Hainanese Chicken Rice

Singaporean Entree

HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE

INGREDIENTS – CHICKEN

2″ ginger root
4 cups chicken stock (4 cups more later)
4 cups water
2½ pounds boneless chicken
1 tablespoon sesame oil

INGREDIENTS – RICE

4 cups chicken broth
3 pandan leaves*
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups long-grain rice
4 garlic cloves
3″ ginger root
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 cucumber
1 green onion
¼ cup chili garlic sauce
¼ cup soy sauce

* = This is quite hard to find outside of Asian supermarkets. You can also order dried pandan leaves online. Or substitute part of a banana leaves for the pandan leaves. But banana leaves are just as hard to find as pandan leaves. Or omit the pandan leaves altogether; this is a simplified recipe after all. If guests complain that your Chicken Hainanese Rice isn’t authentic without pandan leaves, biff ‘em good with your fists of fury.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

rice cooker
fists of fury (See above note.)
x-ray vision (It helps to be a super hero.)
up to 12 dipping bowls, bowls, or small cups

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 10 minutes.

PREPARATION – CHICKEN

Cut 2″ ginger root into ¼” slices. Add ginger root slices, 4 cups chicken broth, water, and water to large pot. Bring water to boil in large pot at high heat. (The recipe gets harder after this.) While water comes to boil, cut chicken into 1½” pieces. Coat chicken with sesame oil. Add chicken to pot. Cover, reduce heat to warm and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. (You can check this with x-ray vision or by slicing open one piece of chicken.) Remove chicken from pot and add to mixing bowl. Save chicken stock.

PREPARATION – RICE

While the water for the chicken comes to boil, tie pandan leaves into a knot just like you would with a string. Add 4 cups chicken broth, pandan leaves, and rice to rice cooker. Cook according to instructions for rice cooker. (Probably, just push the “cook” button until it stops cooking.) While chicken simmers, mince garlic and dice 3″ ginger root. Add garlic, ginger, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium for 5 minutes or until garlic and ginger browns and becomes fragrant. Stir frequently. Add rice and stir fry at low-medium for 3 minutes. Stir enough to prevent burning.

PREPARATION – FINAL

While water for the chicken comes to boil and rice cooks, dice cilantro and green onion. Cut cucumber into thin slices. Add diced green onion and chicken stock from large pot to a small dipping bowl for each guest. Each guest also gets a dipping bowl for the chili-garlic sauce and the soy sauce. Add chicken to plates. Garnish chicken with cilantro. Add rice to plates and shape into dome. Place cucumber on plate beside chicken and rice.

TIDBITS

1) “Hainanese” is an anagram for “I, a sane hen.”

2) Sane hens are safer than insane hens.

3) You don’t have to lock your doors if you’re raising sane hens.

4) However, if you’re raising insane hens, oh boy! Insane hens naturally form gangs and terrorize the countryside. Indeed, a particular brutal gang of Rhode Island reds went on a car-jacking spree in Hicken County, Colorado back in 1969. You can imagine the difficulty the Colorado Tourism Board had in hushing that up.

5) By 2006, intelligent, insane hens had penetrated all the major American banks and brokerage houses. Their coop smarts and the fact they could lay fresh eggs without even taking time off from work gave them an irresistible leg up on all other applicants. I mean omelettes need fresh eggs.

6) In turn, the hens wanted worms. As they climbed the corporate ladders, they wanted ever more costly worms and ever fancier worm meals. By late 2008, the demand for pricy worms and gourmet-worm chefs had far outstripped the supply. More and more, the large financial firms were forced to feed ordinary mash to their top-revenue-generating hens.

7) Mash ticked off the executive layers, so much so that they engineered the Great Recession of 2008. Now prospective chicken hires must assert their mental stability with the oath, “I, a sane chicken . . .”

Chef Paul

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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