Hainanese chicken rice is Singapore's national dish. It was originated from the beautiful tropical Hainan island of China and was later adapted by overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia.
I had my first Hainanese chicken rice twenty years ago at the Chinese restaurant named the "Summer Palace" in China World Hotel, one of the most prestigious hotels in Beijing at the time. When it was served, I never thought the plain looking chicken rice had so much flavor in it. Many years later, I replicated the version I had twenty years ago. So here it is. Enjoy!
- Rub the chicken with sea salt to remove the dead skin. This process will guarantee you will have a clear chicken stock. Once done, you will get a fat bird with glistening skin. Au revoir, wrinkles.
- Put chicken in a large stock pot and fill the pot with water to cover the chicken. Add remaining sea salt and 3 slices of ginger in the pot. Boil over high heat.
- While the chicken is being boiled, add 3 tbsp grape seed oil in a hot wok. Once the oil is hot, drop in the minced shallot onions and garlic.
- Stir in the rinsed sushi rice once the aroma of the onions and garlic is released. Constantly stir the rice until it becomes translucent.
- Reduce to low heat once the water is boiled. Remove any scum as necessary. There should be minimum amount of scum in the chicken stock as the sea salt removed most of the dead skin to result in a very clear stock.
- Transfer the rice to a rice cooker. Add 3 cups of chicken stock from the stock pot and cook the rice according to the rice cooker instruction.
- Simmer the chicken for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the chicken with a lid. Let the chicken enjoy a steam bath inside the pot for about another 20 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a large bowl filled with ice water. The cold water will make the chicken meat become even more moist and tender. Cool chicken completely.
- Once the chicken is being cooled, add the remaining grape seed oil in a hot wok. Use a food processor to chop the green onions and ginger to a fine paste. Then add the minced green onions and ginger to the oil. Once the aroma is released, turn off the heat. Season with salt. Transfer the sauce to a small serving dish.
- Pat dry chicken with paper towel and cut into pieces.
- Serve the chicken with the cooked rice, ginger onion sauce and chili garlic sauce. You can buy garlic chili sauce from an Asian grocery store. I use the Huy Fong Chili Garlic sauce which can be found here. The rice is fragrant, oily and salty. It absorbs all the flavors from the oil, chicken stock, shallot and garlic. The chicken is very tender and juicy. And of course, when adding the ginger onion sauce, chili garlic sauce to the rice, I can not think of a better combination.