Hainanese Chicken Rice
Hainanese Chicken Rice
The Hainanese Chicken rice originated in the south of China and its popularity has spread over to Singapore and Malaysia as well. It is also popular in Thailand and Vietnam. This dish is so famous in Singapore that it has become one of the national dishes of the country and an essential food item. Go to any food court in Singapore and you're bound to find this dish as is also the case in Malaysia.
I first tried this dish out in my early days in Singapore and was smitten immediately and was the one dish I would try out on my breaks to the food court and otherwise on other casual occasions as well. The aroma of the ginger, garlic and spring onions gives a splendid aroma and flavor to this dish while the chicken is the centerpiece of this dish, juicy succulent and flavorful - the chicken is something I always wanted more of in the food courts. The dish is served with chili sauce (or chilly garlic sauce) which adds a spicy touch to the mix - however I have split this into a regular chili sauce and fried the garlic in oil and added a little chili powder to it (I love this).
So, here's the recipe for the Hainanese Chicken Rice.
- 400 gms chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
- 4 cups rice
- 4 inch ginger
- 20 cloves garlic
- 10 sprig of spring onions
- 7 tbsp oil
- Salt (according to taste)
- 1 small cucumber
- 1/4 tsp chilly powder
1. Peel the ginger, wash it and cut it into half inch thin pieces.
2. Peel the skin of the garlic cloves and slice them finely. Keep aside 1/4 of the slices for the garlic oil later.
3. Wash the spring onions and cut the sprigs finely along with the spring onion bulbs.
4. Wash the rice and drain the water and keep it aside.
5. Clean the chicken pieces and marinate them with a little oil and salt. After 5 minutes, add about half of the ginger and garlic pieces along with a handful of the cut spring onions and rub them with the chicken pieces. The is your chicken marinade.
Instructions for cooking
Boiling the chicken -
1. Take a pan and add 20 cups of water to it, then add the marinated chicken pieces and start heating (at high flame, of course), with the lid on.
2. After 15 minutes, reduce the flame to medium and boil for another 15 minutes.
3. You will see that the water has reduced and the chicken is really tender.
4. After cooling, remove the chicken pieces and keep the broth aside which has the aroma of the ginger, garlic and spring onions
Cooking the rice -
1. Take another pan and pour 4 tbsp of oil, heat it and add the remaining half of the ginger and garlic, and the spring onions to it and fry for a minute - make sure you have a little bit of spring onions left to add to the cooked rice later. Add the washed rice to this and fry for a couple of minutes.
2. Add 8 cups of chicken broth to this and salt according to your taste and keep the remaining broth aside for your soup later.
3. Let the rice boil until the water evaporates and holes appear on the surface of the cooked rice., Add the little bit of spring onions and slow the flame at this point and cook the rice with the lid on till the rice is tender and well done. One thing I love all the while I am cooking the rice, as was the case with the chicken before, is the wonderful aroma which spreads everywhere. The rice is ready now.
Cutting the chicken -
1. Make longitudinal slices of the cooked chicken breasts (refer to the image of the top on how these ought to look).
Preparing the condiments -
1. Chilly garlic oil:
- 1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a small pan, add the garlic pieces we had set aside for this preparation earlier in 'Preparation' and fry till they turn golden brown. Switch the flame off. Add 1/4 tsp of chilly powder. The Chilly garlic oil is ready.
- Cut slices of the cucumber.
The chicken broth that we had kept aside after adding to the rice can be used here as your soup. You may add a pinch of black pepper powder to this.
Serving the Hainanese Chicken Rice -
1. Add your desired amount of rice to your plate and place 5/6 of the (longitudinally cut) chicken pieces on top of the rice (or on the side of it). The amount of chicken you add is really up to you though..
2. Place some cucumber slices on your plate.
3. Take a soup bowl and add your soup to it.
4. Take 2 small bowls, add your chilly garlic oil in one and chilly sauce in the other.
5. The Hainanese Chicken Rice is ready.
Hainanese Chicken Rice served with all the condiments
This has become an endearing favorite of mine as I learnt to cook this some time ago, because it is as good as what I used to have in Singapore. I made this for my family and got some of my friends to try it and it was an instant hit. So try this out, and you will enjoy cooking it just as much as you will enjoy eating it.