Recipe: Hainanese Chicken

A Chinese dish that was popularized by Singapore. The Southeast Asian country even named it as its national dish. When visiting Singapore, your trip is not complete without eating this delicious dish at any of the many hawker centers in this small nation. Aside from the chili crab, which I love and hope to make one soon, the hainanese chicken is now a staple dish all over Asia (including the Philippines) because of its popularity. In my version, I did not put the chicken in an ice bath because I still like eating chicken hot or at least, warm. Here’s my version, tweaking this recipe from Epicurious a bit.

Ingredients

Chicken
1 whole chicken (1-1.5 kg./2.2-3.3 lbs.)
1 medium sized ginger root cut into ¼-inch thickness (you will need four pieces)
1 leek stalk
Water
Salt and pepper

Rice
2 cups Jasmine rice
1 small red onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Chicken broth

Side
1 cucumber
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
Ground black pepper

Sauces
Chili
6 pcs. dried Thai chilies
1 small red onion
1 tsp. salt
Juice of one lime
1 tbsp. hot sauce (I used Tabasco)

Soy
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. Sesame oil

Ginger
1 small ginger root, grated
1 tsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. sesame oil

Procedure

CHICKEN
1. Pat chicken dry and rub around a tablespoon of salt all over the chicken and its cavity. Slice leek into 3-inch lengths and put inside the chicken’s cavity along with two slices of ginger.
2. Get a pot that the whole chicken will fit in. Fill it with water and put the chicken inside. Make sure the water level barely covers the chicken completely. Put 1 tbsp. of salt in the water and another two slices of ginger. Put over heat and wait until it boils. Once it boils skim off the scum on the top of the broth. Lower hit and simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and remove chicken from the broth and set aside. Season broth according to taste.

RICE
1. Wash rice in running water then drain well.
2. In a small pot, sauté garlic and onion in vegetable oil.
3. Pour in the washed rice stir well.
4. Get two cups of the chicken broth and pour into the pot. Stir, cover, and leave to cook for about 20 minutes over low heat. After 20 minutes, remove from heat and using a fork, fluff rice. Cover again and let it to steam further, about 10 minutes.

SAUCES
(Do these while chicken and rice are cooking to save time)
1. Throw in chilies, onion, lime juice, and salt in a small food processor. Blitz until well combined.
2. Put in a small bowl and add hot sauce. Stir and set aside.

Soy
Combine soy sauce and sugar, stir until sugar melts. Add sesame oil and mix well. Put in a small bowl aside.

Ginger
Combine all ingredients together, give it a stir, and set aside. Put in a small bowl or sauce bowl and set aside.

SIDE
1. Rinse cucumber well then using a kitchen mandolin or a y-peeler, slice cucumber into thin ribbons.
2. Combine water, vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well until sugar melts.
3. Dress the cucumber with the vinegar mixture, toss well until each ribbon is covered with the liquid. Drain excess liquid and put in a dry bowl. Set aside.

SERVE
1. Chop chicken into six pieces.
2. Plate rice, chicken, and cucumber. Garnish rice with coriander leaf and serve sauces on the side.
3. Enjoy!

Serves 6

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