Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hainanese Chicken with Rice, Bittman Style

Followed the recipe for the most part - variations in italics, though I didn't include the alternate pan-cooking of the rice and just went straight to the cooker. Decided to not halve the broth recipe because I'm doing close enough to the full measure of rice (in the cooker) and want the delicious chicken juices for other recipes. My variations in parentheses and italics, just cos that's the way I roll. Apropos of nothing, I'm having way too much fun watching Colbert and listening to John and Bradley debate the fine points of ambush journalism as I type this.
  • one 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into pieces (2 lbs. of thighs, which is 4 of them)
  • 3 tbsp. garlic, roughly chopped and divided (4 tbsp.)
  • 5 slices fresh ginger, smashed (10)
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil (1/8)
  • 2 cups rice (a scant 2c.)
  • 2 tbsp. dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup ginger-scallion sauce (recipe follows below)
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • chopped fresh scallion and/or cilantro
Rub the chicken with the salt and half of the garlic and ginger (I also slipped some garlic and ginger underneath the skin). Meanwhile, boil 4 cups of water in a large pot. When the water boils, put the chicken in the pot; it should be barely submerged (add or subtract more water as necessary, then make sure it's boiling). Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes (I cooked for 15, but those thighs were fat). Turn off the heat and keep the chicken in the water for at least 1 hour, covered. The meat should be opaque all the way to the bone - if it isn't, return to a boil and cook for another 5 minutes.

Leave the chicken be, or remove it from the stock, whichever you prefer.

Put the neutral oil in a skillet over medim heat. When it's hot, add the remaining garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, till the garlic begins to brown (3-4 minutes).

Pour the oil-garlic-ginger mixture into your rice cooker. Add the rice and enough broth from the chicken (it was about 3-1/4 cups for me), and start cooking.

Carve the chicken however you wish (with or without bones), then rub with dark sesame oil. Serve as you choose - Bittman advocates drizzling some of the sauce over the chicken and serving it over the rice with the tomato and cucumber, while I am probably going to pack it straight into my Bento and keep the sauce in tiny Tupperwares on the side.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce (again from Bittman, with variations in italics)

While this sauce is lovely on its own, the accidental addition of some red pepper flakes worked well.
  • 1/4 cup minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (I used peanut)
Mix the first five ingredients together in a heatproof bowl.

In a pan, heat the oil over high till it smokes. Pour the oil over the ginger-scallion mixture, mix well, and serve or store.

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