One of Singapore's most famous dishes, Hainanese Chicken Rice is a must try for people all around the world when they visit. But why wait when you can make your own? Visit Singapore without leaving your kitchen with this recipe!
Tall slim cooking pot that can hold a whole chicken
Ingredients for Cabbage Carrot Soup
A pinch Salt
A. Prepare the Rice
Wash the rice and soak for 20 mins, then drain dry for another 20 mins and set aside. Peel the garlic and ginger. Grate the ginger and chop the garlic, then set aside.
B. Prepare the Chicken
Clean the chicken and cut off the fats. (see tips)
Wash the 2 bundles of spring onions. Cut off the white sections and set aside. Cut the green sections into small pieces and place in a large bowl, and refrigerate.
With the aromatics, wash the pandan leaves and fold it up into 2 bundles. Peel and cut 6 slices of ginger. then set aside.
Insert the 6 slices of ginger, the white section of the spring onion and 1 bundle of pandan leaves into the cavity of the chicken. Use a few tooth picks to seal up the cavity to prevent the stuffing from falling out during cooking.
C. Prepare the Chilli Sauce (OPTIONAL)
Wash and remove the stalks from the big chilli and chilli padi. Then peel the ginger and the garlic. Cut the lime and squeeze the juice.
Add the big chilli, chilli padi, ginger and garlic to a blender and blend finely.
Transfer the blended spices to a small bowl, then add in the lime juice and the rest of the Chilli Sauce Ingredients in group (c).
D. Prepare the Dipping Sauce for the Chicken (OPTIONAL)
Add all the Dipping Sauce Ingredients in (e) and mix well.
E. Prepare the Garnishing (OPTIONAL)
Wash the parsley and cucumber. Next slice the cucumber thinly. Refrigerate both until later use.
A. Cook the Hainanese Chicken
Add 3 litres of water to the tall pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, hold the chicken by the neck and dunk the whole chicken in and out of the boiling water 3 times. On the final dunk, finally immerse the whole chicken into the water and cover the pot. (see tips to know why)
Once the water is boiling (about 5 mins), turn the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer for another 10 mins, then turn off the heat but do NOT open the cover. Let the chicken continue to stew in the hot water for another 35 mins.
Meanwhile, prepare a large basin of ice water. Once the chicken is cooked, use a pair of chopsticks to lift it out of the pot from under the wings, then plunge it into the ice water for about 20 mins.
Remove the chicken and transfer onto a plate. Rub the whole chicken with 2 TBsp sesame oil. Measure out 3 cups of the chicken stock for cooking the rice, then freeze up the rest for another day.
B. Cook the Chicken Rice
While the chicken is cooking, add 3 tbsp of oil to a wok and fry the chicken fats to extract the chicken oil. Remove and discard the crispy chicken fats once they turns golden brown.
Add in the grated ginger and chopped garlic prepared earlier and fry till aromatic. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Once aromatic, immediately add in the washed and drained rice and the 1 1/2 tsp of salt, then mix well.
Transfer the rice mixture into the rice cooker. Pour in the 3 cups of chicken stock. Place the second bundle of pandan on top of the rice and cook for extra fragrance.
One the rice is cooked, remove the pandan leaves and loosen the rice with a pair of chopstick.
C. Prepare the Spring Onion Oil
In a sauce pan, heat up 10 TBsp of oil over high heat. Once it starts to smoke, pour it over all the spring onion evenly and you will hear a sizzling sound. That's when the aromatic smell emerges from the spring onion.
D. Serving the dish
By now, the chicken should be done. Remove the stuffing from the chicken, chop into pieces and arrange on a serving plate. Pour the dipping sauce over the chicken (optional). Garnish with parsley and cucumber and serve with the chicken rice, dark soy sauce, chilli sauce and spring onion oil
Cabbage Carrot Soup
Remove the skin of the carrot and slice it thinly.
Take 5 cabbage leaves, wash and cut into chunks.
Bring to a boil the remaining of the chicken stock over high heat. Add in the cabbage, carrot and chicken feet and continue to boil for about 10 mins over medium heat until the cabbage is soft. Add salt to taste. Serve the soup together with the chicken rice.
For easier cooking and smoother texture, The Rice needs to be soaked for a while before cooking.
To remove the bitterness of cucumbers, cut off one end and use the tip to rub the cut end of the cucumber in a circular motion until you see a milky substance. Repeat on the other side and wash.
Prepare the chilli sauce a day before to save time
Use a slim and tall pot so the the whole chicken can be immersed into water without using too much water. This way the stock will be sweeter and tastier.
Fold the chicken wings backwards into a 'arm-lock' before cooking. These will later act as handles that you can use to remove the chicken from the pot with a pair of chopsticks, without breaking the skin of the chicken
Insert a long skewer or chopstick into the thickest part of the thigh. The chicken is cooked if the juices come out clear or if the tendon at the end part of the drumstick breaks.
HOW TO PREPARE AND CLEAN THE CHICKEN
Make sure the chicken is thawed completely. otherwise it will affect the cooking time.
Remove any feathers and innards from the cavity.
Exfoliate the inside and outside of the chicken with coarse salt to remove the smell. Then rinse chicken thoroughly and drain dry.
Chop off the chicken feet and keep it for boiling soup in future.
Cut off the fats from the chicken and set aside for later use.
Do not remove the head and neck of the chicken as it provide a good grip for dunking the chicken in and out of the boiling water.
WHY DUNK THE CHICKEN?
The water must be boiling before the chicken is dunked into the water a few times, each time being completely immersed into the water. Why?
To seal the juices within the chicken to retain its sweetness through the rapid expansion and contraction of the skin as it is dunked in and out of the boiling water
It ensures more even cooking and more accurate timing as it heats up the inside of the chicken, so the water inside the cavity is at the same temperature as the outside.
HOW TO MAKE THE CHICKEN EXTRA SMOOTH
Exfoliating the skin when cleaning the chicken also helps to make the chicken skin very smooth and also make the chicken meat more tender after a massage.
Plunging the chicken into an ice bath is a MUST! The ice water will firm up the skin and coagulate the juices under the skin of the chicken to give it a smooth gelatin-like texture. It also stops the cooking process to ensure the chicken is not overcooked.
Rub the chicken with sesame oil to prevent it from drying out and to add flavour.