First of all, I need to apologize for my lack of posts in recent months. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking. I have been. A lot actually. But there’s just been so much else going on in my life that I’ve been too overwhelmed to post here. I’ll try to be better, I promise. In fact, I can promise 2 posts after this weekend. I’m participating in a soup and bread cook-off on Saturday, and once that’s done, I’ll definitely post both recipes!
For now though, I give you my version of Hainanese chicken. My impression is that this is one of those recipes that there are as many versions of as there are cooks – my version is based off of Mark Bittman’s version found here, I made this for dinner for friends the other night. I was quite intimidated, as it was the first time I’d ever cooked a whole chicken. It was also the first time I’d ever been inspired to cook a whole chicken.
It turned out so well! I just finished the leftovers and I’m so sad that they’re gone. This will definitely go in my regular rotation!
It took about 2 hours start to finish, but most of it was inactive time. And in addition to the chicken and rice meal, you also get a ton of extra broth, which is delicious on its own!
1 whole (3-4 lb) chicken, trimmed of extra fat
several cloves smashed garlic (I used 8) plus 1 T minced garlic
several slices fresh ginger (I used about 4 inches of ginger root, sliced)
1/4 cup peanut or canola oil
3 shallots, roughly chopped (can substitute small onion)
2 cups long grain rice (brown works just fine)
1/2 cup minced scallions
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
chopped fresh cilantro
low sodium soy sauce
garlic chile sauce
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Do NOT be stingy with the salt!! Add chicken to pot along with smashed garlic and sliced ginger. Bird should be completely submerged, but only just. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let bird remain in water for 45 minutes to an hour, covered, or until it is cooked through. (for best taste, meat thermometer should register 165 when inserted near the thigh without hitting bone, USDA regs say it should hit 180)
2. Remove chicken from pot, reserve stock, and let bird cool to room temperature on a plate. Put the peanut or canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat; you may add trimmed chicken fat to this also. When oil is hot, add minced garlic, along with shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (note that I completely burned the garlic and the shallots and my meal still turned out just fine, but you might want to watch them closely). Add rice and cook, stirring, until glossy. Add 4 cups reserved chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover; cook for about 20 minutes, until rice has absorbed all liquid. (it will take closer to 30 minutes if you are using brown rice.) Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
3. While the rice is cooking, once the chicken is cool enough, remove skin and shred or chop.
4. When rice is done, top with chicken, cucumbers, scallions and cilantro. Drizzle entire pan (or serving dish) with soy sauce and sesame oil.
5. Serve at the table with garlic chile sauce for an extra little kick! (I promise – it’s delicious!!)