I am a Hainanese chicken rice fiend. This is my go to dish during my weekly China Town visit. For the best chicken rice in Adelaide I highly recommend either Ricky’s – located in the food courts market-side, or China Town Cafe. Both do a slightly different version. Ricky’s has more of a traditional take on the meal, incorporating the beautiful green sauce comprised of spring onions and ginger with chicken still on the bone, whilst China Town Cafe is a healthier option – providing the choice of lean chicken breast (hence the abundance of body builders as regular customers). After eating this meal on a weekly basis for several years, I decided that it was high time to try making it at home, and who better to trust for the basis of my recipe than one of my food idols – Poh Ling Yeow.
For the chicken cooked in stock
1kg chicken thigh fillets (the best choice for tender and juicy chicken)
1 clove garlic – smashed
3 cm piece of ginger, sliced
5 spring onions
2 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp light soy
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
For the chicken rub
1 tbsp light soy
3 tsp sesame oil
For the rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 thin slices ginger, 3cm in length
3 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained in a sieve
1 tsp salt
4.5 cups chicken stock (made from poaching chicken)
For the red sauce
4 long red chillies, finely chopped and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
For the green sauce
8 stalks spring onions, finely sliced
1 x 6cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
For the sides
1 long cucumber – sliced
1 tbsp fried shallots
1/4 cup kecap manis
Cut excess fat from thigh fillets. Place all chicken ingredients including spring onions, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy, sesame oil and salt into a large pot. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken (approximately 2.5L). Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer for 1 for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Skim any excess oil from the surface of the stock as it cooks.
Meanwhile, prepare the rub by mixing the soy and sesame oil in a small bowl. You can begin making the sauces during this time also by chopping your sauce ingredients.
When the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken onto a plate and massage it with the rub – cover and set aside. Then bring the stock back to the boil, boil for another 20 minutes.
To cook rice heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauce until fragrant. Add the rice and stir to toast for 1 minute. Add the salt and 5 cups chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the surface is pitted and no liquid present. Remove from heat and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
Place all ingredients for the red sauce into a food processor and blitz until well combined and smooth.
For the green sauce, combine spring onions, ginger and salt in a bowl then sit in the sink. Heat oil in a saucepan over high heat until smoking, then stand back while you pour it over the spring onions and ginger as it will splatter. Mix and set aside.
To serve – pile some (approx 1 cup) rice into a small bowl and press down to mould to the shape of the bowl, then tap out onto a serving plate. Repeat across 6 plates. Slice chicken into 2cm pieces, and divide across plates. Slice cucumber and add this to the plates also. You can either split all the sauces (red sauce, green sauce and recap manis) into small dishes so each person has their own or keep them in individual bowls for people to spoon out as they please. Divide the remaining broth into 6 small bowls – this broth can be poured over the rice or eaten as an accompaniment. Enjoy 🙂 – thanks Poh!