Chicken…… chicken AND rice… Chicken Rice! Chicken and rice together is comfort food. It reminds me of my childhood. My mother would roast chicken and take the drippings from it and spoon it over rice. That flavor is ingrained in my memory and I will always carry it with me. I think it was the fat in the drippings that gave the rice so much flavor. Since our son, we eat a ton of chicken in our house. Unfortunately it’s one of the only 5 things he will eat (a bit of an exaggeration maybe it’s 8). Needless to say I am always trying to find new ways to prepare chicken.
I came across this dish when one of my favorite food writers here in Atlanta posted pictures of her version on Instagram. Hainanese Chicken Rice, is the national dish of Singapore, and to them, the ultimate comfort food. It’s usually served with sliced cucumbers, dark soy sauce and chili sauce. I think it’s called Chicken Rice and not Chicken and Rice because the rice taste like chicken. It has so much flavor and dare I say umami (…..yeah I said it). If you like chicken, ginger, garlic and rice, this dish is a must. Poaching the chicken gives it an incredible tenderness and using fat from the chicken to cook the rice gives it a very rich flavor.
This week Earth Fare had whole chickens on sale for $.99 cents a pound. We bought 4. As soon as I seen the ad, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I literally have been waiting for whole chickens to go on sale so I can make this dish. The awesome part about Earth Fare is all of their chicken is Springer Mountain Farm, which is good quality chicken, not organic but good quality. Upon researching this dish, I found you really want to use an organic chicken or the best quality of chicken you can buy. Since you are preparing the chicken by poaching and seasoning it very simply with aromatics, you will really taste the flavor of the chicken. You want the chicken to be as pure as you can get. An organic chicken wasn’t on sale (we are on a budget, remember) so I used the best I could afford.
Check out the garlic bulb in the pictures! We bought this garlic from Harvest Table at the Roswell Farmer’s market. I have never had garlic this fresh before. This was our first time at the Roswell Farmer’s market. I definitely think it will do in a pinch, but I did not see very many interesting ingredients from the farmers.
- 1 4-5 pound chicken (preferably organic or the best you can get)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 4 scallions chopped in thirds
- 4 inch stalk of ginger chopped in thirds
- 1 lemon grass stalk chopped in thirds (optional)
- 2 tbsp kosher salt, plus additional
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cups of Jasmine rice, rinsed very well, then soaked for 20 minutes and strained for 20 minutes.
- Fat saved from inside chicken or 2 tbsp of neutral oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups of chicken broth from poaching chicken
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fill a large stock pot two thirds of the way with water. Place pot on high heat to bring to a boil. While you are waiting prepare the chicken for poaching.
- Prepare chicken by removing fat from inside (also remove any innards) and set fat aside (this will be used later for the rice). Sprinkle chicken with a large handful of kosher salt and scrub vigorously, all over. This is to remove the little bits of feathers and anything that may still be left on the skin that you don’t want to eat. You may need to use more salt throughout scrubbing if it starts to dissolve too much. Once finished scrubbing, rinse the chicken well both inside and out with cold water to remove the salt. Stuff chicken cavity with garlic, scallions, ginger and lemon grass. Try to layer aromatics evenly within the chicken.
- Once stock pot comes to a boil turn heat down to low and slowly lower in the stuffed chicken. Add salt. Cover and cook on low for 30 mins . Then turn off heat and leave chicken in the pot covered for an additional 30 minutes. Chicken temperature should read 170 degrees on a thermometer. Remove chicken from the pot and place in an ice bath to stop cooking and set aside. Reserve poaching liquid (chicken stock)
- To prepare rice, take fat that was removed from chicken and place in a medium size pot with 2 tablespoons of water, cover and place on medium heat. After 7-9 minutes the water should have started to cook out and the oil will have started to render from the fat. Remove cover and cook an additional 7-9 minutes. The crackling (rendered chicken fat) will be brown and crispy. Remove the crackling. If using oil, just add to the pot on medium heat. You may need to add oil if the chicken fat did not render down to about two tablespoons. While on medium heat, add sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the strained rice and stir to coat in the oil. Then add 2 cups of the reserved poaching liquid (chicken stock) and salt. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until all liquid is evaporated.
- While rice is cooking, remove chicken from ice bath, dry with paper towels and brush with sesame oil. Carve the chicken for serving.
- Serve chicken with rice, sliced cucumbers, soy and a drizzle of your favorite chili oil.