Hainanese chicken rice originated on the Chinese island of Hainan. It’s now claimed as a national treasure in both Malaysia and Singapore. In it, chicken is poached until just barely cooked through, and still extremely juicy. The luscious chicken, which attains a resilient (some would say “bouncy”) skin, is served atop “chickeny” steamed rice, accompanied by a sipping cup of the delicate cooking broth and a coarse garlic/ginger/chili sauce.
Its simplicity (poached chicken, rice, broth and a condiment) proves that “less is more,” since the combination of these elements creates a strikingly memorable flavor immersion.
The fat that makes the rice so luscious is skimmed from the top of the chicken poaching liquid. But any chicken fat will do, so if you wish to render fat from the cavity of the bird, go ahead and use it.
© 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved.