HOME-COOKED HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE

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

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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.

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Put all ingredients into the pot and filled the pot with cold water until the whole chicken was submerged under the water.

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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

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The broth was then used to cook the rice, make vegetable soup and sauces.  No waste at all.

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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.

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Then soaked the rice with the broth for 30 minutes before cooking

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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.

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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

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Vegetables soup cooked using the broth, carrot from the chicken soup, corns and lettuce. 

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As for the sauces to go with the meal, I must confess that I took a shortcut, using what’s available in my fridge.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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We completed our meal with a bunch of Nagano-produced seedless Kyoho grapes which I bought from Isetan supermarket.  What a treat!

Seedless Kyoho

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! 🙂

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