Singapore

Hainan Chicken Rice recipe dinner tonight

My adaptation of Hainan Chicken Rice recipe is here below with related links:

Aromatic poached chicken, tender and succulent very healthy and easy way of preparing. The poaching broth doubles as clear soup and flavours the cooked rice. Final result of three dishes; tender succulent poached chicken, flavored rice and aromatic soup.

Cooking dinner tonight

Prepare dinner for 4-6 adults, with kids, it can serve easily up to 8 persons.

  1. Hainan Chicken Rice foodie chat
  2. Hainan Chicken Rice tutorial step-by-step
  3. Chinese stock methods and variations
Recipe Hainan Chicken Rice; Preparing chickens; stuffing set

Preparing chickens; ingredients to marinate and for flavour

 

Hainan Chicken rice - lunch & diner

Hainan Chicken rice – lunch & diner


After reading and enjoying a good meal, why not travel to Hainan? The tropical island of China with white sandy beaches, turquoise sea and waving palms beckoning you to come and visit. “China’s southernmost province, an allure that is increasingly known worldwide as it is set to become an international tourist destination.” Source: China Daily

The island is located in the South China Sea near Vietnam. It has not always been such a commercial and busy island. Tucked away behind the vast country mountains, this island has long been hidden for tourism. Han Chinese already built villages around 200 BC. But the Li population was only discovered in the 1930s.

Hainan is also called ‘Tail of the Dragon.’ Money is not the problem, like many popular areas in China. The developments go here with the speed of light. The island has a speed rail that allows you to move, although we find that bikes are still the best option.

Hainan, China





Hainan Chicken tutorial step-by-step

For making Hainan Chicken Rice recipe click on the link. Buy fresh pandan leaves at Chinese supermarkets or frozen packages, if none available you can substitute with spring onion or young leeks. To handle the leaves for stuffing and cooking, tie 3-4 leaves into a knot as shown in the image here below.

Hainan Chicken Tutorial step-by-step photo overview

Fresh pandan leaves, great fragrance and vibrant colour

For us a distinct Hainan Chicken Rice flavour is steeping the stock with Pandan leaves, it enhances unique fragrance. My home recipe for Singaporean style how to teach my kids to cook this dish. Like any great dish, every Singaporean cook has its very own recipe. Suggestions for Chinese stock methods and variations or Hainan Chicken Rice – food chat trivia, click on the links. Luckily we all share one big secret ingredient.

“Love” to eat, create and share.

Preparing chickens; stuffing set

Preparing chickens; have everything set up and ready.

Don’t forget to remove the chicken fat at the rear side of the chicken

chicken fat

Remove chicken fat and set aside for use in stock or making chilli paste.

Salt and rub all over the chicken, scrub as you can see it exfoliates and smooth the skin

Rub chicken skin clean

After a good rub, the skin will look glossy and clean

Season the chicken in and outside with pepper and salt

Season the chickens

Season the chickens

Stuff cavity with whole garlic cloves, ginger slices followed by the pandan knots. This will prevent the stuffing from falling out and locks everything in for great aroma development.

Stuff chicken with herbs in cavity

Stuff chicken with herbs in cavity

Tie up the chicken legs, so it is easier to lift and lower the chickens into the stock.

tie up the chicken

Tie up the chicken with the packaged food elastic or butcher’s twine.

Chicken prepared, marinating time will do its work blending the flavours.

Marinate chicken 6-8 hours or overnight

Transfer the chicken to a container and marinate the chicken in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Prepare the aromatics for stock and rice

Fry the chicken fat add ginger, garlic, Chinese wine, light soy sauce, a dash of sesame oil. Fill the pan with 4 litres of water.

Recipe Hainan Chicken Rice; poaching stock

Preparing Chicken broth

Bring to a rolling boil first, lower the chickens submerged in the liquid and turn the heat down to a simmer. With only a soft bubble on the surface, this manner is poaching the chickens.

Recipe Hainan Chicken Rice - whole chickens in stock

Whole chickens submerged in stock

Let the chicken poach in the stock for approximately 35-40 minutes, taste and add seasoning if needed. Put a lid on and turn off the heat. Let the chickens cool down in the poaching liquid

Hainan Chicken rice - plump rice kernels full of flavor

Hainan Chicken Rice – plump rice kernels full of flavour

Method 1: Wash 6 cups of rice and cook in cooled poaching stock for a fragrant rice with a light aroma.

Method 2: Fry chicken fat in 2 tablespoons of oil together with the smashed garlic and ginger till its golden brown and fragrant. Add the rice, keep stirring coating all the rice kernels with a thin layer of chicken fat oil. Add the rice wine while it sizzles keeps mixing, as soon as you smell fragrance lifting up this signals to add the poaching liquid to cook the rice. At the end when you fluff up the rice remove the aromatics.

Method 3: Make a rice paste first, by pounding the chicken fat, ginger and garlic together with seasonings. Then fry the paste into 3-4 tablespoons of oil for 3-4 minutes releasing an aroma. Add the rice and mix to coat the rice. Pour the stock with pandan leaves to cook till the rice is ready.

Of all three methods, the rice paste will be fully absorbed producing an intensified flavour to the chicken rice.

Hainan Chicken Rice almost ready

Lift the chicken up from the pan with the opening down to pour the cavity empty.

If you leave the skin on rub the chicken with ½-1 tablespoon sesame oil for extra aroma and a nice gloss. Fluff the rice pan and remove all the aromatics from the rice.

How to cut and dress the plate

Cut the chicken in serving portions

How to cut the chicken into serving portions

Cut off the chicken legs and remove the stuffing.

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This way the cavity opened up more to take out the stuffing. Now remove off the chicken wings, cut away the backbone. And remove the chicken carcass by pulling it off the chicken meat.

Cut and remove the breasts

Cut and remove the breasts

Turn the breast, remove all the bones and cartilage, with the breasts up cut through the middle and slice it up in pieces.

Slice the breasts in portions

Cut each breast horizontally lengthwise, making it thinner and easier to cut equal portions,

Chop the legs with a cleaver through the bone or debone first. Remove and discard wing tip, chop in equal pieces.

Dress the plate

Dress the plate

With all the cutting done, scoop the rice onto the plate add the garnish.

If at a restaurant or shop, sometimes you will be asked which meat cut

Place a combination of sliced chicken breast or chopped chicken wing or juicy leg onto the plate

Add condiments

Add condiments; dark soy sauce, chilli hot-sour sauce (and minced ginger sauce).

Enjoy labour of love

Hainan Chicken Rice Plate – Let’s jiak! – Time to makan-lah :-).

As street food meal, a big bottle of ice-cold beer makes a great combination. In refined dining setting pairing with wine, I would opt for a Viognier. Why? It is a dry, medium-bodied with loads of fruit flavours. While enjoying have a look here at Singapore as your next stop.

What would you like to pair with this dish? Leave a comment of even better sent me a photo how you enjoy your meal. Cheers!!

  1. Chinese stock methods and variations
  2. Hainan Chicken Rice – food chat trivia

Maids silent slaves exploitation

Last Sunday the Guardian posted an online editorial: “Slavery is a violent and cruel trade that the world must finally stamp out” based on the Oscars nomination which was awarded later that night for best picture category: 12 Years a Slave, the true story of Solomon Northrup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Click on the title link for article, here is an excerpt;

“Modern slavery is every bit as cruel, dehumanising and violent as the portrait painted in 12 Years A Slave. But with greater mobility, transparency and international institutions who could work in unison, it is unforgivable that it remains a crime largely hidden from view. At this rate, it might well be another 150 years before the scale of the horrors visited on so many to force them into labour is properly apparent.” ….

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), what is Human Trafficking?

Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. (Source: https://www.unodc.org, United Nations on Drugs and Crime)

Trafficking is the Act, Means and Purpose, these are the elements of criminalization and UNODC marked a milestone in international efforts to stop the trade in people with The adoption in 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children. Translating the protocol into reality remains problematic. Very few criminals are convicted and most victims are probably never identified or assisted.

Maids silent slave exploitation

Who pays? Not the maid, please - the online citizen

Who pays? Not the maid, please – the online citizen

This Facebook post was brought to our attention through our social media connections titled; “Who pays, not the maid, please!” published in the Online Citizen and know that similar stories from Philippine maids occur in the Middle East as well living in abusive employments. Click on the title link to read the post, here is an excerpt: “And now when someone asks `Who pays?’ I presume that they want the maid to bear the burden. They already do. And most of them have to work for 10 years or more to get themselves out of the debt they’re in. These stories in the New Paper, they ask for more protection for the employees against the already defenceless maids. And all this time the Singapore government is collecting half the amount of money a Singaporean has to spend on a maid, they call it a LEVY. They’re the biggest fat greedy agent, every maid in Singapore they collect their toll of the maid’s blood and the employer’s blood. And still, with all the money they collect they don’t protect the maids properly, they make ineffective laws (they weekly day off rule is a bloody stupid joke, nobody cares about it and the idiot who made the law doesn’t care too!).

And so when somebody asks `Who pays?’, after laughing, I hope that everybody realises one of the axiomatic answers should definitely be `Not the maid, please!’

A very well written true account, not a movie, a cry to be heard. The article was written as a response to an on-line article titled: “When maids want out, who pays?” with the closing line; “In Ground Zero, the heartlands ponder why there is not more protection for employers too.” The content is short and not significant but your reaction changes when you read the local posted Facebook reactions and other comments.

Free the Slaves

http://www.emancipasia.org image source: freetheslaves.net

Just wonder when services in a market with supply and demand have turned into war zones in domestic households, with injured parties on both sides. However workers are more often than not defenceless wilfully “neglected” by employers, officials and the public. Reading through the articles and comments on both sides one can not help but notice that local government could have done a better job towards both parties beside pocketing on both sides, instead of aiding better regulations and work conditions. Around the world immigrant workers have been for centuries easy marks, now called modern slaves is actually disgusting when governments fail to protect by not implementing and applying protocols with right actions. Far gone are the sugar plantations, instead, it has moved literally back in the modern household “maid slave exploitation” version 1.0 running up to 5.0 and higher?!

In The Guardian, a previous article published last January 2014 titled; “When is a slave a slave?” refers to the debate about definitions and what it is we seek to change. Click on the title link for a full read, here is an excerpt:

“Certainly, to call something slavery helps to raise attention and to galvanise action. But will it help end the misery of poor and distressed people the world over? No. Ending slavery or forced labour requires targeted action to change laws, to bring offenders to justice, to protect victims and to empower those at risk. While some measures of prevention, such as eliminating abusive recruitment and wage payment systems or enabling children to attend school, can go a long way in addressing systemic problems of injustice, much more is needed to eradicate child labour and to ensure decent work for all. Hence, definitions help to narrow down a problem and to target our action.

Clear definitions are also necessary for measuring change. Only by quantifying a problem are we able to understand whether it decreases or increases over time and whether we are on the right path solving it. Some problems are easier to measure than others and everyone would agree that measuring slavery poses many challenges. The hidden nature of the problem, political sensitivities and ethical considerations make it very difficult to implement national surveys on the basis of which reliable global data can be generated.”…

Modern slavery exploitation it still exists, it must be stopped, period.

Hainan Chicken Rice – foodie chat trivia

Last weekend I went out to shop for pork belly, but the butcher shop closed earlier than I had expected. Ended up at the local Moroccan halal butcher, buying entirely different ingredients. Came home with two fresh Halal broilers to prepare Hainan Chicken Rice 海南鸡反 for dinner. A family favourite dish with loads of stories attached, where to go to sample and taste, and company who joined. Asians habitually talk about food, so everyone chimes in to share at the table with fellow travellers and foodies.

Once upon a time… of course it’s not a fairy tale, but this dish has a long history. An old saying “Whoever wants to go to China must cross the Seven Seas” opening up food chat trivia with many questions and even more answers. This Chinese dish must have accompanied Admiral Zheng He with his treasure fleet on his expeditionary voyages. Throughout south-, south-east Asia all the way till the east coast of Africa from 1405 till 1433. Diaspora of Chinese communities emerged far from home with immigrants bringing with them their skills and reminders of home in preparing comfort food.

Let’s jump forward in time, across the Pacific Ocean at the beginning of the 19th century first immigrants arrived known in American history as Chinese railroad workers. Sailing the opposite direction over the Atlantic Ocean, the first Chinese seamen arrived in The Netherlands in 1911. This time frame and distance show a glimpse of a long history; it explains how widespread early Chinese peasant cooking has caught on all continents and the adaptability of Chinese dishes to local taste.

Hainan Chicken Rice

This famous dish named after a Chinese sub-tropical island 海南岛 in the South China Sea, where a local dish prepared with the main ingredient “Wencheng Chicken” originates. Long after the first immigrants, the present dish is still named as Hainan Chicken Rice. Recognised for its simplicity, aromatic rice and the tender poached chicken it remains a favourite dish trending on top of many food lists with fans in- and outside south-east Asia. Singapore proudly lists as one of their national dishes, available at almost every street corner coffee shop called Kopitiam, food courts, hotels and even highlights on Singapore Airline menu.

If you have travelled throughout this region e.g. Taiwan, HongKong, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, you will recognise a resembling chicken dish. In taste and presentation slightly different as influenced by available produce and local taste. Hong Kong has it’s own cooking style and their way of preparation gained popularity as Pak Kai or BaiJi, 白鸡, also resulting in succulent meat cuts.

The Thai variation is known as Khao man kai, in Vietnam, it is called Com Ga Hai Nam. Every mouthful of Chicken & Rice are as good as the source dish, most importantly it shares the same characteristic of poached succulent chicken meat and fragrant broth.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is about simplicity

Chicken – Traditional Hainan free-range Wencheng chicken feed is with coconut and peanut shells. The adopted Singaporean national dish version is claimed prepared best with a Kampung chicken (Ayam Kampung means free-range village chickens, common in Indonesian and Malaysian). Home in The Netherlands I have prepared this dish with corn-fed free-range chicken, broilers and cut chicken parts, foremost it needs to be fresh.

In all fairness, during the week I will buy supermarket cuts or broilers, but for this dish, I will opt for a poultry butcher. To buy specialities such as Bresse Chicken from France very flavoursome and worth the cooking effort to prepare a particular dish. A rare, the only bird with an A.O.C. a national quality label of origin. Once plucked the chicken are all naked and look the same (right?), but the Bresse chickens have blue feets. A slightly cheaper option is the free range Dutch corn-fed Kemper chicken, very tender and tasty meat. You can easily recognise a corn fed chicken by its yellow-orange skin and when cooked the meat flavour differs from a battery or factory production.

BROILER: A meat chicken processed at the age of 7-12 weeks when it reaches 2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds live weight. Historically Broilers were marketed as birds ranging 1 to 2 ½ lbs.

fresh broiler chickens, Hainan Chicken Rice

Halal broilers

Cooking technique: Use the stock for poaching the chicken, with all the extracted aromas the broth can be used to cook the rice. Served as clear soup accompanying the dish or reserved liquid used for flavourings of stir-fry dishes. Click for “Chinese stock methods” on the highlighted link.

Hainan Chicken - Poaching Chicken legs

Poaching Chicken legs – Hainan Chicken

Chicken fat – Chicken fat is used to stir-fry the rice first or made into a paste with additional spice and herbs, to enhance the flavour and then add the stock with ginger, garlic (and optional adding of pandan leaves and other herbs). Use the chicken fat in making the original Singaporean style chilli dip-sauce (if I use a whole chicken I pull out the chicken fat especially to make a big batch, for taste it is worth the trouble of preparing the chilli dip).

Chicken fat

Remove chicken fat and use a rice paste or chilli paste as dipping sauce

Accompaniments – dipping sauces

By looking at the various dipping’s you can retrace the serving country;

  • Hainan the dish is accompanied with typical oyster sauce and minced garlic, along with chilli dip and finely minced ginger with a bit of green onion (shortly heated in oil to draw out flavour and sharpness without darkening).
  • Singapore a customary hot chilli paste sauce (consisting of minced peppers, lime juice with chicken fat, chicken broth, garlic & ginger), along with pounded ginger served with dark soy sauce. Recent years the Thai Sriracha sauce has become a very popular condiment, due to its close spicy sourness and garlicky taste.
  • Hongkong has lime/lemon juice added to the ginger, next to a hot chilli sauce.
  • Thailand a sauce mix made with yellow soybean paste, thick soy sauce, chilli, ginger, garlic and vinegar instead.
  • Vietnam serves the accompanying sauce mix made of salt, pepper, lime juice and fresh chilli (use of fish sauce too).

Rice – Standard cooked white rice is just what it is plain rice. The chicken rice uses a rice paste with chicken fat for intense aromatic flavour. The stock included a variety of fresh herbs; it influences a different result as in soup or cooked rice. If you add Pandan leaves it enhances the grass fragrance, combine or interchange with lemon grass and galangal (aka blue ginger, Leng Kua/Laos, Kham, etc.) for a more defined citrus aroma. Have the pandan leaves combined with coconut milk (and lemon grass) to make Nasi Lemak another fragrant and traditional rice dish.

Hainan Chicken cooked rice

Hainan Chicken Rice either cooked with rice paste or poaching stock.

Hainan Chicken Rice assembly

Hainan Chicken Rice assembly – remove herbs from the rice – cut up the chicken

Almost ready to assemble our Hainan Chicken Rice plates – Singapore style. You can easily recreate this dish, for more information click on “Chinese stock methods” or “Hainan Chicken tutorial” or recipe post.