cavity. Put aside for later use with the rice. Wash the chicken.
2. Chop spring onion and ginger and stuff into cavity of chicken.
3. Bring to the boil a large stock pot of water (big enough to hold the chicken) at salt and peppercorns.
4. Submerge the chicken in the boiling water, and turn down to a gentle simmer. Cover the chicken but be careful for it not to boil over. Turn occasionally.
5.Simmer for 45-50 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the juices from the leg area run clear.
6.When chicken is cooked, remove from pot and plunge in to a bath of ice cold water for a couple of minutes. This tightens the skin, stops the cooking process and keeps the chicken moist.
Retain the stock the chicken was poaching in for use with the rice (or to serve as a first course soup).
7.Remove from ice bath, drain chicken and remove excess pieces of ginger and spring onions from cavity. Set chicken aside.
8.Once cooled, slice down middle of the breast bone and and across to carefully remove the entire breast, skin and all. Slice into one inch pieces keeping the shape of the chicken breast and skin.
In a small pot render (fry) the chicken fat that you set aside early, after about a minute you should have enough oil to fry the rice in.
Put the rice in to the chicken fat and fry for approx 1min until grains start to go clear. Ladel 1 1/3 cups of the chicken stock in to the rice. Turn down and simmer for 11 minutes with lid on.
After 11 minutes turn off the heat keeping the lid on and let the steam finish off the rice.
When ready to serve, remove lid and whisk with fork. The Rice should be fluffy and slightly sticky.
Whilst you are waiting for the rice to cook you can prepare the bok choy.
In a hot wok or pan add a small splash of sesame oil or vegetable oil, add the bok choy with a dash of dark soy and a splash of fish sauce. Fry for 3 minutes until bok choy is slightly tender but still crisp.
For the sauce, combine ginger, garlic, chopped chili and mush together in a small bowl. Add light soy, lime juice & sesame oil. Top with chili slices.
Spoon rice in to a small teacup or measuring cup until tightly packed. Place upside down on your serving plate. Lift the cup off the rice gently.
Add one sliced chicken breast 3 bok choy pieces per serving. Garnish with remaining spring onions and sliced chili. Spoon over chili sauce to taste.
(Additional pieces of chicken left over can be used for additional portions or left overs.)