Hainanese chicken rice is often called Singapore’s national dish and it’s not hard to see why. From hawker centres to luxury restaurants, you can satisfy your chicken rice craving practically anywhere on the island.
Naturally, it’s easy to be intimidated by the thought of attempting this popular dish. But there’s no need to worry, because even inexperienced cooks can pull this off. After all, the beauty of this dish, which is now beloved the world over, lies in its simplicity.
We begin by steaming or boiling a chicken and saving the broth to cook the rice in. Hainanese chicken rice would not be complete without the the dipping sauces—chilli with garlic, soy sauce, and pounded ginger. Though the chicken resting on a fragrant bed of rice is sumptuous enough to eat on its own.
How To Make Hainanese Chicken Rice
Makes 2 to 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
For the dipping sauces:
4 long, fresh, red chillies
2 tsp of fresh ginger, chopped and peeled
1 medium garlic peeled, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ cup of fresh lime juice
2 tbsp of olive oil
For the Chicken and broth:
3 tsp of salt
4 quarts or 1 litre of water
3 slices of fresh ginger, mashed
Spring onion stalks
For the rice:
2 cups of Jasmine rice
1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, sliced thinly
½ english cucumber, sliced
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
½ tablespoon soy sauce
Spring onions or cilantro leaves for the garnish
1 Chicken neck
Here's how to make it
For the chicken and broth:
1. Begin by removing any fat or giblets from the chicken cavity. (Remember to save this because it will help flavour the rice and serve as your soup later on.)
2. Using a teaspoon of salt, exfoliate the chicken by giving it a good rubdown. This results in a smooth texture and helps clear your chicken’s skin of stray feathers, etc.
3. Rinse the chicken thoroughly under cold, running water.
4. Take a 6 to 8-quart pot, fill it three-fourths of the way with water, then add two teaspoons of salt and some ginger, then bring it to a boil.
5. Place the chicken, breast down, into the boiling water, making sure it’s covered entirely.
6. Blanch the chicken for about 2 minutes to cook the outer layer.
7. Then, turn off the heat and remove the chicken from the pot using a pair of tongs.
8. Set the chicken down on a plate.
9. Rinse it with cold, clean water thoroughly, making sure to let the water run into the chicken cavity, until it is no longer warm.
Boiling the chicken:
1. Once done, return the chicken into the pot and boil it once again.
2. Then add a pinch of salt, slices of ginger, spring onion stalks, and garlic.
3. Boil it all over again for 30 minutes, leaving the pot covered.
4. Set the pot aside for another 30 minutes to let it cool, covered. (I know it’s tempting, but don’t lift the lid to take peek.)
While waiting, make the rice...
1. While the chicken is cooking, you can start making your rice.
2. But instead of the usual water, use the chicken stock you have saved up to cook your rice in.
3. Add two cloves of garlic and ginger slices o boost flavour!
4. Set your rice cooker to cook.
When the chicken is done, note that it will be super hot, so let it cool for about 10 to 12 minutes before cutting it up into serving slices.
Once the rice is done, remove the garlic cloves and ginger slices, all of which only served the purpose of infusing more flavour to the rice. Then, fluff the rice up!
For the dipping sauces:
1. Ginger + olive oil + lime juice = Place 2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger in a small serving dish and drizzle it with olive oil and lime juice. You can also add salt to taste.
2. Soy sauce + sesame oil = Mix premium soy sauce and sesame oil (to taste) and pour over the chicken or pour into a small serving dish.
3. Garlic chilli dip = Combine four red chillies, seeded and chopped, with garlic, lime juice, ginger in a small serving dish. You can also sprinkle a bit of sugar in your sauce.
Garnish your chicken rice with spring onions or cilantro leaves. Slice cucumber thinly or cut them up into bite-sized pieces.
Serve and enjoy!