Hainanese Chicken with Rice and Garlic-Ginger Sauce
When I interviewed Aissa Shelburn, she gave me the recipe for this irresistible, vibrant chicken dish. The ingredients are modest and the cooking method easy, but the final dish is addictive: moist chicken, mouth-watering broth, and rice redolent of fresh ginger and garlic, with spicy sauce for an extra kick.
“Growing up in the Philippines, my family would take holiday vacations to Hong Kong,” she remembers. “Hainanese Chicken was always on my ‘must-eat’ list whenever we went. It is very flavorful. These days, when the craving hits, I make it at home in San Diego and share it with my husband and our son. There is plenty left over to have the next day, too.”
As for serving the dish, Aissa likes to keep the broth separate in a bowl, with the rice and chicken on a plate and dipping sauce on the side. She eats it with chopsticks and an Asian-style soup spoon. That way she can have rice, chicken, a little broth and sauce all in one bite on the soup spoon.
- Serves 6–8
- 1 whole chicken, 3–4 pounds
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 green onions, sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced into rounds
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon garlic, finely minced
- 1½ cups jasmine rice
- 3 cups chicken broth, reserved from cooking the chicken
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- Garlic-Ginger Sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon chili paste
- 1 tablespoon chicken broth, reserved from cooking the chicken
- Rinse the chicken under cold running water, pat it dry, and remove any excess skin and fat. Rub salt all over the skin, and rinse again. Place the chicken in a large stockpot, and cover it with enough water to completely submerge it. Add the salt, green onions, ginger and garlic, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer until the chicken is completely cooked, about 1½ hours. Occasionally, skim the froth from the surface.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot, and immediately dump it into a large bowl filled with ice water for 10 seconds; this step is optional, but it tightens the skin. Cut the chicken into serving portions and transfer to a platter. Taste the chicken broth, and if needed, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Make the rice. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium-size pot over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until fragrant—about 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown. Stir in the rice, and coat well with the oil. Add the chicken broth, season with the black pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer until the rice is cooked, 15–18 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the dipping sauce. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.