unexpected eats: making hainanese chicken rice

When away from home, there’s nothing better than comfort food. Though we aren’t exactly away from home, we’re settling into a new one. Singapore is the kind of place that charms you, and well, despite being incredibly excited about relocating to Europe, we miss our Singapore home!

So I decided to make some good old Hainanese Chicken Rice. This is the national dish of Singy, and though I did bring a bunch of packets of chicken rice paste to Europe with me, I wanted to make it from scratch.

I decided to use this recipe, though I made some changes.

Your ingredients are really easy to find in Europe. Some recipes call for pandan leaves, but this one doesn’t.

chicken rice ingredients

Basically, start boiling a pot of water. As that’s heating, exfoliate your chicken. It’s not in the recipe to do this, but it’ll seriously improve the texture of the chicken skin, and it’ll get the grimy bits off. I used salt to rub down the chicken.

raw Chicken

You also have to chop up scallions and ginger. I used 2 scallions, instead of the 1 scallion in the recipe. I didn’t chop the ginger or scallion too finely; they were about half an inch to inch pieces. The recipe says one inch, but I wanted to be able to stuff more flavour in, which is easier with finer pieces.

 

Once the water is at a boil, put the chicken inside the pot, breast-down. Luckily, only a couple pieces of the ginger/scallion pieces fell out. Turn down the heat so that the water is at a simmer, and let it cook covered for 40 minutes.

Taking the chicken out is kinda tough. I had to use two ladles to hoist the chicken out and into the ice bath, which made some splashes and tore the skin a bit. Save the water in the pot, as that’s needed to cook the rice, AND it’s the soup served on the side of chicken rice. I’d be a little heavy handed with additional salt. It really brings out the flavour of the soup.

To make the rice, just saute up some garlic in oil, toast the rice, and add the chicken stock you’ve just made. The recipe calls for a LOT of garlic, but I thought it was a little overpowering. I’d use a clove or two less than the suggested amount.

And that’s it! Done!

Homemade Chicken Rice

This recipe isn’t hard, but I thought it was a little time-consuming. In total, it took about two hours to make. I personally think it’s worth the time. It’s amazing how a simple dish can make you remember the country it comes from. I love Singaporean food, and I’m pretty eager to cook up some more.

What are your favourite comfort foods?

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