Whilst at work one day, a group of us were discussing which one of us liked cooking or washing up more. Someone exclaimed that, “There’s nothing worst than grocery shopping!”  And another commented, “I absolutely hate cooking. I can’t think of anything worst to do at the end of the day!”

I had to look away and not comment. WHO were these monsters that had replaced my work mates??!! WHO? I thought I knew these people!! *sigh*

Grocery shopping is one of the highlights of my week, and I always look on longingly towards the weekend, where I can visit the supermarket or local markets to buy the freshest ingredients and stock up for the week ahead.

God forbid, should anyone take me to a hypermarket (thank God, it’s non-existent here, unless you count Costco, to which I am not a member for precisely this next reason to which I shall reveal).

I could happily walk up and down and select shopping trolleyfulls of things that I NEED right now :) Doesn’t help that I usually grocery shop before eating.. hence I end up with a hell of a lot of things at the cashier!

One day, whilst we were walking up and down the aisles of the local supermarket (because that’s how we roll and how we entertain ourselves), the Boy asked if there was anything that I’d like to eat.

I was in the mood for a hearty meal that would remind me of home. And so I told him, “I would like Hainanese Chicken Rice! The roasted one! Not the steamed version!”

And because I was doing the asking, I said, “Please.” And because I’m such a spoilt girl, he complied.

So, he walked down the deli and purchased a nice fat chicken along with the other ingredients needed for this dish. Aside from cooking this wonderful meal, he also wrote the next part of this post, all because I really wanted to curl up in my bed with the doona pulled up high to read my book (and I did 😛 )

How does your loved one spoil you? For indeed, as I’ve said many times before… I’m a really lucky girl! And if you do nothing but scroll all the way to the bottom, take note of the bolded text… it’s quite funny :)

Ingredients for the Chicken
1 Chicken (Whole) – gutted and cleaned with neck and feet removed
1 Tsp of Honey
1 Tsp of Maltose
1/2 Tsp of Molasses
1/2 Tsp of Five spice powder
Few dashes of Ground white pepper
1 Tbsp of Ginger juice
2 Tbsp of Light soy sauce
2 Spring onion stalks
5-6 slices of Ginger (5mm thick)
Handful of Kosher or any coarse Salt – for exfoliating the Chicken

Ingredients for the Rice
2 cups of Long grain rice
2 Tsp of Salt
5-6 slices of Ginger (2-3mm thick)
2 cloves of Garlic – finely diced
2 1/4 cups of Chicken stock
1 Pandan leaf (knotted)
2 Tbsp of Chicken fat with skin attached – obtained by trimming excess fat from Chicken
2 Tbsp of Water

Ingredients for the Soup
2 cups of Chicken stock
1/2 of a White radish/Daikon – cut into large chunks
1 Tsp of Salt
Few dashes of Ground white pepper
1 Tbsp of sliced Spring onions or Coriander leaves for garnishing

Ingredients for the Chilli Sauce
4 whole Red Chillies (fairly large sized)
2 cloves of Garlic – finely diced
4 slices of Ginger (2mm thick)
1 Tbsp of Lime juice (Calamansi lime preferred)
1 Tsp of Caster sugar
1 Tbsp of Chicken stock
1 Tsp of Chicken oil – obtained from rendered Chicken fat during the Rice preparation
A pinch of Salt (to taste)

Ingredients for the Ginger Sauce
40g of Ginger – finely diced
2 cloves of Garlic – finely diced
1 Tbsp of Spring onion – finely sliced
1 Tbsp of Lime juice (Calamansi lime preferred)
1 Tbsp of Chicken stock
1 Tsp of Chicken oil – obtained from rendered Chicken fat during the Rice preparation
A pinch of Salt (to taste)

Ingredient for the Sides/Healthy Bit
1 Cucumber – cut into half (lengthwise) and sliced into 2 cm slices (diagonally)

Procedures:

Step 1: All hail, for it is the Roasting of the Chicken

Trim off any excess fat and skin from the chicken and keep it aside (this will be used for the rice in Step 2). The next thing to do is to “exfoliate“! Exfoliating the chicken helps remove any trapped dirt or yucky stuff off the skin. Grab a handful of coarse or kosher salt and start rubbing all over the skin but at the same time being careful not to tear or damage the skin. You should see a smooth clean skin once completed. The next step is to give your chicken a work out! There is a theory that when most chickens are “killed“, their muscles tend to tense up and constrict. By giving the legs and wings gentle pulls and stretches, it should ease the muscle tension and thus giving you a more juicy and tender soft flesh at the end.

Combine the Honey, Maltose, Molasses, Five spice powder, White pepper, Ginger juice and Light soy sauce in a bowl. Stir to mix the marinade and generously rub all over chicken including the cavity. Stuff the Spring onions and Ginger slices into the cavity. Tie the two legs together with a kitchen twine to help cover the cavity. Leave the marinated chicken to air dry in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours or overnight.

Take the chicken out 30-45 mins before roasting to allow it to reach room temperature. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. When oven is hot enough, turn it down to 200 degrees Celsius and place the roasting pan with chicken into the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 180 degrees Celsius and roast for a further 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken) until skin is crisp and dark brown in colour. Once done, take the chicken out to rest before cutting into pieces.

Step 2: Oh, so divine that fragrant smell of freshly cooked Rice

Wash the rice with 3 to 4 changes of water to remove excess starch and other impurities. Soak rice in water (water must completely cover the top) with 1 teaspoon of salt added. Soak for 10 minutes and drain once completed.

Remember that excess chicken fat at the start of Step 1? I’m assuming you have about 2 tablespoons worth of chicken fat. You’ll need to render that fat. To do so, heat a wok on medium heat and add the chicken fat with 2 tablespoons of water. Bring it down to a low simmering boil for about 10 minutes until oil is released from the fat. Keep 2 teaspoons of the oil for your Chilli and Ginger sauce while the rest of it will be used for the Rice.

In the same wok, add garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant (1 to 2 minutes) under medium heat. Add in rice and 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to fry for another 2 minutes. Discard the piece of chicken fat and transfer all other ingredients into a rice cooker. Add chicken stock and pandan leaf and cook rice until done. Once cooked, use a fork to fluff the rice.

Step 3: NO Soup for YOU!!!

This is a pretty simple soup to prepare. Boil chicken stock and white radish in a large saucepan or small stock pot (if you have one) on medium heat until white radish softens. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer or keep warm on very low heat until ready to serve. Garnish with spring onion slices or coriander leaves when serving.

Step 4: Chilli Sauce, spicing up your love life since ’69’

For the chilli sauce, it will depend on whether you prefer it with more heat or less. If you prefer it with less heat, remove the chilli seeds. Do this easily by cutting a slit along the chilli (lengthwise) and remove the seeds by scrapping away using the sharp end of the knife. Keep the seeds if you prefer it hot and spicy. Now, remove the stalk and finely dice the chillies. Once done, it’s time to make the sauce.

There are two ways of doing this. The hard way (Arrghhh… Me HULK, Me SMASH!!!) or the easy way (Whizzzzz … Bizzzzzzz…).

Me HULK, Me SMASH!!! way of doing things a.k.a. Mortar & Pestle: Grab a mortar and pestle. Add chillies, garlic and ginger and start pounding. POUND!… POUND!.. POUND! .. or maybe SMASH!.. SMASH! … SMASH! Continue pounding until you get a paste like consistency. Transfer chilli paste into a bowl and add all other ingredients. Give it a good stir and your sauce is ready.

The Easy way of doing things a.k.a. Got a Blender handy?: Add all ingredients into a blender or food processor. WHIZZZ!!! until you get a sauce like consistency. Done.

Step 5: Ginger sauce, oh ginger sauce…

The same choices as the previous step… doing it traditionally or blend-away.

Traditionally: Grab a mortar and pestle. Add ginger, garlic and spring onions and start pounding. Keep pounding until you reach a paste like consistency. Transfer ginger paste into a bowl and add all other ingredients and give it a good stir. Your sauce is good to go.

Using a blender: Add all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Start blending until you get a sauce like consistency. Done.

Plating Up:

Fill a small bowl with rice and turn it over onto a plate. Move bowl away and your rice should have a shape of a semi sphere. You can garnish the rice with spring onions, coriander or some fried shallots. Place some chicken pieces and cucumber onto the plate and drizzle some juices from the roasted chicken over them.

Fill a small bowl with the soup. Place chilli sauce and ginger sauce into mini dipping bowls. Voila!

Check out my other Hainanese Chicken Rice (Poached Version) recipe.