Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hainanese chicken

I haven’t really been terribly experimental in the kitchen lately, rather visiting old favourites such as pulled noodles, spicy chicken, playing around with pastas, and tonnes of salads. Nothing that jumps out as I must post about this! Mind you that’s what instagram and twitter is for I guess, share the meal not the recipe. It’s not so much the food is dull, it’s more that I have either posted about it before or I don’t think you really need another recipe for braised brisket and tostadas, which by the way fish sauce; miso; and ground shiitake can turn a “Mexican” braise into a savoury bomb!

Anyway, here’s a recipe I cobbled together for Hainanese chicken, a deeply satisfying dish and not too heavy at all, best of all it’s a doddle to cook.

1 Whole chicken
Spring onions
  • Pull excess fat out of chicken cavity and set aside.
  • Rub the chicken skin with kosher salt until it becomes smooth and taut.
  • Rinse and pat dry.
  • Season thoroughly (heavily) inside and out.
  • Stuff tightly with spring onions and ginger.
  • Place in a pot and cover with water, about 2 cm above the bird.
  • Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down low.
  • Simmer for about 30 minutes, skimming scum as it forms. It’s done when the internal temp is 76ºC.
  • Carefully remove from the pot and submerge in an ice bath.
  • Retain the cooking liquid, this is the soup and rice cooking liquid.

2 Cups jasmine rice
3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Thumb of ginger, finely chopped
Reserved chicken fat
½ Tsp sesame oil
2 Cups of reserved cooking liquid
  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, soak for 10 minutes.
  • Sauté the ginger and garlic in the chicken fat, be careful not to burn or over brown.
  • Drain the rice and add to the pot, sauté and then add the sesame oil.
  • Add the cooking liquid and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cover.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, don’t peek, just leave it be.
  • Remove from the heat and let it rest for 5–10 minutes, again leave the lid alone.

Heat the remaining cooking liquid and season with salt as needed, garnish with sliced spring onions.

Chilli sauce
Look you could probably just cheat and use good ol’ Sriracha, I wouldn’t think any less of you, in fact I use a fermented chilli sauce as my base.

4 tbsp Fermented chilli sauce, use your favourite
1 lime, juiced
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp cooking liquid, more or less
4 cloves garlic, crushed to paste
1 thumb of ginger, crushed to paste

Mix all of the ingredients together, apart from the liquid, use the cooking liquid to loosen it to a desired consistency. Taste and season, a little fish sauce is nice instead of salt.

For the Table
Dark soy sauce
Chilli sauce
Sliced cucumber

It’s really up to you how you want to serve up, I like a bowl of the rice with some of the chicken carved on it and garnished with cucumber. Rub the chicken with a bit of sesame oil before carving to make it a bit more aromatic.

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