Friday, August 15, 2008

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Cooking chicken rice sounds quite simple. Basically, one just needs to boil the chicken, cook the rice, cut the chicken into pieces and put them next to the rice. That's it... However, it is really an art how to cook the prefect chicken rice. Even in Malaysia, we would say that this shop sells better chicken rice than the others or I will only eat at one specific shop I like the most. I think when it comes to this simple and yet well known food, the detail in each step of preparation is very important. When boiling the chicken, the timing needs to be perfect, too long will spoil the chicken and it becomes rough and chewy, too short of course leaves the chicken inside raw. At the right time, one must take the chicken out and put it into cold water to stop the cooking process so that the meat remains tender and smooth. One would also not just boil the chicken in plain water, we normally add ginger, garlic and spring onions into the water before putting the chicken into it. The rice must be fluffy and fragrant. Therefore, we normally fried the rice with butter before cooking it in a rice cooker with ginger and garlic. We used the chicken broth from boiling the chicken. We always prepare three kinds of dips or sauces for chicken rice. Without them, the chicken rice taste boring and loss its character. For the first one, we chopped the ginger very fine and pour boiling hot oil over it. The second one is kind of home-made chili sauce, finely chopped red chilies mixed with vinegar and sugar. The third one is a classical, just coriander with soya sauce. Add three together onto the chicken, thumbs up!

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