Gluten-Free and shamelessly delicious
Over the weekend, Adams friends decided to pop round for a few drinks, a game of table tennis and a movie. Since the weather was so miserable, I desperately wanted to come up with a dish that didn’t require me to venture out of the confinements of my home. With little over an hours notice, I needed a dish that was quick to make, could feed a crowd and utilized the ingredients I had on hand. My Hainanese Chicken was a hit! Everyone loved it! At one point, I was shocked to see one of Adams friends continuously reach for the Nuoc Cham sauce which he was warned may be too hot for him to handle. He can barely tolerate the heat of pepper…
Mind you, he was sweating profusely. As one hand was using a napkin to dry the sweat beads that ran down his face, the other hand was used to pour more sauce. Even if your not a fan of heat… I urge you to try the sauce! It truly does complete this dish.
Hainanese Chicken is a gorgeous dish that exudes clean comforting aromatics and flavours. This poached chicken is traditionally served with rice, an assortment of dipping sauces and the poaching liquid. If you do poach the chicken with the skin on, just be sure to separate the stock from the fat. I do this by chilling the stock then using a spoon to remove the fat solids that form on the surface. Skimming it off with a spoon is just as easy.
1.6 kg whole chicken (remove the skin if you prefer)
salt to taste
1 stair anise
½ onion (straight in, no need to peel it)
3 garlic cloves, smashed
½ tsp black whole peppercorns
4 slices of ginger, ¼ inch or so
2 bunches of coriander including the roots
2 stalks of celery, cut in half horizontally
3-4 spring onions, cut in half horizontally
1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
To make the stock, fill a large stock pot with 3-4 litres of water.
Add the star anise, onion, garlic, peppercorns, ginger, coriander roots, celery and spring onion.
My mum has always told me to rinse my poultry before I use it. That being said, i wash and pat dry my chicken and generously sprinkle the chicken in salt. (Remember to salt the inner cavity!)
Bring the stock to a boil then gently lower the chicken into the pot, breast facing the base of the stockpot. Bring the stock back to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer for 20-25 minutes.
To check if the chicken is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the high and if the juices run out clear, its ready!
Carefully remove the chicken, I use a spider spoon and tongs. Transfer the chicken to a chopping board and allow to cool slightly before rubbing the toasted sesame oil all over the chicken.
NOTES & TIPS:
To serve, make a bed of rice in your bowl, add enough of the poaching liquid to loosen the rice and then add your chicken. Everyone who eats this dish has adopted my dredging technique with the Nuoc Cham sauce so be sure to double my recipe.
Some crisp cut cumber adds a nice textural element.
Don’t throw out your stocks! Pour it into a plastic container, label it and freeze.
This can become your Master Stock which you can continuously add too and further develop the flavours. Since I use stocks quite often in my cooking, I generally store it in a container in the fridge. Each time stock is needed, I re-heat the whole amount on the stove. I continually add more water and ingredients to it as it dwindles down.