Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Updated December 14, 2013

Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of the best Malaysian comfort food, and most ingredients are easily obtainable in the US. Hainanese Chicken Rice is very popular in Malaysian and Singapore and it is usually served with some cucumber, soy sauce, chili sauce and complimentary soup. To make it your own, it's pretty easy although there are many optional parts to make up the delicious comfort food.

Since the husband chose to have Hainanese Chicken Rice for dinner 2 days ago, I've decided it's the perfect time to note down the ingredients, method and all of how I make my Hainanese Chicken Rice.  I usually like to use chicken thigh instead of whole chicken, but in this recipe I'll be using chicken legs (thigh + drumsticks) as that was what I had in the freezer. I usually make the fragrant/flavored rice in a rice cooker, so if you do not have one.. it's ok.. you'll just need to adjust your cooking method a little. I don't have the instructions for cooking rice in a regular pot, as I'm pretty bad at it. =( I believe there are 2 ways to prepare the chicken; by steaming it or by boiling it. I've always cooked mine the latter.

I make chicken rice (via boiling method) very often but I've never written down the recipe and exact measurements. However, due to some requests for the recipe lately, I know that I needed to put everything down on paper...and after posting a picture of the HCR on Facebook and getting an overwhelming response of "likes" and comments, I was glad I took the time to write the ingredients and steps on paper that day. My friends have requested for the recipe and I have to say I had a success story when my friend was very thrilled with the way her HCR turned out based on my over the Facebook rough instructions. I can't take all the credit as she did the cooking and made the adjustments... I just told her what to do and what to use!

The Hainanese Chicken Rice in Malaysia does not come with the ginger garlic/scallion sauce.  I first fell in love with this sauce when I ate a steamed chicken from a Chinese restaurant in Chicago. This sauce is quite commonly served with steamed chicken in Asian restaurants. So, I now always make this dipping sauce every time I make Hainanese Chicken Rice and the husband loves it! For a guy who likes spicy food, he prefers the ginger garlic sauce over chili sauce when he eats his chicken rice. As for the chili dipping sauce, I've always just gotten them from the store; most bottled chili sauce (typically from Indonesia/Malaysia or Thailand) works for me.

Here's the lengthy instruction to make some Hainanese Chicken Rice. The list will look tremendously long and tedious, but it's really not that bad...and will be oh-so-worth it once you sit down and enjoy your meal. Here's the recipe!

*Serves 3-4

Part (A) - Hainanese Chicken 
  • 6-8 Chicken Thighs
  • 2-3 Inch Ginger, Sliced
  • 10 Cup Water
  • 1-1/2 Tsp Salt
  • Ice Water Bath
In a large pot, let 10 cups of water and ginger come to a boil over medium high heat. Trim the chicken to remove access chicken fat and skin. Gently score the meat closest to the bone to slightly detach it to ensure shorter cooking time. Do not completely remove the bone.

Once water is boiling slowly add chicken thighs and salt. Make sure water covers the chicken, if not add a little more water. Let the chicken boil for about 15 minutes over medium high heat. Using a ladle, gently remove as much of the "white foamy scum" and as much fat from the soup. Then, reduce heat to medium low and let chicken legs simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until chicken legs are cooked. To test wether the chicken is cooked, careful remove a piece of chicken, and poke the chicken (nearest to the bone). If the liquid runs clear, that means the chicken is cooked. If pink juice flows out, continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Once cooked, remove from heat and place immediately in a ice water bath for about 5-10 minutes. Then, remove from ice water bath, let it drain, slice chicken thighs (bone in or out) and set aside.

Do not discard the chicken broth from boiling the chicken as it will be used multiple times throughout the recipe.

Part (B) - (Chicken) Flavored Rice
  • 10 Cloves Garlic, Chopped (About 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cups Uncooked Jasmine Rice, Washed
  • 2 Inch Ginger, Sliced
  • Chicken Broth (from Part A) sufficient to cook your rice.
  • 2-3 Pandan Leaves, Knotted
  • Pinch of Salt
In a frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp of Sesame Oil and 1 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and sauté until garlic is golden brown. Remove fried garlic and set aside. Do not wash frying pan. 

Over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of the fried garlic (and some garlic oil) into the same frying pan. Add sliced ginger and rice and stir fry the rice for about 5 minutes. Transfer "fried" rice into a rice cooker and add leftover chicken broth from Part A. Add pandan leaves, a pinch (or two) of salt, and turn on the rice cooker and let it work its magic. 

The remainder of the fried garlic (and oil) will be used in Part C for the Soy Dipping Sauce to go with the chicken rice.

June's Comments: Add sufficient liquid to the rice, as how you would usually cook plain rice. Don't make the rice too al dente, though. It needs to be soft, fluffy and fragrant. I've been using the pressure cooker to make my rice, and do not use as much liquid. Adding the extra chicken fat and skin from the broth when cooking the rice makes it extra fragrant!

Part (C) - Soy Dipping Sauce (for rice and chicken)
  • Fried Garlic + oil from (Part B)
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Sweet Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce 
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 4 - 6 Tbsp Chicken Broth (from Part A)
Mix all ingredients listed above in a bowl and set aside till serving time. 

Part (D) - Ginger Garlic Dipping Sauce
  • 8-10 Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced (About 3 Tbsp)
  • 2 Stalk Green Onions/Scallion, Finely Chopped (About 3 Tbsp)
  • 2 Inch Ginger, Peeled & Finely Minced (About 3 Tbsp)
  • 8 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1-1/2 Tsp Salt
Mix all ingredients listed above in a bowl and set aside till serving time.

June's Comments: Must use fresh garlic. Do not use pre minced ones from the store. 

Part (E) - Optional Soup
  • Remaining chicken broth from Part (A)
  • 8-10 Fish Balls
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 Stalk Green Onion/Scallion, Chopped
  • Salt to tast
Heat remaining chicken broth from Part A over medium high heat. Add fish balls and let them cook until they are "floating" and slightly "bloated". Season with pepper and salt if needed and garnish with chopped green onion before serving.

Ahh... finally the serving and eating part. Community style would be easiest, that way everyone can take as much as they want. Drizzle some soy dipping sauce over the chicken thigh platter and serve with some sliced cucumbers. Serve rice warm, don't forget to bring out the tasty dipping sauces and simple soup! Enjoy!

*Sorry for the crappy picture. This was an older picture taken with my phone.

Simply June 


loveit said...

So nice! You just got yourself another reader! Will try it soon!
Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe! =)

Unknown said...

We tried this the other day, was delicious and simple enough! thanks for sharing the recipe!

Anonymous said...

I made this last night in my thermomix. Took no time at all and was delicious! The dipping sauces were so authentic and my husband gave it 10/10. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Made this in my thermomix last night. Delicious! The dipping sauces were so authentic and my husband gave it 10/10! Thanks, will be trying some more of your recipes

Anna Natalia said...

Thanks for the recipe. I didn't know that chicken rice is easy to make. :)

Unknown said...

Amazing blog ! looks for delicious. i will try also. i love chicken recipe. thankyou for shearing this information with us!chowringhee satyaniketan

nch said...

I made this recipe and turned out really well! Thank you for the recipe!

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