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How South East Asia takes its chicken rice

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It may be called Hainanese chicken rice, but nowhere is this iconic dish loved better than South East Asia. This fragrant and flavourful dish has become a national dish of Singapore, but is also a common sight in Malaysia. It’s also popular in Indonesia, where it is known as Nasi Ayam Hainan.

The dish is loved both for its tender chicken as well as its rice, which is prepared by frying the rice grains in chicken fat with garlic and ginger. The rice is then cooked in a chicken broth. A popular South East Asian addition to the rice is the addition of pandan leaves to add to the fragrance of the rice.

The Malaysian state of Malacca has added a stylistic touch to its chicken rice by serving it as rice balls rather than in bowls or plates. The steamed rice is shaped into golf ball-sized orbs, which chefs say help to keep it warm, especially when stored in wooden containers.

There are two common variations on cooking the chicken in the region, and either option is just as delicious as the other.

White

Chicken Rice
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Although it has a Chinese-sounding name, Hainanese chicken rice is a popular favourite in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The original chicken rice dish. The traditional method involves steeping an entire chicken at sub-boiling temperatures in a pork and chicken bone stock. For restaurants and food stalls that serve chicken rice regularly, the broth is reused over and over, being topped up with water when needed. This creates a “master stock” which gives the chicken more flavour.

Using a cooking hob like the Electrolux Brio at home will help cut the boiling time for the broth by a third.  Its precise controls will also allow home chefs to leave it at a perfect simmer for hours to extract flavour from the chicken.

To get a result closer to those in professional restaurants, you can store the chicken stock in an air-tight container for up to a week in the refrigerator compartment. For longer storage, freeze it in an Electrolux FlexFresh refrigerator with its quick freeze feature. The faster freezing process helps to preserve the stock’s flavour better.

Roast

Roast Chicken
By divie10069
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Roast chicken rice is a crispier variation on the traditional “white” Hainanese chicken rice.

A crispier take on Hainanese chicken rice, this roast variation is made by marinating the chicken with honey, maltose, molasses, five spice powder, white pepper, ginger juice and light soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and ladle over the chicken until it is coated with the marinade as well as slightly cooked. It should be coloured a light brown when done.

While some like to deep fry the chicken to ensure a crispy outcome, it is healthier to actually roast the chicken in an oven like the Electrolux Inspiro oven. The oven comes with both sensors and pre-programmed settings created with input from professional chefs, so you can always be sure of a crisp result on the outside, while retaining the juiciness of the meat on the inside.

A halal version of the roast chicken rice is also popular in Malaysia. The chicken is steamed first, then fried or roasted to get a golden, crisp skin.  Less garlic and ginger are used in the chili that accompanies the rice, but tamarind juice is added to give it more tang.

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