My Hainanese Chicken Rice
I found this brilliant recipe in a Singaporean website many many years ago when I was looking for an authentic Hainanese chicken rice recipe. I have lost my printed copy of the original recipe and I can no longer find the website where I got it from but I have since been making this dish out of memory. The taste is still just as amazing. The original recipe called for separate ginger sauce and soy sauce but I have tweaked my version and came up with a combination of the two to save myself some prep time. I finish my chicken in the oven to give it a nice, lovely dark and crisp skin. The secret of authenticity in the recipe, as I learnt, lies in the chicken fat. So when you buy your chicken tell your butcher to leave the fat on. My dear husband loves this dish and it is very moreish.
For the broth
1 medium whole chicken
a few stalks of spring onions (shredded roughly)
2 cm cube of fresh ginger (smashed lightly)
2 cloves of garlic (smashed lightly)
5 grains of peppercorns
5 shallots thinly sliced and deep fried till golden and crisp (for garnish)
finely chopped spring onions (for garnish)
For the rice:
2 cups of basmathi rice or long grain if you like (washed and drained)
4 cups of chicken broth
1 large clove of garlic (crushed)
2 cm cube of ginger (grated)
1 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 dsp of chicken fat
sprig of dried saffron or a sprinkling of turmeric (optional: I like a golden hue in my rice)
For the chilli sauce:
4 large red chillies (roughly chopped)
1/2 small garlic clove
1/2 cm cube of fresh ginger
2 tbsp of chicken broth
1 tsp of chicken fat
1 tsp of squeezed lime/lemon juice
salt to taste
For the ginger soy sauce:
2cm fresh ginger cube (grated)
1 small garlic clove (grated)
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 dessert spoon of dark soy sauce
1 tsp of oyster sauce (optional)
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 tsp of chicken fat
Set the oven to gas mark 8. Prepare the broth. Clean and trim the chicken off its fat. Place the fat in a clean dry non-stick frying pan over a low heat to draw out its oil. The chicken fat will be used in the rice, chilli and soy/ginger sauce. Place the chicken in a deep saucepan, fill the saucepan with cold water just enough to cover the chicken. Add the remaining ingredients except the garnishes. Cover the saucepan and bring to rolling boil for 7 minutes. Lift the chicken off the broth and place it under cold running water to stop it cooking further.
Now the rice. In another saucepan, heat the oil and chicken fat, add the garlic and ginger, fry until slightly golden. Next add the rice and stir. Add the chicken broth, salt and saffron/turmeric (if using). Bring up to boil. When the liquid has dried quickly seal and cover, turn off the heat and let the rice continue cooking in its own steam.
Mix all the ingredients for the soy ginger sauce in large deep bowl. Now place the chicken in the bowl and baste it all over with the sauce. Place the chicken on a baking tray and bake for a further 45 minutes until dark and crisp. Check that the chicken is not pink in the bones. Rest before carving. If not using the oyster sauce you may use the chicken juices from the roasting tray to flavour the sauce. Next strain the remainder of the baste into a serving bowl. This sauce is now ready to use.
For the chilli sauce, place the chillies, ginger, garlic and chicken broth in a blender and blitz for 1 minute. Season with salt. Add the lime/lemon juice, sesame oil and chicken fat. The sauce is now ready to serve.
Strain the remaining broth and bring to hard boil to reduce slightly. Check the seasoning. At this point you may want to add a stock cube to add flavour. However it is not really necessary as the delicate flavour of the clear soup makes it an excellent starter. Serve garnished with the deep fried shallots and spring onion.
Carve the chicken. Serve with rice and crisp green salad and/or stir fried vegetables. Serve the sauces separately.