kruizing with kikukat

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tribute to the Steamy Kitchen: Hainanese Chicken Rice

Happy Presidents Day!!!  I had a fairly uneventful work week last week, and I'd be thrilled to have another one just like it.  I got to reconnect briefly with an old friend at Waikoloa Elementary School on Friday afternoon and had a nice dinner at Sansei Waikoloa.  The Alaskan Flower Sushi, which has a small bit of rice, ikura, fresh salmon & a shiso leaf, was melt-in-the-mouth delicious.  Too bad the order only came with two pieces.

I'm not sure how I got started on this quest, but for some reason, I've been wanting to make Hainanese Chicken Rice.  It could've been a blog I read or it could've been Cheryl Lu Lien Tan's book, A Tiger in the Kitchen, but I was on a mission.

Because Jaden Hair is a deity in the food blogging world, I figured trying a recipe from her blog would be where I might find success.  I followed her cooking instructions religiously for the soup, rice and hot sauce, but I ended up doing my own thing for cooking the chicken.  I started out with her method, but the chicken was not cooked enough for my comfort level.  Aunty Janice sometimes refers to poultry as "Chinese cooked", meaning that while the meat is silky smooth, the liquid still has a pink tinge to it.  If you follow the instructions in Jaden's blog, you will end up with a chicken that is "Chinese cooked".  If the pink doesn't bother you, no problem.  When all was said and done (and the chicken done to my liking), I thought that my typical accompaniment for poached chicken, ginger sauce, would work well with the other two sauces (hot sauce and dark soy).

This meal ended up being a huge hit in the Kikukat house.  The Ds loved the broth (it tasted so much like gai jow).  The sauces proved to be a nice trinity with the slight sweetness of the dark soy off-setting the spicyness of the hot sauce while getting the aromatic kick-in-the-pants from the ginger.  The shocker for me was the rice.  D1 couldn't stop eating it.  She even brought some for lunch the next day with some chicken and ginger sauce (pity the person who had to sit next to her after lunch).

If you like your chicken the way I do, the following method will yield a more "cooked" chicken:  Boil water.  When water is at a rolling boil, add chicken and immerse for 1 minute.  Remove chicken and rinse under cold water.  Bring water to a boil again.  Place chicken in pot.  When water returns to a boil, cover pot and turn off heat.  Let stand 30 minutes.  Bring pot to a boil again.  Turn off heat, cover and let stand 1 hour.  Remove chicken.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe
Ginger Sauce

     1 c peanut oil
     2 tsp salt
     1/2 tsp white pepper
     2 tsp garlic, coarsely chopped
     6 tbsp ginger, coarsely chopped
     1/2 c green onion, chopped

Combine garlic, ginger & green onion in a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Place in a heat-proof bowl.  Heat oil, salt, and white pepper until very hot.  Carefully pour over ginger mixture.  Chill any leftovers.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
There is always a glass container with ginger sauce in my fridge.  We use spoonfuls of it to dress up cold tofu cubes or unsalty chicken (boiled, broiled, fried, etc.).  We also use it as the oil base for fried rice or Chinese stir-fries (the aromatics are already there).  And if my buddy Willy is reading this, there is no gluten or dairy in this sauce!

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