Hainanese chicken rice seems to be one of the most popular local delicacies in Singapore. This is a Singaporean cuisine, of course. It is so well known that almost every visitor will have to try this if they visit to Singapore. Not hard to find, there are many hawker stalls, coffee shops, food courts and even restaurants sell it.
To me, I like to cook this at home, whenever my parents or friends visit me at my house. This is an economical yet presentable way to feed the crowd. Of course, cooking this local delicacy as a treat to friends, especially the overseas guests, will never fail to impress them. However, what makes your treat a real statement, this very much depends on your culinary skill as well as the recipe. Don’t be disappointed…. I have my house secret recipe to back you up here, didn’t I (chuckles)?!
My recipe, passed down from my parents, is one of their best dishes which they used to make for business in the older days. And now, their recipe was adapted with mainly homecooked flavour, lessen the addition of MSG! Yes, for business purpose, many sellers add MSG to maximize the flavour of the dish, especially the rice. Without MSG, the rice will never be as aromatic as it has to be. However, I have chicken granule and other condiments to back me up, making it tasty enough, yet healthy. At least, you know you are eating it without guilt or worries for the health of yours and your loved ones. Anyway, if you do not mind the MSG, by all mean go ahead. Otherwise, just stick to what I do here.
Ingredients (A) for Chicken dish and sauce:
1 large fresh chicken (Kampong chicken (free-ranged) or the usual type. I used Sakura chicken)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
60ml of light soy sauce
2 – 3 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
Pinch of grounded white pepper
Ingredients (B) for Chicken Rice:
3 cups rice grain, rinsed
3 cups of *chicken stock
2 thick slices of ginger, finely minced (or used whole thick slices of ginger with slight bruising)
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
4 Pandan (Screwpine) leaves, tied into a knot
2 stalks of lemon grass, cut away the end and used only the head part, lightly crushed
1 knob of margarine
50g of chicken fat (or oil out of the chicken fats)
1 teaspoon of chicken granule
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Ingredients (C) for Chicken (with Chinese Cabbage) Soup:
1 large pork bone
1 large pot of water (about 3000ml)
1/2 Chinese cabbage, thickly sliced
12 – 15 pork balls
Pinch of salt
Ingredients (D) for Chili Sauce:
1 whole garlic, peeled
6 red chili
2 chili padi
4 limes, halved and deseed
2 thumb-sized of young ginger
1 thumb-sized of pineapple flesh
30 – 50ml of water
2 tablespoons of sugar
Pinch of salt
Chicken meat and stock:
1) Clean chicken and empty internal cavities. set chicken aside.
2) Boil a large pot of water overnight heat. Add pork bone and bring it to a boil again. Now, steep whole chicken in the boiling water. Let it boil again, and reduce heat to medium fire to simmer chicken for 20 minutes. When cooked, transfer whole chicken to a large bowl of cold water. Bath chicken in cold water for few minutes. Drain and chop the chicken into pieces, plate chicken meat nicely on a bed of cucumber, and set aside for later. Retain the chicken head and feet, return to the pot of chicken stock and continue simmering in low fire.
3) Rinse rice in the rice pot, twice. Add ingredients (B1) in the rice pot, and fill up with chicken stock (made in Step 2) according to the amount required for usual rice cooking. Cook rice in the usual way.
Chinese cabbage chicken soup:
4) Use the remaining chicken stock. Add in Chinese cabbage and pork balls and simmer for 20 mins, or until cabbage is soften. Stir in salt and pepper.
5) Blend all ingredients (D), except for sugar and salt. After blending till really fine, transfer chili mixture into a bowl. Stir in sugar and salt.
6) Mix ingredients (A1) in a bowl, and stir to dissolve well. Set aside.
7) Heat wok with oil over medium fire. Add in garlic, stir fry till fragrant. Heat off and immediately pour in the soy sauce mixture. Beware of the sizzling effect.
8) Transfer sauce mixture into a bowl. Drizzle sauce on the nicely plated chicken meat before serve. Garnish and serve with aromatic chicken rice, pipping hot cabbage soup and complementary chili dipping sauce.
A serving of my chicken rice set counts about 580kcal. Ya, ya, it must be a whao on the load of calories! To taste it to the max, how to avoid all the addition of sinful ingredients? Anyways, to lessen your ‘guilt’, minus off the chicken fat and margarine, as well as reduced oil, if you wished to.
Tips: Each amount of ingredient listed is adjustable to suit one’s preference. Always do the stage-tasting, if you are not sure how much to add tastes the best for you.
* Chicken: Choose Kampung chicken which yields firmer and leaner meat. I used Sakura chicken as it is larger and preservative free. Bought it at NTUC Fairprice.
* Chicken rice: I blend the ginger into mince before adding it to cook the rice. As a result, the texture of ginger was visibly present in the palate when eating. If you do not like it, don’t blend the ginger. Simply bruise the ginger and add into cooking. I tried both ways.
* Buy extra chicken fat to be added into rice cooking. However, you may pan-fry the fat until
oil releases from it. Use the aromatic chicken oil to cook the rice instead of adding the whole fat.
* Deseed the limes before blending. Otherwise, your chili sauce is going to taste bitter.
* If you are not good at taking spiciness, remove some or all the seeds of the chilies.