A much-loved Chinese classic, this Singaporean recipe is an interpretation of chicken rice, using pandan, kecap manis and cucumber to complement the balance of flavours.
- 1 kg chicken carcasses (or legs or wings)
- 3 slices ginger
- 2 spring onions
- 1.5 kg free-range chicken, fat trimmed and reserved
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine) (see note)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 6 slices ginger
- 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 10 long red chillies, seeds removed and roughly chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 5 cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 75 g ginger, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ½ tbsp lime juice
- ½ tsp salt
- reserved chicken fat or peanut oil
- 2-3 cm piece of ginger, grated
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 cups long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 2 pandan leaves, individually tied in a knot (optional)
- sliced spring onion or blanched shredded cabbage
- kecap manis
- sliced cucumber
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Rub the inside of the chicken with the rice wine and half the soy sauce. Pound the garlic, half the ginger and half the spring onion to a paste in a mortar (or blend in a food processor). Rub the paste inside the chicken.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat and add the chicken, remaining ginger and spring onion. Cover with a lid and leave to stand in the water for 1 hour. After the first 5 minutes, lift the chicken out and drain the water from its cavity, then return to the water. Repeat 2 or 3 times during the hour (this ensures that there's enough hot water inside the chicken to cook it through). After 30 minutes, bring the water back to almost boiling then turn the heat off again. Cooking the chicken without boiling it ensures it is tender and juicy.
Remove the chicken from the water. Combine the remaining soy sauce with the sesame oil and salt and rub into the chicken. Leave to cool.
To make the stock, add the chicken carcasses, ginger and spring onions to the pot of water and boil for 1-2 hours, until the stock has a strong chicken flavour. Strain the stock through muslin cloth.
Meanwhile, make the chilli sauce. Pound the chilli, garlic and ginger to a paste in a mortar (or blend in a food processor). Add ½ tablespoon of chicken stock and lime juice and salt to taste.
To make the ginger sauce, pound the ginger and garlic to a paste in a mortar (or blend in a food processor) and add the lime juice, salt and 2 tablespoons of chicken stock.
To make the chicken rice, heat the chicken fat in a wok until it releases oil, then add the ginger and garlic and fry until golden. Discard any solid pieces of fat. Add the rice and salt and stir-fry briskly for 1-2 minutes. Transfer the rice to a saucepan or rice cooker and add 3½ cups (875 ml) of chicken stock and the pandan leaves if using. Cover with a lid and cook until the stock is absorbed (you may need to add a little more stock towards the end if the rice seems dry).
To serve, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Reheat the remaining chicken stock and ladle into small serving bowls, garnishing with sliced spring onion or blanched shredded cabbage. Serve the stock alongside the chicken, rice, chilli sauce, ginger sauce, kecap manis and cucumber.
Photography by Alan Benson.
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