Friday, October 12, 2018

Hainan Chicken with Rice 海南雞飯

Hainan chicken is my family's favorite dish. To make this chicken, I have tried using the soaking method, in which the chicken is dipped in a hot, herb-infused brine to cook, and this steaming recipe. Both methods give me a moist chicken but I found steaming is easier to do and less wasteful, as the brine in the soaking method is merely disposed of after cooking the chicken.

Do you like the chicken more than the rice? Or the ginger and scallion infused oil? I think they are like legs of a table. Each one is indispensable from the other, and essential to the dish as a whole.

one brown chicken, between 2 to 3 lb 黃毛貴妃雞
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (such as Shao Xing) 紹興酒
1 piece ginger, about 50g, grated
3 pieces scallions, chopped
2 tbsp oil
sesame oil

3 cups long grain rice, washed and drained
1 whole head of garlic, minced 整個蒜頭
1 piece lemon grass, use the white part 香茅
1/2 tsp turmeric 黃薑粉
1 tbsp oil
1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)

1) Grate the ginger and reserve 1 tbsp of the juice. Chop scallions and mix with the grated ginger. Heat 2 tbsp oil until it begins to smoke. Remove from heat and pour over the grated ginger and scallions. Mix well and set aside.
2) Rub the chicken with salt, both inside and out. Mix cooking wine with the reserved ginger juice and rub the chicken. Marinate it at room temperature for 2 hours.
3) Steam for 20 mins. Turn off the heat and let the chicken rest inside the steamer for 5 mins before removing.
4) Save the chicken juice in a separate bowl. Brush the chicken skin with sesame oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool down.

5) Heat up a wok and add 1 tbsp oil. Add minced garlic and rice under low to medium heat. Stir fry until fragrant or the rice is dry. Do not burn the garlic.
6) Remove the rice and put into a rice cooker. Add the reserved chicken juice from step four. Add as much water as you usually do to cook the rice. Add lemongrass and turmeric. Cook until the rice is done.
7) If using coconut milk, add to the rice before serving.

Adjust the steaming time if the chicken is bigger. I find it easier to cut the chicken for serving if it has been chilled for at least a few hours or preferably overnight.


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