09 Feb / Chinese New Year Recipe: Instant Pot Hainanese Chicken Rice
Deceptively simple, this dish relies heavily on the main ingredient—chicken. The key is to purchase good quality chicken. Organic is good, as is air-chilled chicken. Air-chilled chicken has drier skin and it’s not injected with saline.
PREP TIME: 30 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 hour, 20 minutes MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
1 (3½ pounds/1.8 kg) whole chicken, trimmed of fat (reserve the fat) 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
4-inch (10-cm) knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
3 green onions, trimmed
8 cups (2 l) water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
(4 medium cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
2 cups (400 g) jasmine or other long grain rice, rinsed in several changes of water until the water runs clear
2 cups (480 ml) reserved chicken stock
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 pandan leaves tied together into a knot
3 cups (720 ml) chicken stock
1 cup (240 ml) water
½ cup shredded lettuce or cabbage
½ teaspoon fine sea salt or soy sauce, or to taste
Chopped green onions, to garnish
Sweet soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 bunch fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced
Mixing bowl large enough to fit the
POACH THE CHICKEN
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Massage the sea salt all over the chicken, and inside the cavity. Stuff the ginger and green onions into the cavity.
- Place the chicken in the pot breast-side down, and pour in enough water to cover the chicken by ½ inch (1.25 cm) or to reach maximum level, 8 to 10 cups.
- Lock the lid. Select PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL and set to HIGH for 0 minutes. Make sure the steam release valve is sealed. Once pressurized (25 to 35 minutes),the cook cycle will start.
When the chicken is almost done poaching, fill a large bowl with ice water.
When the timer beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Then quick release any remaining pressure. When the float valve drops, press CANCEL and open the lid.
- Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh. The temperature should read at least 165°F (74°C). If the temperature reads below 165°F, close the lid for a few more minutes and let the chicken cook in the residual heat. Check the temperature again.
- When the chicken is cooked, lift it from the pot with tongs and let the liquid drain out from its cavity. Dunk the chicken in the ice water for 10 to 15 minutes. This will stop the cooking process and produce tender meat and firm skin.
- Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry with paper towels. Rub sesame oil into the skin to prevent it from drying out.
- Pour the poaching liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl and discard the solids. Reserve the chicken stock for later use.
COOK THE RICE
- Once the chicken is done, rinse and dry the Instant Pot to cook the rice.
- Select SAUTÉ and set to HIGH/MORE. Add the reserved chicken fat. When the pot is hot and the fat has rendered, add the garlic, ginger and shallot and stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. (If you get less than 1 tablespoon of rendered fat, add vegetable oil). Remove the solid fat. Add the rice, and stir to coat.
- Add about ¼ cup (60 ml) stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any cooked-on bits and avoid the BURN warning. Pour in the remaining 1¾ cups (420 ml) stock, and add 1 teaspoon salt and the pandan leaves.
- Lock the lid. Select PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL and set to HIGH for 3 minutes. Make sure the steam release valve is sealed. Once pressurized (10 to 15 minutes), the cook cycle will start. When the timer beeps, manually release the pressure.
- When the float valve drops, press CANCEL and open the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork.
MAKE THE SOUP
- Heat the chicken stock and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and blanch the lettuce for about 1 minute.
- Season with salt or soy sauce to taste.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, either Asian-Style with the bones, or Western-Style without. Arrange the pieces on a large serving platter just like a roast turkey. Drizzle the sesame oil and soy sauce over the chicken. Garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves and cucumbers on the side.
- Scoop rice onto 4 to 6 plates.
- Ladle soup into small soup bowls and sprinkle with green onions.
- Serve the chicken with plates of rice, soup and Sauces to pass at the table (see below). To eat, drizzle one or all of the sauces over the rice. Dip a piece of chicken into one or all the sauces and eat together with a spoonful of rice.
MAKE THE SAUCES
After the rice is prepped, start making all the sauces and stop at the point where you add the stock. The sauces can also be made ahead and refrigerated for 3 days.
5 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1-inch (2.5-cm) knob fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
6 tablespoons reserved chicken stock
¼ cup (60 ml) chili paste like sambal oelek
2 tablespoons lime juice (preferably key limes or calamansi)
2 teaspoons sugar
Blitz the garlic, ginger, stock, chili paste, lime juice and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings
2 ounces (60 g) fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Blitz the ginger in a food processor. Whisk together with the stock, vegetable oil, sesame oil, sugar and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
¼ cup (60 ml) hot reserved chicken stock
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
Whisk together the stock and sugar until the sugar has dissolved completely. Microwave on low if necessary to dissolve the sugar completely. Mix in the dark soy sauce.