When I worked in Sydney, a mate and I would frequent China Town eateries. He is Chinese Malay, and would regularly order Hainanese Chicken with rice from the food stalls, and devour it with joy. It always just looked like boiled chicken to me, and I had no interest in such a simple dish when I was surrounded by all the exotic fare on offer, so I never ordered it.
I’d forgotten about this dish for a long time, but saw it again on the Australian TV show “My Kitchen Rules” cooked by couple of charming ladies (I don’t remember their names – they referred to each other as babes). The comments by everyone eating their dish were glowing. I decided there must be something more to this dish than meets the eye, so I’ve hunted down this recipe http://www.iskandals.com/eats/?p=7369 which also receives some glowing reviews.
The recipe on the link looks complicated, but the ingredient list is simple, and I’ve tried to simplify it a little more for myself. You could probably cook this as an evening meal, as the cooking time is under 1 hour. I’ll cook enough chicken to use later in the week when I’m back on my low-calorie diet. The chicken will be perfect for a Vietnamese rice paper roll, or just served with a simple salad. The broth can be used as a soup, or frozen and kept for later.
1 whole free-range chicken (I used 4 corn-fed chicken Maryland’s)
A thumb of ginger, peeled and crushed
1 stalk of spring onion
1 carrot, diced
1 tsp salt
Chicken stock (approx. 1 liter, enough to cover chicken in a pot, I added 500mls of water)
For the rice:
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (rice cooker measuring cup) Jasmine rice – good for at least 3 people but you can add more
3 spring onion stalks (not the whole spring, just the green stalks)
A thumb of ginger, crushed
1 tsp salt
Put chicken stock, carrots, ginger, spring onion and salt into a pot large enough to hold the chicken, bring to the boil.
Add chicken and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 35 minutes, then turn the heat off. Leave the chicken in the stock for a further 10 minutes, and then carefully remove and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process. Strain the stock for use with the rice.
For the rice.
Add oil to your rice cooker and fry the garlic and ginger until transparent, add the rice, plus enough chicken stock to cook the rice as per your rice cooker directions. I usually have the stock about 1 cm above the rice. Finally add the spring onion stalks, and cook until done.
Serve the chicken and rice with soy sauce and Sriracha on the side.