Chicken hainanese rice is one of my favorite dishes back in the Philippines. This dish originated in a village in Southern China and has become very popular in South East Asia that it went on to become Singapore’s national dish. It’s a flavorful poached chicken accompanied by rice cooked in the chicken’s broth.
I’ve been craving for this dish for quite some time now so I decided to do it. It was not the same as the ones I would have in Chinese restaurants in the Philippines but I realized how this dish can easily be an upgrade to your regular poached chicken. The rice is meant to be oily because it is cooked in the chicken’s broth plus some drops of sesame oil. You can entirely skip this process if you are not up for an oily rice but it’s really good and it gives continuity of flavor to the entire dish – it’s still clean eating at the end of the day.
Here’s how I made my chicken Hainanese inspired dish. What you need:
Chicken (usually, this is prepared with a whole chicken but in my case, I got just the thighs and legs)
1 bulb of garlic
Bok choy or Chinese cabbage
Light soy sauce
Chili garlic sauce
Sunflower oil or any cooking oil
Salt to taste
Preparing the chicken
In a pot of water, put the chicken, 4-6 slices of ginger (the thickness or how they’re cut don’t matter… you’ll just boil them for flavoring), 4 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoon of salt and a bunch of spring onions. Make sure that the chicken is completely submerged in the water. Once the broth boils, allow it to boil for another 1-2 minutes. Take the chicken out of the boiling pot and submerge them in water with ice. Once the chicken has cooled down, put it back in the boiling broth. Depending on the size of the chicken, I let mine cook for 30-40 minutes.
Preparing the rice
Cook the rice as if you are cooking it the usual way (1:2 ratio) but use the chicken broth instead of water. Put in 2 slices of ginger, 2 cloves of garlic, spring onion, a teaspoon or half a teaspoon of sesame oil and 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce.
Garnish, soup and sauces
To garnish the chicken, mince the spring onions, pour in some sunflower oil (I used olive oil and it overpowered the dish… so, I wouldn’t recommend it) and salt to taste. Garnish the chicken with this mixture.
For the sauces, the first one was just grated ginger and oil. The second one is just the chili garlic sauce with soy sauce.
Lastly, don’t forget the soup. Just pour the boiling hot broth on a bowl of bok choy.
I got the bok choy and chili garlic sauce from an Asian shop but sometimes, Coop or Migros have them.