Chicken rice a la thebigfatnoodle
thebigfatnoodle’s version of Singapore’s famous chicken rice
If you’re feeling a little daunted by the various components that make up this dish, don’t be because here’s my 10 easy steps to follow. It’s really a doddle and if you follow these steps, you simply can’t go wrong.
- Make the ginger oil dressing (30 minutes tops) a day before
- Make the chicken rice chilli (another 20 – 30 minutes tops) a day before
- Place your chicken and all the ingredients into a large stock pot and cook as instructed below (1 hour)
- While your chicken is poaching, make the chicken dressing (5 minutes) then you can spend the next hour doing whatever you like. If you haven’t made the sauces before, now’s the perfect time. Or else, I use it to wash the vegetables, slice the cucumbers, wash the rice, lay the table, nag my husband…
- Lift the chicken out of the soup and cover with aluminum foil to retain the moisture
- Transfer some of your chicken stock to your rice cooking pot and use it to cook the rice (20 minutes)
- 5 minutes before your rice is ready, chop the chicken into serving portions and pour half of the chicken dressing over the chicken
- Boil some water to steam/cook some green veg – kailan works best!
- Serve everyone with some chicken rice-rice and some soup (I normally put the soup into one big pot in the middle of the table and everyone can just help themselves to it!)
- Dig in!
Chicken rice chilli (this should roughly fill a 150 to 200 gram jar)
7 – 8 large red chillies
4 – 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon brown sugar
I have a food processor so I cheat a little by using the food processor to chop up all the chilli and garlic before I transfer it to my mortar and pestle for pounding. If you don’t have a food processor, it’ll just take you an extra 2 minutes to slice the chillies and chop the garlic. Don’t be tempted to forgo the pounding if you have a food processor though. I’ve never been able to extract the same amount of juice from the chilli or garlic if I just use the food processor. Sometimes a bit of elbow grease is necessary to get the best results!
Pound the chillies and the garlic to a fine mush. Mix in the vinegar, lemon juice and add the sugar. If it’s too hot for you, you can dilute it with some water, or more lemon juice and vinegar. It you think it’s too tart, add more sugar and if you love garlic, pound more cloves of garlic! Transfer to a dish and put the rest in a jar.
Ginger oil dressing (this will fill a 400g jar)
175 grams ginger, peeled and pounded to a coarse mince
4 large spring onions, sliced
120 grams vegetable oil (I like sunflower oil best)
1 ½ teaspoons Maldon sea salt
After you’ve pounded the ginger until it becomes a coarse mince, transfer it to a jar or a mixing bowl (make sure you capture as much of the yellow juice!). Mix the spring onions evenly with the ginger and cover the whole lot with the vegetable oil (make sure the oil covers your ginger and spring onion. Mix in the sea salt. You can actually eat this straight away but it’s 100 times better if you let all the flavours blend together overnight.
I’ve just called this my chicken dressing and after I make it, I use half of it to pour over the chicken and I keep half on the table for everyone to use as an additional dressing over their rice/chicken or in their soup.
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon Maggie seasoning
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon mirin
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
Put everything into a bowl and stir until the sugar’s dissolved. Easy!
Poaching the chicken
I have a supersized catering pot which means I can make a lot of stock so if you don’t have one that can pit a chicken and 4 litres of water, just find a large pot that will fit a chicken and at least 2-3 litres of water and start by using 1 stock cube. You can always add another if you don’t find it flavourful enough. Less stock simply means less soup for the table. You just have to make sure your pot is big enough to completely cover your chicken to ensure it’s big enough to 1) poach your chicken and 2) provide enough stock to cook your rice with.
1 chicken, whole (approx 2 kilograms), pour about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce rubbed all over the skin and set aside for about 30 mins
1 large fist-sized piece of ginger, cleaned and sliced
2 large carrots, washed and chopped into chunks or slices
2 large sticks of celery, washed and sliced
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
3 whole star anise
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 small cloves
1 teaspoon red peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
(optional) 1 stick lemongrass
1 tamarind stock cube
2 chicken stock cubes
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 litres of cold water (or enough to cover the chicken)
Freshly sliced tomatoes and cucumber parsley and coriander for garnishing
If your chicken’s strung, don’t remove the string as it’ll make it easier for you to fish the chicken out of the pot and helps to keep the chicken together. Place the chicken and all the vegetables and spices into a large cooking pot and cover with the cold water. Cover the lid and bring it up to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down and let the chicken poach on a gentle simmer for about 1 hour.
After an hour, lift the entire chicken out of the pot – you may find the wings might fall off – it’s that tender and moist after poaching! Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and set it aside somewhere where it can stay warm (I normally put it into the microwave).
Making the chicken rice-rice
If you don’t have a rice cooker, follow the instructions on your packet of rice however do use the steaming method for cooking your rice. All you need to do is to substitute the water your normally use to cook your rice and use your chicken poaching stock instead.
At this time, also make some vegetables, like boiling / steaming some kalian. Serve the kalian with a couple of splashes of oyster sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil.
I line a large serving plate with slices of fresh cucumber and sometimes tomato slices as well. I tear off the drumsticks, legs, thighs and wings and place them around the serving plate. I think remove both pieces of breasts from the bone (then put the remaining carcass back into the cooking pot) and slice the chicken breast, laying it on top of the other chicken pieces.
If you’ve found your chicken going slightly cold, just zap it in the microwave for a minute or do. Drizzle the chicken dressing over your chicken pieces and garnish with a big dollop of the ginger oil dressing.
Serve the chicken with the rice, vegetables, soup on the side and saucers of sweet soy, more ginger oil dressing and the chicken rice chilli.