One of the foods I love to have when I travel to Bangkok is the Chicken Rice that can be found at the street stalls. There is a stall along Convent Soi near the Saladaeng area which I’d go to if I’m around the area.
Thai style chicken rice is quite similar to the hainanese chicken rice we have, but it seems a little less oily to me. The accompanying chilli sauce is also different.
Saw this recipe on Shesimmers.com for Khao Man Gai, which is Thai chicken rice and it seemed simple enough, so I decided to cook my own chicken rice one weekend.
Hainanese chicken rice
For the chicken broth
2-3 thick slices of ginger, lightly smashed
3-4 cloves garlic
Small bunch of spring onions
2-3 cilantro roots
Ice cold water, for cooling down the cooked chicken later on
Clean the chicken well on the outside as well as inside the cavity of the bird. I’ll always use some salt to give the skin and cavity a good rub before rinsing off. If you want, you can trim off the excess fat before cooking. But it’s okay if you choose to leave more or most of the fat behind, for chicken rice, because its the chicken fat that is rendered into the broth after cooking that helps to make the rice even more flavorful!
Put the cleaned chicken into a large pot, and put in just enough water to cover the bird. Add in the ginger, garlic, spring onions and cilantro roots and bring it to a boil. The aromatics can be stuffed into the cavity of the bird prior to boiling, if you wish.
Once it comes to a boil, turn the fire down so that it stays as a simmer. The cooking time would vary with the size of the chicken. i used a small chicken (<1kg) so mine was done in about fifteen minutes. Be careful not to overcook the chicken, especially if you are using a small bird.
Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and plunge it into a big bowl filled with icy cold water, so that the residual heat doesn't continue to cook the chicken.
After the chicken has cooled, remove from the bowl, let the excess water drip off and let the chicken rest on a plate.
The chicken broth can be used to cook the rice, and also to prepare a clear soup. For the soup, I cut up some winter melon and after a quick boil in the chicken broth, a simple tasty soup is ready!
For the rice
4-5 cloves of garlic
4-5 slices of ginger
7-8 stalks of pandan leaves, washed and cut into 3-4 inch pieces
Chicken fat reserved from the chicken stock from poaching the chicken
Approx 2.5 cups of Chicken stock/water
Approx 2 cups of rice
Put into the rice cooker and mix well. Set the rice cooker to cook!
For the chilli sauce
Salt, sesame oil and white vinegar
Blend till fine in a food processor. For the chillis, you can use a mix of large red chillis and chilli padi, depending on your spice tolerance. I used 1 chilli padi for every one large red chilli.
When the above has been blended, stir in some salt, sesame oil and white vinegar to taste.
If you wish, you can prepare a ginger sauce to go with the chicken too. Simply grate some fresh ginger and mix in some salt and sesame oil.
For the garnish
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
A dash of gin (optional)
Slice up some cucumber and line them up on the serving plate for the chicken. I like to use the Japanese variety as I find them more tasty and crunchy compared to the local variety.
Chop up the chicken and arrange the pieces nicely on top of the bed of cucumber slices. Garnish with the sesame oil and soy sauce mixture, and coriander leaves.
Serve with the rice, chilli and ginger sauce, and winter melon soup. A simple, tasty meal is ready!