Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chicken Rice (my modified version)

One of my fondest childhood memory is having Hainanese Cchicken Rice with my cousins at a foodcourt near the Penang Bus Terminal. I was probably around 10 years old? During that period of my life, my family lived in a shop house with my grandmother and my other 2 uncles and their families. Including maid servants and other cousins who live in another state but visit from time to time, the shop house sometimes contained up to 18 people. My memory of the best chicken rice was at this run down foodcourt near the bus terminal where my cousins, my sister and I would sometimes go to on our own without adult supervision.

Memory is a interesting gift God has given to us. It consists more than just replay of the events/facts but sometimes we remember a person or an occasion by the senses, smell, thoughts. I can't really recall a lot of things about that place or how we could get away by going there on our own without adult supervsion, or how much we pay for the rice but the taste of the chicken rice stays vivid in my memory and whenevwer i recall this taste or when I smell the fragrant of the chicken rice, it brought back this sweet memory of my childhood.

So I decided to try making Hainanese Chicken Rice today. After doing google search, based on how much work i want to put in (as i have said before i do not fancy too complicated recipe), and taking into account my love for ginger and spring onion, I have modified the chicken rice. I chose to steam the whole chicken instead of putting it in boiling water as one recipe suggests, and I also made the mince ginger + spring onion suce that usually go with cantonese steam chicken instead of Hainanese Chicken Rice. (Love this sauce, I can eat a bowl of rice wit just this minced ginger + spring onion sauce!). The rice is so fragrant even as it was being cooked I can smell it! (this of course is because I used the chicken stock from the steamed chicken to cook the rice instead of water.)

One of the challenge lies not so much in the cooking, but the deboning of the cooked chicken. Authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice (HCC) is served with deboned chicken slices but I have left the drumstick without deboning simply because I think it looks better =)

To complete the meal, you MUST, yes you MUST I stressed again - have the garlic chillie sauce to go with the chicken.

There is heaven and earth difference having HCC with or without this garlic chillies sauce. You can make this from scratch, or purchase from asian grocery store. I am very picky with this chillie sauce. There are so many brands out there, but I prefer one with strong garlic and with a lighter red/orange colour over a darker red one. I think the lighter red means there are more garlic mince in there.

So as I put a spoonful of this chicken rice into my mouth and enjoying every bit of the chicken essence combined with the chillie sauce and soy sauce and ginger mince, it brings back the fond memory childhood again ....

Oh one more thing, I did not serve the chicken rice with soup (typically you will serve this with a small bowl of chicken soup with spring onion sprinkled on top) but i omitted this as i chose to store up the remaining chicken stock for use later as a soup base with wonton and dumpling I have made last weekend.

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