Recipe: Hainanese Chicken Rice (unannotated)

Here’s the “just the facts” version of Chicken Rice.

Recipe

Serves 4-6
Total time: 2-1/2 hours
Equipment required: stock pot large enough to submerge a whole chicken in broth, container large enough to submerge a whole chicken in an ice bath.

Ingredients

3 lb (1.5 kg) whole chicken, preferably free range/organic
3 tsp (15 ml) salt
3 tsp (15 ml) rice wine
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock, or water
8 cups (2 L) water
2 spring onions or scallions
2 oz (65 g) Chinese celery or celery heart
2 in (5 cm) ginger, sliced and lightly pounded
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp (5 ml) white peppercorn
4 cups (1 L) ice
1 cucumber, thinly sliced on a bias
3 cups (750 ml) fragrant rice
3-4 tablespoons (45-60 ml) chili sauce
1⁄4 cup (65 g) coriander sprigs or cilantro, minced

Instructions

  1. Prep chicken: Remove innards (if any). Rinse the chicken and gently pat dry, being careful not to tear the skin. Remove any fat from the cavity and reserve for the rice.
  2. (optional) Gently loosen the joints without breaking the skin.
  3. Gently rub the outside of the chicken with salt and rice wine. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Bring the stock and water to a boil.
  5. Lightly crush the spring onions and celery into a small bundle. Stuff into the cavity with the ginger, garlic and peppercorns.
  6. Lower the chicken breast-side down into the boiling stock, and add feet if separate. The chicken should be completely covered. If not, add more boiling water to cover.
  7. Poach the chicken, as follows:
    Gently stir until the stock comes back to a simmer, about 5-10 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Skim any impurities from the surface. Gently turn the chicken breast-side up. Drain the cavity of stock and refill by gently rocking up-and down. Return to heat and gently stir until the stock comes back to a simmer. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for another 20 minutes. Again, skim any impurities from the surface, then drain and refill the cavity. Gently turn the chicken breast-side down. Return to heat and gently stir until the stock comes back to a simmer. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for a final 20 minutes.
  8. While chicken is poaching, prepare the ice bath.
  9. Gently lift the chicken out of the stock and submerge in the ice bath. Do not discard the stock.
  10. Remove aromatics from the cavity and discard. Gently rock the chicken to get cold water into the cavity. Let rest in the ice bath for at least 15 minutes.
  11. Remove the chicken from the ice bath and pat dry.
  12. Carve the chicken. Slice breasts across the grain. Let rest for 5-10 minutes to come to room temperature.
  13. Serve with cucumber, rice, and chili sauce. Garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro).
  14. To serve the stock, allow 1/2-1 cup per person. Season with salt and pepper before serving. Freeze any remaining stock for next time.

Adapted from the original version taught to me by Ruqxana at Cookery Magic.

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