Hainanese Chicken Rice
Makes 4-6 portions
1 whole free range corn fed chicken - without giblets, we used a 1.5kg bird
4 pandan leaves, tied into knots - 2 for the chicken, 2 for the rice
1 inch fresh ginger
1 tbsp fine sea salt
4 spring onions – spilt into green and white parts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp finely ground white pepper
For the Rice:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced into paste
1 inch section of ginger
720g jasmine rice or long grain rice (approx. 2 cups)
720ml reserved chicken poaching stock
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp chicken fat - from inside the chicken*
For the Chilli Sauce:
2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp reserved chicken poaching stock
2 tsp caster sugar
4 tbsp sriracha chilli sauce
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and sliced
1 bunch of fresh coriander
2 baby gem lettuce hearts – washed and separated into leaves
1 tbsp sesame oil
finely julienne spring onions (reserved white parts)
finely julienne ginger
1 cucumber - thinly sliced or cut into batons
dark soy sauce
1. Heat up a pan or wok with the oil, and slowly render the chicken fat. In the meantime, mince or finely crush the garlic into a paste and add into the hot rendered fat along with the ginger to sweat. Don’t colour it too much, as you’re aiming to infuse here.
2. Place rice into a large bowl, and fill with cold water. Use your hands to move the rice around in the bowl, and you’ll see the water going cloudy. Rinse the water, refresh with new water and do this two more times until the water becomes a little clearer. Drain, and add the rice to the wok and sauté for a minute.
3. If your using a rice cooker like I am, add the rice, garlic and ginger mix into the rice cooker and set aside for later. If your using a pan, just place this into a pan ready to use when the chicken stock is ready*
4. For the chicken, remove the wishbone and rub generously with salt inside and outside. Stuff with the green parts of the spring onion (setting aside the white parts for garnishing the dish), 2 pandan leaves, ginger and garlic.
5. Heat up a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Carefully place the chicken into the boiling water and poach for 25 minutes or until the meat reaches 73c on the bone. The time it will take to reach this temperature will depend entirely on the size of your chicken. Remember to remove any scum that comes to the surface.
6. Once it’s come to temperature, turn the heat off completely, and cover the pot with a lid and set to poach further for another hour.
7. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the garnishes and sauces. For the sauce, add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
8. Remove some of the stock water from the poached chicken and finish cooking the rice. Add the stock to the rice cooker and set to cook. If your using a saucepan, bring the stock and rice mix to a boil, turn it down immediately to low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, still covered, let it steam for 5-10 minutes more. Give it a ruffle at the end to make it fluffy.
9. Now the chicken should be ready, remove very carefully (don’t hold onto the legs as they will most likely fall off) and place into an ice bath to tighten the skin.
10. Carve the chicken by removing each the legs, then slicing down the crown to remove each breasts and wings. Slice and drizzle some sesame oil on top.
11. For the soup, strain the stock and heat up a portion in a saucepan with the white pepper. Season with salt if necessary. Add baby gem lettuce to the soup very last minute.
12. Serve with the chilli sauce, finely julienne ginger and spring onion, soup, dark soy sauce, cucumber, coriander and fresh rice.
*If your chicken doesn’t have much or any chicken fat reserves inside the cavity, you can buy some extra chicken skin, or wings and render the fat from them.
If you don’t want the chicken to be served cold, carve when you remove from the stock water – however by placing it into an ice bath, means the skin goes tight and much easier to carve neatly. I tend to heat up the chicken soup and drizzle a little over my meat before I serve to give it a warmer edge.
Make sure the chicken is just about covered with the water by an inch – I’m using a very wide stock pot in this video therefore it required more water and I didn’t want to have a weak stock so I had a little under in the video. I made sure the chicken was cooking by lapping it occasionally with the water while it cooked then covered with a lid when it required.