I have a whole list of food that I am interested to try out in my little kitchen but had been procrastinating for one reason or another. I know it’s bad. I remember a phrase I learned in school : procrastination is the thief of time. So, I must try to break this bad habit, and turn my to-do list into real actions.
I kicked off with Hainanese chicken rice which is considered one the national dishes of Singapore, popular not just amongst the locals but tourists as well. I am not really a fan of chicken but this is one local food that I will think of savouring at times when eating out.
Yummy dinner last night – my first attempt in cooking Hainanese chicken rice
It was a very satisfying effort despite spending slightly over 3 hours in the kitchen preparing and cooking. The steps were a little bit tedious (if I compared with steamed chicken) but definitely not difficult. With DS giving me a score of 8 out of 10, I considered it a success although it was my first time cooking this dish. 🙂
My chicken rice was cooked with references made to the recipe published on Rasa Malaysia but I used a slightly different cooking method, and made some adjustments to the ingredients used.
I used a Sakura spring chicken which I bought from Fairprice Finest. A spring chicken is much smaller in size, and the meat is tender. So, that was a good choice.
This is how I cooked it.
Ingredients used to boil the chicken : pandan leaves, carrot, spring onion (scallion), garlic, young ginger, coriander and a cube of (Maggi’s 50% less salt) chicken stock to enhance the flavour of the soup.
Put all ingredients into the pot and filled the pot with cold water until the whole chicken was submerged under the water.
The chicken was seasoned with salt and sesame oil for about 15-20 minutes before cooking. I use sesame oil a lot in the kitchen, not just for seasoning but sometimes for cooking as well.
I used medium fire to bring the water to boil and then switched to small fire to continue boiling for another five minutes. After the gas was turned off, I left the chicken in the pot for another 30 minutes without opening/removing the lid. When the chicken was removed from the pot, I put it on a plate to cool but omitted the step to plunge it into cold water immediately for 5-10 minutes. I would prefer to minimize any risk of contaminating the chicken when leaving it in cold water. OK, may be I am paranoid!
Happy with the outcome – the skin was all smooth and shining and the chicken was just rightly cooked
The broth was then used to cook the rice, make vegetable soup and sauces. No waste at all.
While the chicken was being boiled, I seasoned the rinsed rice with a pinch of salt, one teaspoon each of sesame oil and cooking oil and mixed it well with 3 slices of young ginger, 3 cloves of garlic and some fried shallots. I didn’t use much oil for the rice as I didn’t like it to be too oily. As you can see from the photo above, the broth was already quite oily.
Then soaked the rice with the broth for 30 minutes before cooking
The chicken soup was cloudy with some “dirt” (as seen above). This was expected since the chicken was not blanched with hot water before cooking. So I used a small sieve to filter out the dirt before using the broth.
The rice was fluffy and nice although DS thought that it didn’t have the usual strong flavour from a good chicken rice stall/shop
Vegetables soup cooked using the broth, carrot from the chicken soup, corns and lettuce.
As for the sauces to go with the meal, I must confess that I took a shortcut, using what’s available in my fridge.
I used the bottled ginger sauce from Soup Restaurant which is really good and went very well with the chicken. As for the chili sauce, I used this hot chili Padi sauce which I bought in Malacca, and mixed it with some lime juice and the chicken broth to make it watery.
I was really glad that I managed to chop up the chicken neatly with just a medium-sized knife instead of a chopper knife. I picked up the skill of chopping a whole chicken (using a chopper knife) in my high-school days and it is something that I am still proud of myself although I haven’t done so since I left school. 🙂
We completed our meal with a bunch of Nagano-produced seedless Kyoho grapes which I bought from Isetan supermarket. What a treat!
Oh, we really over ate last night although we didn’t actually finish all the food. A night walk at the park nearby, after dinner, was a nice way to end our day and make us feel a little less guilty from all the extra intake of calories! 🙂