Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quick and easy home-made hainanese chicken rice

My virgin Papillote

I read a few food blogs about making "short-cut" chicken rice at home and decided to try it today. It's very simple for those who don't cook, don't have chicken stock, don't know how to cut up a chicken, don't even have a wok, don't like too much cleaning-up, etc.. 

The good things about homemade chicken rice are numerous - you can choose to use free range chicken (kampung chicken), use less salt, minimise use of animal fat, and eliminate MSG altogether. And yet the original taste is still pretty much intact! 

Try this:

Use 2-3 chicken thighs with skin on. Rub with salt and set aside for at least 30 min. 
Soak rice in water for 15 min.
Using rice cooker, heat oil in cooker, saute ginger slices and minced garlic till fragrant.
Add rice to cook as you normally would. You can add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder which gives the rice a very faint tinge of yellow. 
Place chicken thighs in one layer on top of rice.
You can prepare a dipping sauce of light soy sauce, sesame oil, a clove of minced garlic and grated ginger to drizzle over the chicken when ready. But this is optional. I didn't need to use this.
Garnish with tomatoes, cucumber, coriander. 
And you're done!

I had 2 extra chicken thighs and decided to try a Papillote (pah-pee-yot), basically using parchment paper to steam food so as to keep it moist and retain the flavorful juices. I pour some light soy sauce, sesame oil and throw some minced garlic and few ginger slices in. Half an hour later, I got kids snatching the meat from each other. Tasted even better than those in the rice cooker as they are massively moist. It's my first Papillote and I'm pleased with the results proportionate to the effort level required.

Took a quick shot when we were halfway through!
Verdict: A homemade healthier version of something not too healthy but very popular. I made a prawn mango salad to balance this carbo-heavy dish. I was happy to be eating free range chicken - I don't know of anyone who sells chicken rice in Singapore using free range chicken.

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