Wednesday 9 November 2011

Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice

Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice

This is undoubtedly one of the most famous dish in Singapore. This is considered as one of the two national dishes, the other one being chilli crab which is just as popular. When I have time to spare, I love recreating this dish. It's not that difficult to make, however, it is rather time consuming. The chicken are almost gently poached in a pot of water together with spring onions, garlic and ginger. This gave it a subtle fragrance and velvety smooth tender texture which just melt in your mouth. The chicken are then dressed with a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil. The stock made from poaching the chicken are then used to cooked the rice which is full of the chicken goodness...mmmmm.
Last but not least, is the unique piquant chilli sauce. Some might say that this actually make the dish, which is kind of true in a way, as I simply cannot imaging having this dish without the sauce. The sauce is simply a mixture of fresh chillies, garlic, ginger and a touch of the chicken stock and yet these simple ingredients create a magical sauce. I always try to make a big batch and keep them in the fridge as this is definitely better than any shop bought chilli sauce and it takes less than a few minutes to prepare.

For a more up-to-date version of this wonderful dish, click here

(Serves 4)

For the chicken:

1 medium chicken, weighing about 2.5lb/1.3kg
a pinch of sea salt
a piece of ginger, roughly 1 1/2in/ 3.5cm
2 cloves of garlic
2-3 spring onions or 1 small onion, halved
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, enough to submerge the whole chicken. Meanwhile rub the chicken with salt. Gently bruised the ginger by pressing it with the flat side of the knife . This helps release the flavour. Place the ginger and garlic  inside the cavity of the chicken, together with the spring onions or onion.

Place the chicken into the boiling water, cover with a lid and bring back to the boil and immediately turn off the heat. Leave the chicken covered in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn the heat back on and bring to the boil again and turn off the heat and rest the chicken for another 15 minutes in the pan covered. Repeat this process twice and then removed and leave to rest until cool enough to handle. 

To serve, carved the chicken as normal and arrange on a plate. Drizzle with a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil.

For the rice:

1 clove garlic, bruised
a piece of ginger, roughly 1 in/ 2.5cm, bruised
a drizzle sunflower oil or vegetable oil
6oz/ 175g rice, preferably Basmati or Thai fragrant
3/4 pint / 450ml chicken stock (from above)

In a pan, heat up the oil and gently fry the garlic and ginger, making sure not to brown them. Stir in the rice and fry for a minute. Add the chicken stock and cook over a medium heat without covering for about 10 minutes. Reduced the heat to its lowest and cover with a lid. Cook for a further 10 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy and tender. Remove the ginger and garlic and serve.

For the fresh chilli sauce:

4 large fresh red chillies, deseeded
1 small clove garlic
a piece of ginger, roughly 5cm, peeled
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp chicken stock (from above)
seas salt
pinch of sugar

Put all ingredients into a blender and pulse into a paste. Season with salt to taste.

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