Love through Food: Hainanese Chicken Rice

Something that I learned about myself a long time ago was that I, like many other typical asian moms, show love through food. There is something about feeding the body that to me that feeds the soul. Its like saying “hey, nourish your body with this food I have prepared. I hope you will feel the love I put into it when I thought of making it for you.” If you’ve been watching my Instagram stories lately, you know I’ve been doing a lot of cooking. There is something that comes over me in the creation of food that feels so natural and it is so satisfying to finish a recipe that I’ve never tried before. I know there are a ton of soul foods that start with chicken and carbs and while Hainanese Chicken rice isn’t one of my childhood memories, the amount of videos I’ve been watching lately really show a lot of the love and care that goes into making it. I felt like I had to try it for myself.

So, here’s my take on Hainanese Chicken Rice. I watched a ton of different videos and didn’t base the recipe on any particular recipe but I watched several videos and looked up a dozen different versions and each one had it’s own nuances, different things they slightly added, different varieties of sauce, different ways of making their rice, and this was the version I put together for you.

Video of how I made the chicken and rice on my TikTok and Instagram.

HAINANESE CHICKEN

  • whole chicken (mine was about 2 kg)
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 inch ginger cut into 1/4 in slices
  • 4-6 stalks of green onion
  • water (to cover)
  • 1 tbs tumeric
  • 1 chicken boullion (I used Better Than Bouillion)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

HAINANESE RICE

  • 2 tablespoons chicken fat, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups jasmine long grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups reserved chicken broth

CHILI SAUCE

  • 1 tablespoons sambal
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

GINGER GARLIC SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, grated
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

SAUTEED BOK CHOY

  • baby bok choy, washed and cut at base
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Preparation

  1. Rub chicken all over with salt, exfoliate. Rinse the chicken well inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Remove any excess fat from the chicken and set aside for later.
  3. Season the chicken with salt. Stuff the chicken cavity with the ginger slices, 5-6 cloves of garlic, and scallions.
  4. Place the chicken in a large stock pot, cover with cold water by 1 inch (2 cm), and add tumeric and bouillion.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (75°C). Remove the pot from the heat.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to an ice bath for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process and to keep the chicken skin springy. Discard the ginger, garlic, and green onion.
  7. After it’s cooled, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and rub all over with sesame oil. This will help prevent the chicken from drying out.
  8. Break down the chicken and save the carcass
  9. In a large wok or skillet, add the reserved chopped chicken fat over medium-high heat and render it down. Remove the extra pieces of chicken fat. Add the garlic, and fry until aromatic (about 20-30 seconds – before it starts to burn), then add rice and toast the grains for a few minutes.
  10. Transfer the toasted rice and garlic mixture to a rice cooker and add 2 cups (480 ml) of reserved poaching broth.
  11. Add the chicken carcass you saved to the rice and broth and steam the rice in the rice cooker.
  12. While the rice is cooking, make the sauces and bok choy
  13. Make the chili sauce: combine the sambal, sugar, and vinegar into a bowl and stir to incorporate.
  14. Make the ginger garlic sauce: in a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, sugar, heated canola oil, and rice vinegar, and stir to incorporate.
  15. Make the bok choy: in a small bowl mix cold water, corn starch, oyster sauce, and sugar. In a wok with oil at medium-high heat, add garlic and sautee until fragrant, quickly add bok choy and sautee for about 30 seconds to a minute until it starts to wilt. Add oyster sauce mixture and heat until sauce thickens and it is done.
  16. Serve the sliced chicken with the rice, dipping sauces, and bok choy.
  17. Enjoy! ❤

This recipe was a ton of fun, I might make it into a series. Tell me in the comments if you liked this and if you want to see more!

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