So I usually roast a chicken once a week, mainly for the thrill of a freshly prepared bird, but also for the leftover meat and pan drippings it provides for the next day (the whole chicken gives you so much more of itself than a package of cut up pieces or (gasp) boneless, skinless breasts). Well then Carblover's enthusiastic posts for the Zuni chicken gave a new method to enjoy the humble chicken with its stuffing-like bread salad & salt cure. But a few weeks ago a post by Nooodles reminded me about Hainanese chicken rice, a dish I'd first tried years ago from a Saveur article about Singapore (Sept/Oct 95).
What Nooodles said about how "your kitchen smells heavenly" brought back the memory of chicken broth with its delicious layer of fat floating on top and how that essence is transferred to the pot of rice and creates delicately juicy chicken breast meat, and well, I just had to make it again. So here it goes, starting from the whole chicken and finishing with three dipping sauces (ginger, sweet soy, chili) in the style of Singapore.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
chicken & stock:
1 3 lb chicken, rinsed & dried
1 small piece ginger, peeled & smashed
2 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
1 1/2 c jasmine rice
2 T vegetable oil
3 shallots, peeled & finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
4 T ginger, peeled & chopped
2 t salt
3 T vegetable oil
sweet soy sauce:
1/4 c sweet Indonesian dark soy sauce
1/4 c sesame oil (I changed this to a couple drops)
sriracha sauce (aka rooster sauce) or prepared chile garlic sambal
sliced cucumbers, slivered carrots, tomatoes, cilantro
Sprinkle chicken with salt, including cavity. Place ginger, garlic, scallion inside chicken and tie legs together with string.
Bring to boil 5 quarts of water in a large pot. Place chicken in pot, breast side down, and submerge. Bring up to boil again, cover, & lower heat to very low. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, turn once after 15 minutes and remove foam. When done, lift out chicken and set aside on a big plate; reserve stock and keep on low heat.
Wash rice in cold water until water is clear and drain. In a wok or large pan, heat oil over med. heat. Stir-fry shallots & garlic for 30 seconds. Next add rice and stir-fry an additional 1-2 minutes. Using a ladle, skim out 3 cups of chicken stock from top of reserved stock and add to rice. Season with salt and bring to a boil quickly. Cover wok, lower heat to very low, and cook 20 minutes. When rice is done, stir & let sit covered for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile combine ginger sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Combine sweet soy ingredients. Set in individual small dishes on a plate along with sriracha/sambal, along with cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, and cilantro leaves.
Remove chicken skin and slice off breast meat into thick pieces, setting on plate along with some rice, 3 sauces, & garnishes. Serve with a bowl of chicken stock if you like.