Thursday, August 26, 2004

Chicken rice
THERE’S just something about the combination of steamed chicken, fluffy, flavoursome rice, slices of cucumber and vinegary chilli sauce, that makes people wanting a quick lunch opt for chicken rice.
In Malacca, there’s a renowned chicken rice stall and your trip to the historical city would be incomplete without a stop at the stall which serves its rice in an interesting manner – rounds the size of golf balls.
Why not prepare this famed chicken rice version for your family this weekend? It’s one feat that you can definitely crow about.
Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice. - Pictures courtesy of C. Jason.IngredientsFor the rice3 cups (600g) Thai fragrant long grain rice2 tbsp chicken skin with fat2 tbsp water2cm piece ginger, lightly smashed2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed1–2 tsp salt or to taste3½ cups or enough reserved chicken stock (or water with 1 tbsp chicken stock powder added to it)2 pandan or screwpine leaves, shredded and knotted
Pak Cham Kai (Chicken steeped in stock)1 whole chickenEnough water (for boiling)1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, crushed4–5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed1 tsp salt
Chilli garlic sauce for dipping10 fresh red chillies2cm piece ginger4 cloves garlic1/4 tsp saltJuice of 2 calamansi limes2 tbsp reserved chicken stock
Ginger sauce for dipping75g ginger6 cloves garlic1/2 tsp saltJuice of 2 calamansi limes2 tbsp preserved chicken stockLight soya sauce for chicken1½ tbsp garlic oil1½ tsp sesame oil5 tbsp light soy sauce1½ tbsp sugar or to taste3 tbsp water
GarnishingFresh coriander leavesSliced spring onionSliced cucumber
To prepare the rice, wash it in several changes of water until the water runs clean and clear.
Heat wok and add chicken fat and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a low simmering boil until oil is released from the fat.
Add ginger, garlic and fry well. Remove and discard the chicken fat then add in rice and salt to mix. Stir fry briskly for 1–2 minutes.
Transfer all the ingredients into an electric rice pot.
Add water or chicken stock and pandan leaves. Cook until rice turns dry and fluffy. Stir through just before serving.
To prepare the chicken, bring enough water to boil in a large pot. Put the chicken into the pot. Lower the heat and cook for 10–15 minutes uncovered. Turn off the flame and cover the pot. Allow the chicken to cook for 20–25 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot and immerse it in a basin of cold water for 5–6 minutes.
Next, take the chicken out of the basin of cold water and drain on a colander to dip dry before cutting up into serving pieces.
Arrange in a serving plate and garnish with spring onion and coriander leaves and cucumber slices.
To prepare the chilli garlic sauce, blend all sauce ingredients in an electric blender.
Adjust seasoning by adding salt and sugar to taste. Use immediately or store in a sealed jar until required.
For the ginger sauce, combine all the ingredients in an electric blender and whiz. Serve immediately or store in a sealed jar until required.
Next, combine all ingredients for the light soya sauce in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves then set aside to cool before use.

Simple Fragrant Chicken Rice (pic above) and Pak Cham Kai (right).Simple Fragrant Chicken Rice
Ingredients500g Thai fragrant long grain rice2½ cups water or just enough2–3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed3 slices ginger1/2 tbsp oil1 tbsp butter or margarine50g chicken fat with skin1 tbsp chicken stock1 tsp salt or to taste2 pandan or screwpine leaves, shredded and knotted1.2–1.5 kg chicken1/2 tsp salt2 tsp sesame oil3 slices ginger2 stalks spring onion
Wash and clean the rice in several changes of water. Drain rice well in a colander.
Melt butter or margarine in a deep pot. Add in oil and chicken fat. Cook on medium-low heat until chicken fat turns lightly browned and oil seeps out. Remove and discard the chicken fat.
Add in rice, garlic and ginger. Stir well to mix. Pour in water and add chicken stock granules and pandan leaves. Cook until rice is dry and fluffy. Allow the rice to stand time before serving.
Rub salt and sesame oil all over the chicken. Insert the ginger slices and spring onion into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken in a deep dish and steam for 15–20 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
Remove chicken from the dish and cut the chicken into serving pieces. Use the chicken stock that’s left in the dish as gravy for the chopped chicken or add it to the chilli sauce when serving.
The chicken rice can be shaped into small rounds the size of golf balls. These are like the famous Malacca chicken rice balls and are an alternative way of serving chicken rice, one which children would perhaps find enjoyable compared to eating rice straight from the plate.

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