Hainanese chicken rice is Maddie’s favorite dish in Singapore. Here’s what she has to say about it in Chapter Two:
“From the first time she’d tasted this particular meal—one of the country’s national dishes—Maddie was addicted. The plain poached chicken over rice looked simple. But the gingery, garlicky, oily, fragrant goodness of the white chicken meat—even without the skin she had removed from it—and the savory rice boiled in the same broth won her over. She had already eaten the dish five times since she’d arrived in Singapore.”
This recipe is my attempt to capture that deliciousness. It might not be the most authentic–different ingredients, the taste of the water, etc.–but if you make it with love, the meal is sure to satisfy.
– medium whole chicken (organic, if possible)
– Kosher salt
– 1 thumb ginger, peeled and sliced
– 3-4 stalks green onions, sliced
– 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
– several cloves of garlic
– vegetable oil
– soy sauce
– sesame oil
For the chicken:
1. Exfoliate the chicken by rubbing salt all over until smooth. Rinse and pat dry.
2. Season the entire bird inside and out with salt. This will also season the broth, so salt generously. Stuff the cavity with sliced ginger and scallions.
3. Place in a big pot and fill with water up to 1 inch above the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer immediately. Remove the scum as soon as it rises. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone is 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Prepare an ice bath and place the chicken in to stop the cooking process and tighten the skin. Set aside.
For the rice:
1. Clean the rice until the water is less cloudy (2-3 times). Soak the rice, then drain after 10 minutes.
2. Sauté minced ginger and garlic in vegetable oil or chicken fat. Add drained rice and fry for one minute. Season with salt. Pour two cups of reserved broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep covered and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
If you have a rice cooker, follow instructions up to pouring the broth.
For the dipping sauces:
1. Combine Sriracha, lime juice, sugar, salt, couple of tablespoons of broth, garlic, and ginger in a blender. Give it a whirl.
2. Grate peeled ginger and finely mince garlic. Combine with a dash of salt and vinegar. Cook in hot oil for a few seconds.
3. Mix light soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.
Ready to serve!
Spoon rice on a plate. Cut chicken into serving pieces and place on top of the rice. Pour soy sauce mixture over it. Garnish with cucumber or parsley. Serve with soup and dipping sauces.
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