Why Not Cook Your Mother A Meal Of Chicken Rice This Coming Mother’s Day?

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Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of Chinese origin, and is most commonly associated with Hainanese, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines, although it is also commonly sold in Thailand. It is based on the well-known Hainanese dish called Wenchang chicken (文昌雞), due to its roots in Hainan cuisine and its adoption by the Hainanese overseas Chinese population in the Nanyang area (present-day Southeast Asia). Hainanese chicken also appears as a specialty in Vietnamese cuisine. Mother’s day is approaching and it would be a bad idea to prepare some dishes for her and why not consider Chicken Rice. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hainanese_chicken_rice)

As explained above, chicken rice is a common household dish and hawker’s saleable item. It is welcomed by population of all age groups in Singapore and Malaysia, be it children, teens or adults and all levels from workers to top executives. Singapore is famous for its chicken rice (actually, I am not sure about the reasons behind this since places like Ipoh, Malaysia are also famous for their chicken rice) and is deemed to be a “national dish”. It is also one of the items served by Singapore Airlines for its business class and first class customers.

My kids loved chicken rice and I decided to cook chicken rice yesterday since they have been mentioning it for quite a while. In fact, they are having chicken rice at least one to twice a week at the school canteen.

IS CHICKEN RICE DIFFICULT TO PREPARE? – Simplified version of chicken rice preparation

Chicken rice is basically “chicken” plus “rice”. If you are not fussy and able to forgo a lot of minute details in the dish preparations, you will score possibly a pass in your preparation.

If I am not having meals at home, my mother in law can cook a pot of chicken rice serving our family (2 adults and 2 kids; 2 women, 1 girl, 1 boy) with just two drumsticks. This was how she did it. She cleaned the drumsticks; mixed the uncooked rice with a few spoons of chicken rice sauces sold in the supermarket; added a few sticks of pandan leaves; put it in the rice cooker; put the drumstick on top of the rice and in the rice cooker. This is a super quick way to cook, my mother in law was using the steam generated from cooking the rice to cook the chicken and let the juices drip into the rice. It took her only 20 minutes to cook. There was no complaint from her daughters and grandchildren as the three women family members don’t really like to consume meat. They just want “chicken-rice flavored white rice”  and they are more than happy to give all the drumsticks to my son. HOW BRILLIANT IS MY MOTHER IN LAW!

However, if you and your family members are food critics, then you may take a while for you to prepare an entire dish until the level acceptable by the foodies. The next question would logically be what differentiates a plate of delicious chicken rice from the “yucky” one.

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WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOOD PLATE OF CHICKEN RICE ?

Usually, the chicken rice was assessed based on the following criteria:

RICE
Fragrance Should emit a nice aroma which basically is a mixture of fragrances from pandan leaves, ginger and garlic
Texture The rice should be soft but still maintain the original grain shape. It should not be soggy (meaning too much water added) and greasy.
Color Color should be slightly yellowish that and not plain white. Yellowish color makes the rice looks more presentable and appetizing.
CHICKEN
Texture Should be soft and juicy. Therefore, simmering/poaching of chicken is one of the critical processes in this dish preparation.
Appearance A bit glazy, skin should not be broken. However, most households will throw away the skin and de-bone the chicken before serving it.
Fragrance As original as possible
CONDIMENTS
Chili sauce Beside spicy, chili sauce must also have the fragrance of sesame oil, ginger, garlic and lime.
Specially made soya sauce The soya sauce should be thick and slightly sweet
Ginger sauce Gingers were freshly ground and overall sauce must be tasty enough

Before I go ahead, I have to caution that my recipe is the healthy version but the outputs resemble those chicken rice sold in hawker centers or posh hotels or restaurants. You got the hint? Smile  If you found my ingredients are not that healthy, just substitute with what you usually use. Of course, not  the chicken and rice!!! I will justify the usage of my ingredients.

PREPARATION PROCESS

Getting Ready….
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One medium sized chicken.

When you buy the chicken, you have to make sure that you have a pot big enough to submerge the whole chicken. I have used a smaller chicken because I only have 4 persons for the meals.  For your reference, I have paid SGD 4.80 for chicken, therefore, it is rather small. I do not recommend to use frozen chicken as the taste would not be the same.

Additional chicken feet in preparation of chicken stock (may be SGD 1 for 10 chicken feet) and keep the chicken fats for frying the garlics and gingers.

One cube of ready made chicken stock (optional).

Lots of garlics, gingers and bits of fresh tumeric (optional).

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2 bundles of pandan leaves. It is definitely recommended if you are in Malaysia and Singapore but if you cannot get it in your countries, you can go without it but use more gingers and garlics instead.

Some coriander leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers for garnishing.

Light soya sauce, thick dark soya sauce, cooking oil, sesame oil for condiments. If you can’t get the thick dark soya sauce, you can use the normal dark soya sauce and add in some rock sugar

Preparing the ingredients….
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Pound the garlics and gingers as fine as possible. Add in a bit of tumeric if desired. Set aside for future use. Note that I have included a small slice of tumeric for the purpose of color the rice. Tumeric is a good coloring agent and in fact, it blends quite well with ginger and garlic. You can see from the second picture that the pounded mixture is a big yellowish. But do not add too much until it covers up the fragrance of garlic and ginger.

In a bowl, get ready some chicken stock cubes, dissolved in hot water and set aside for later use.This step is optional but I opt to do it because I need not to add a lot of condiments such as light soya sauce, salt etc. to the chicken rice later. Sliced some cucumbers and tomatoes and set aside for later use.

Personally, I would think that a plate of chicken rice is incomplete without slices of cucumber in it. The role of cucumbers and tomatoes is to negate the greasiness of the rice and chickens since it is just “chicken plus rice” without any vegetables. Size and shape of cucumber is up to individual and here, I have slice it into funny shapes for future garnishing. Tomatoes are optional but I love the color and it blends well with the chicken rice.

Preparing the chicken ….

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Clean the chickens and pluck off any feathers and hairs found. Chop off the heads and legs. The legs can be used for preparing the chicken stocks. If any chicken fats were found, wash and keep these fats for future use. You may consider to use coarse sea salts to rub on the chicken skin such that you have a smooth polished chicken skin. I did not perform this step as I did not have any coarse salts with me.

I have purposely bought some additional legs for the preparation of chicken stock as I found that one chicken is just not adequate to bring out the fragrance of the chicken rice.

The garlics and gingers quantities in this picture were for reference only.

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Get ready a pot of water. Throw some garlics, gingers, pandan leaves and bring to boil on high heat.

When the water is boiling , submerge the whole chicken into the water with its back facing up. Add in the chicken bones and feet. You can also consider to stuff the chicken with the garlic, pandan leaves and some spring onions before you poached the chicken.

The reason letting the chicken having its back facing up is because chicken breast takes longer time to cook  and positioning chicken this way will make sure that breast are fully cooked

Lower heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes

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Get ready a pot of water. Throw some garlics, gingers, pandan leaves and bring to boil on high heat.

When the water is boiling , submerge the whole chicken into the water with its back facing up. Add in the chicken bones and feet. You can also consider to stuff the chicken with the garlics, pandan leaves and some spring onions before you poached the chicken.

The reason letting the chicken having its back facing up is because chicken breast takes longer time to cook  and positioning chicken this way will make sure that breast are fully cooked

Lower heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Cooking the rice…..
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Use some type of measuring cups (be it the cooking measuring cups or your rice cooker cups)  and  pour adequate quantities chicken stocks (from simmering/poaching  the chicken earlier) to the rice and make sure that it is just adequate to cover the rice.

Note: How much liquid (in this case chicken stock) is needed to cook the rice is very much depends on the types of rice you have. Some rice may need more water to cook than the others.

On the rice cooker and when cooked, fluff rice gently with chopsticks (while loosening rice and avoid rice burnt at the bottom of the rice cooker. Leave at “keep warm” settings for about 10-15 minutes and a plate of chicken rice is ready.

Serving your chicken rice…
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Get ready a bowl, add some light soya sauce, sesame oils, and a bit of left over chicken stocks and mix well, set aside.

Cut your chicken into parts, arrange on platter over a bed of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.
Pour sesame soya sauce oil over the chicken and garnish with coriander leaves. In this picture, I have deboned the chicken and the whole plate of chicken are boneless

In separate condiments bowls, serve chili sauce, ginger sauce and thick soya sauce as dips.

Serve with warm rice and some chicken soups. There should be some chicken stocks left after you used it to cook the rice. I just throw in some tomatoes, chye shim, and tofu to make some soups for my kids to eat along with the rice.

Here is the chicken rice and does it look appealing to you? Overall, I think I spent less than SGD 10 for the entire dish for a meal of 4 family members. This price is not adequate for you to have a plate of chicken rice at a posh restaurant outlet. At a local food court, if we order one whole chicken plus four plates of rice, one plate of vegetables, plain chicken soup, you will need at least SGD to have that.  We can’t really finished the meals and we still have half a pot of rice left and about one third of chicken left.

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The “aftermaths”…..….CHICKEN PORRIDGE

I used the left over chicken “stock” from submerging the poached chicken in the ice water, throw the chicken rice, the meat into the water and boil for about 15 minutes. Add condiments and garnished with fried onion, coriander leaves and chopped onion and a bowl of chicken porridge is ready for breakfast.

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WHY NOT COOK SOME CHICKEN RICE FOR YOUR MOTHER THIS MOTHER DAY? IF YOU CANNOT COOKED FOR HER, WHY NOT FORWARD THIS POST TO HER AND SAY.

“ MUMMY, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY,

Mom, You’ve cooked for me with love all this while and how I wish I could prepare this dish for you this Sunday to assure you that your kid have grown up and able to take care of themselves.  However, since I am not free to cook this Sunday,  why not we  have the most famous Chicken Rice  in Singapore  at the famous Mandar…. Hotel  in Orchard Road instead? Mom, I love you….. “

Just joking!!!

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL MOTHERS;

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO MY  WIFE – MY KID’S MOTHER ; AND

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO MY WIFE’S MOTHER – MY MOTHER IN LAW………

Enjoy reading and look out for my National Flower Series – Spain (Red Carnation).

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One thought on “Why Not Cook Your Mother A Meal Of Chicken Rice This Coming Mother’s Day?

  1. Pingback: Hi, Let Start Cooking the Laksa …. An In Depth Analysis and Pictorial Procedural Description Of The Famous Sarawak Laksa (Part III) | GUAI SHU SHU

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