Last week was Chinese New Year…Gong Hey Fat Choy! Whilst my dearly missed family were having a series of dinners, including an awesome Tuoan Nien Hot Pot (click for photographic evidence), Dim Sum and much much more, I had to settle for Tesco noodles with shredded duck in hoisin sauce followed by massive bowl of frosties. Not quite the culinary delights I am used to and I could do naught but imagine what was being eaten at the mass gatherings of Chinese relatives in Australia, Brunei and Canada.
Not letting the above get me down, I decided to invite some friends over for a quick Sunday supper. Being the Year of the Rabbit I should really have popped down to the butcher for a couple of hares and made a pie or curry but instead decided to cook Hainan Chicken Rice. It is a dish found all over South-East Asia and most reminiscent of my time spent growing up in Brunei and Singapore.
Quite simply this is a steamed chicken, where the broth is reused and sometimes topped up with boiling water to cook the other components that make this dish. It is also accompanied with a variety dips involving chilli, garlic, ginger oyster sauce and soy sauce. To make it more of a complete meal I always serve this with some pak choi in oyster sauce.
The Bruneians, the Malaysians, the Singaporeans and the Thais all have their own versions; this is mine. It is very straightforward to cook and even more easy to eat.
Hainan Chicken Rice with Oyster Sauce Pak Choi
You will need:
For the Chicken;
1 Chicken (approx 1.4kg) (parson’s nose and excess fat from the cavity removed)
2.5cm of ginger (peeled)
3 spring onions
½ cucumber (sliced) (to be served with steamed chicken)
For the Rice;
450-500g of rice (uncooked and unwashed)
parson’s nose and excess chicken fat
vegetable oil or sesame oil
the leftover stock from the steamed chicken
some soy sauce for serving
For the Pounded Ginger and Spring Onion Dip;
2.5cm of ginger (peeled)
3 spring onions
For the Chilli Sauce;
3 garlic bulbs
50ml of Rice wine vinegar
100ml of stock from the steamed chicken
For the Pak Choi;
3 heads of Pak Choi
3 garlic bulbs (finely sliced)
1-2 tbsp of oyster sauce
100-150ml of stock from the steamed chicken
- Using a large pot and something to rest your chicken on (look at my Flickr photos to see what I used), pour in enough water so that it is plenty but won’t touch the chicken. On medium heat bring that to a boil. I also suggest bringing a smaller pot of water to a boil too (just in case you need to top up levels whilst cooking).
- Once boiling; place the ginger and spring onions in the pot, cover and set your timer for approx 1 hour 10 mins.
- On a low to medium heat, in about 2tsp of vegetable oil or sesame oil, fry off the parson’s nose and excess fat.
- Whilst this is happening; using a pestle and mortar, ground the ginger and spring onions for your Pounded Ginger and Spring Onion Dip. When roughly combined, scrape into a small bowl, cover in plenty of vegetable oil and leave to one side.
- In a processor, blend all the ingredients for the chilli sauce. Leaving in the processor, put to one side for later.
- By now the chicken fat and parson’s nose should be crispy. If so, remove, throw away/eat and turn the heat down to a low setting. Pour in the uncooked and unwashed rice. Continuously stir till all of it is covered in fat and oil – make sure not to burn the rice – this should take a couple of minutes. Once done, take off the heat and put to one side.
- Once the time is up on the chicken, remove the lid and make sure it is cooked to your liking. Remove from pot and put to one side.
- Pour in 100 ml of the stock into the chilli sauce. Put to one side the stock for the pak choi too. Pour the rice into the remaining stock, maybe some more boiling water if needed. Cover and cook. Clean off any rice left in the frying pan, pour in a couple of glugs of vegetable oil and return on a medium to high heat.
- Fry off the garlic and pak choi, once the greens have reduced; mix in the oyster sauce, stir and pour over 100-150 ml of boiling water or stock, cover and steam for a few minutes. Once done, put to one side.
- Once the rice is cooked you can serve everything up. Remember to blend the chilli sauce and added stock before serving. The best way to plate the chicken is to chop in half down the middle, remove the legs and wings, then cut each half width wise into three or four smaller pieces. Place the pieces in a serving dish with the sliced cucumber. Oyster and soy sauce to go on the side too.
Enjoy and check out the Flicky Flicks for a bit more guidance!