Monday, November 22, 2010

Hainanese Chicken & Rice... A Simple and Tasty Summer Dinner

Well, we are still in Spring, late Spring, and very soon early Summer. It's 32C today so it's time for a cool change at our dinner table.

Hainanese Chicken & Rice, a simple hawker stall dish, has always been the 10 year old's favourite Asian dish, and he just assumed all Asian restaurants have them... ooops, not quite.

He was quite upset when he didn't get his favourite Hainanese Chicken & Rice in one of the Shanghai Dumpling Houses in Box Hill.

So I promised him that I will make it for him, well, the promise was for yesterday but I didn't get to do it until today.

I've never really done this dish before, it's a bit similar to Cantonese white cooked chicken and I have watched some shows about it, including the Food Safari.  Hmm... maybe having a lot of Malaysian friends doesn't mean that I can automatically cook Malaysian food?

Anyway, I made this with my own understanding and the kid actually thought it was good enough...

First of all, I make the broth (by the way, I forgot to buy coriander, do I need it?) with:
Fish sauce
light soy sauce
dash of shaoxin wine
1 lemon grass
1 knob of ginger
1 knob of galangal
White ends of 5 sprigs of spring onion.
bit of salt and some palm sugar to balance.

Bring the broth to boil, and soak the chicken in.   Medium heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes depending the size of the chicken, I usually use small size chicken for those poached chicken dishes, so around 1.2-1.5 kilos.

Turn off the heat, close lid of the pot, and let the chicken stay in pot for a further 15-20 minutes.  After that, I was pretty sure the chicken was cooked through, and put it on some ice in a big bowl and let it cool in fridge.

Meantime, make rice.
I do remember the chicken rice is made from the broth after chicken was poached.  There was a bit of chicken fat and excess chicken skin I reserved for the rice.  Heat up a pan, in low heat, gently fry the chicken fat and skin, add some finely chopped ginger mince.  Add rice, and let it coat with the ginger flavoured chicken fat.  Well, then, I used the rice cooker.  Why wouldn't I, it does make good rice.  Add the same amount of chicken broth to rice cooker as the same amount of water required as the instruction of ricer cooker states.  And let it do the rest of the job.

By the time rice is cooked, the chicken should be cooled down to cut.... oh.... the sauces.

Hainanese chicken normally comes with 3 sauces, sweet soy, chillie garlic and white vinegar (or lemon juice), and ginger and spring onion.

I have been told by the doctor that I won't be able to eat as much chillie and acidic food as I'd like to have so I skipped the process and just made the ginger and spring onion sauce with a bit of chillie... well, just for the adults in the family, the kids never touched the sauces even when we ate out.

My first attempt, and I'm sure there's a lot of room for improvement - and probably will have to make it again and again until the boy grows up and leave home.  Guess I need some comments from the Malaysians out there, please?

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