Monday, March 23, 2020.
2/ to throw out a bit, i am scooping out half of it every day and making kind of a savoury pancake with chives and sesame seeds and then i refresh the remaining half, and honestly that pancake is amazing, i am LOVING it! I watched a video on youtube by Pro Home Cook or something like that and it’s called like sourdough scallion pancake. Anyway all of this was just to tell you you should try that pancake hahaha again i am so happy for you both and this new path you’ve taken! Lots of love!!
Thank you so much for sharing this!! I do hate tossing out half of Laura every day. It’s like thinning plants. I just feel bad deciding who lives and who dies. I know that’s annoying but it’s just how I am lol. Anyways. I am SO EXCITED to try this recipe! Lots of love back to you <3
As you all know the base for Western stews and stocks, broths and sauces is that magical triumvirate of onions, carrots, and celery known as Mirepoix. Usually two parts onion, one part carrot, and one part celery, it’s used in everything from an Italian Bolognese to the base for a hearty chicken soup.
Across Europe you see variations, be it an Italian soffritto or the Spanish sofrito—and the Germans have a version I believe includes rutabaga because, you know, Germans.
Over on this side of the world, however, the Asian Mirepoix is a combination of ginger, garlic and spring onions or scallions. These flavors—more intense, yet brighter than their Western counterpart—are easy to manage and once you learn to use them will offer a versatility that turns even the most simple meal into an extravagance.
Ginger, garlic and two types of green onions: scallions and Beijing
Today’s recipe is the basic Singapore classic, Hainan Chicken Rice. It’s a staple of the city state and can be found in all the hawker stands. As the name implies, it originated in Hainan, China and immigrants brought the dish to Malaysia and Indonesia.
This recipe is important, not only will you get beautiful, juicy chicken, gently flavored and perfumed with garlic and ginger, but you will have an amazing basic Asian chicken broth, which can be served alone as a beverage or soup, and can be used as the base for multiple Vietnamese, Cantonese and Thai soups and curries.
Let’s get started.
- One 3- to 4-pound chicken
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Raw, fresh ginger
- 6 to 8 Garlic cloves
- A bunch of green onions (scallions)
- Vegetable oil
Remember, Asian cooking is all about the prep work. Start by chopping about a three-inch chunk off your fresh ginger root. Cut off the nobbly bits and skin it with a vegetable peeler. Cut the ginger in two to three pieces, crush it with your knife to release its juices. No need to chop it up.
Now, crush two to three garlic cloves, skin on or skin off, it’s up to you. Remember, this is for the base broth. Then, grab a bunch of scallions, three or four, clean off the dirt and unsightly outer skin and chop them into two to three inch pieces.
Now, let’s move on to the chicken. Unwrap the chicken, remove the giblets and dry the body with paper towels. Liberally salt the skin and let the chicken rest and dry out while you prepare the pot.
In a deep stock pot or the largest pot you have in the kitchen, put in three tablespoons vegetable oil and turn on the heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, drop in your garlic, scallions and ginger.
Before you put the chicken into the pot, please, remove the fatty skin at the opening the cavity and cut off that tough, triangular tail, that cartilage will just add bitterness to your broth. Now, don’t throw out the fatty skin, we’re going to use that to flavor the rice.
You’re looking for the onions, garlic and ginger to brown and caramelize, not burn. By now, it should smell amazing.
Lower the bird into the pot and cover with cold water, you want at least an inch of water above the bird; it has to be submerged. Raise the temperature and bring the chicken up to a slow simmering boil. Put a lid on the pot. You don’t want a rolling, tumultuous boil because that will give you a cloudy broth.
Remove the cover occasionally to skim the sediment and oil from the surface. You want a lovely clear broth. I use a fine mesh metal straining spoon. (HINT: As I strain, I use a bowl full of hot water to collect the scum and clean the strainer.)
Depending on your stove top burner, whether it’s gas or electric, it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes for your pot to come up to that rolling simmer. Make sure the chicken is still covered with liquid; add more if you have to. Here’s the thing: once it gets to this simmering point, you just want the chicken to simmer for 10 more minutes.
Overall, from the moment you put the chicken in the pot, it has been cooking for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and move the pot to a cool ring on the stove. Give it one last skim and put the lid back on. You’re going to let that chicken continue to rest and slowly cook for another 30 minutes in the pot.
After 30 minutes, you will now remove the chicken and drop it immediately into a comparable size pot that’s filled with ice water. Leave it there for 20 minutes, this allows the skin to contract and stops the cooking process, ensuring a shiny, moist bird. Once cool to the touch, remove the chicken and let it rest and drain on a cutting board before slicing.
Rice and Condiments
As you’re waiting for the chicken to finish cooking, it’s time to work on the dipping sauces. Because in Asia, condiments are everything—chili oils and sauces, savory soy sauce-based or sweet and spicy.
Hainanese Chicken Rice is served with steamed rice, a large helping of cool, crisp chopped cucumber, a bowl of the chicken broth and two dipping sauces, chili garlic sauce and ginger oil.
Chili Garlic Sauce
A large handful of Thai red peppers (about 5 or 6) or a handful of Birdseye chilis (about 6 to 10, but you do you when it comes to spiciness, but I’m thinking when all chopped up you should have about a cup)
3 to 4 clovers of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
3-inch knob of fresh ginger, crushed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼-cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
In a small saucepan add the vegetable oil and heat until shimmering, then add the sugar, rice vinegar and the sesame oil, stirring to make sure the sugar melts completely. Once all are combined, add the stock. Remove from the heat when fully incorporated.
Chop up the the peppers and throw then in a blender or food processor with the chopped ginger, garlic and salt. Add the hot broth and squeeze in the juice of one lime.
Blend into a fine paste, a beautiful bright orange/red dipping sauce. Do NOT! I repeat, DO NOT look into the blender/food processor right after blending. Seriously, you will get vaporized chili particles in your eyes and that shit is painful.
3-inch knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
I am a huge fan of Ginger Oil, not just with Hainan chicken, but as both a cooking ingredient and a condiment. It’s packed with flavor, easy to make, and stores well in a good airtight container in your fridge.
For this version I used what’s called a Beijing onion, which when I first saw them at the local produce market I mistook for an underdeveloped leek. They are basically giant scallions, with combination of leafy and strong, sponge-like flesh that gives them a crunch, even after some cooking. I think they’re delicious.
So, take whatever scallions you have handy, grab your ginger and finely chop both, blending the mix together in a heat-resistant bowl with the teaspoon of salt.
Next, add the oils to a saucepan and bring up to temperature; you want the oil to move past shimmer to actually beginning to smoke. Once it’s reached this point, remove from the heat and pour directly into the onions and ginger.
The vegetables will begin to sizzle and cook immediately, so stir with a spoon to make sure everything is cooked. Leave to rest and cool.
- Leftover raw fatty chicken skin you collected earlier
- 2 cups of Jasmine or preferred rice
- 2 tablespoons of your Ginger Oil
- 3 cups of water or Hainan chicken broth
Vigorously rinse your rice in a sieve under cold water. The removes all the excess starch and the end product is a firm, al dente rice. You want to keep rinsing until the water begins to run almost clear through the sieve.
In your saucepan sauté the leftover chicken skin in the two tablespoons of Ginger Oil. Once the fat has rendered and the skin begins to brown, pour in your rinsed rice. Keep the gas on high, you want to boil off whatever moisture is still on the rice and let the grains get coated with the fat. Stir well to make sure it’s all coated, the rice should begin to shine and you should smell it begin to cook. Now, add the water or broth, bring to a boil, give it a good stir, then put on the lid and let it simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes, or until cooked.
The chicken should be sliced in large chunks, skin and all, served over rice with a bowl of the broth, sliced cucumber and the two sauces.
A dinner to help you bloom 🌱🌻
Fried tofu, fried rice, lightly sauces steamed veggies (from Walmart- it’s the antioxidant blend) & vegan BBQ sauce ♡ plus GT’s bloom, spring edition Kombucha ♡
Fry tofu in preferred oil for 5 min. Then remove from heat.
Cook rice when the tofu and the rice are done add rice to pan and fry for 5-7 min.
Throw steamed veggies in microwave & cook.
Add rice then veggies, then tofu in a bowl. Top with favourite sauce, spices, or eat plain. Then serve with favourite Kombucha ♡♡