This is one of our favourite dishes. We usually buy it at food halls as ‘Hainanese Chicken Rice‘, but it’s also fun and relatively easy to make at home. The first time I tried this was in Malaysia, ordered by my Mum via hotel room service. The first time the other half of space wildschwein tasted it was at a food hall in Fremantle. We’ve all loved it ever since.
It tastes really medicinal, like something you’d eat if you had a cold. The flavours are fresh and wholesome, with the ginger, garlic and spring onions adding a zesty herbal taste which is somehow simultaneously full of flavour and cleansing to the palate. A perfect, nourishing meal after another lovely Spring day spent gardening and catching up with family. The recipe follows…
1.5kg whole chicken
1 litre chicken stock (or water for a milder taste)
Salt to taste
6 cloves garlic, halved
a few slices of fresh ginger
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 cups of long grain white rice
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Place the chicken in a suitable sized pot and cover it with chicken stock or water. Add the garlic, ginger and peppercorns and a little salt.
- Put a lid on the pot and put over a medium heat. Bring it slowly to the boil, and when boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow the chicken to poach in the liquid for 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken and strain the cooking liquid, reserving it for later.
- Brush the chicken with a combination of light soy, dark soy and sesame oil and put aside to rest. (Note: generally this method of cooking does leave a touch of pink around the bone. If you’re really not keen on this, simmer the bird for 30 minutes instead of 15 at step 2.)
- Place rice into another pot and add three cups of the strained chicken cooking liquid. Cover and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat to the lowest setting and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Don’t remove the lid until the 15 minutes are up. When finished, turn off the heat.
Any remaining cooking liquid from the chicken can be seasoned with salt and served as a soup. Add some sliced spring onions for a fresh, herbal touch.
We served our carved up chicken on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce with some chopped spring onions mixed through.
Serve the rice neatly to the side of the chicken.
We served this with a couple of small sauce dishes on the side to dip the chicken into and/or drizzle over the rice. We used:
– Sweet soy sauce & grated fresh ginger (mixed together)
– Chinese chilli sauce