I had some minor surgery last week and have to eat more delicate food for the next couple of weeks, so no matza for me. This will be the first time since I was about two years old that I am not eating matza during Pesach. It is a bit strange not being able to eat matza and matza ball soup, but it is all in the name of good health.
I was searching for a simple and tasty recipe I could have with my current restrictions and I came across a recipe for Singapore’s national dish, Hainanese Chicken. I never managed to have any when I was in Singapore, mainly because I was only there for two days and only saw the inside of the hotel I was staying at. To visit Singapore without eating this dish is a mortal sin. They usually serve it with a hot fiery red pepper sauce, but I had to keep it mild.
This is a delicate, yet very fragrant dish. I highly recommend it. And as a reminder, we are a kitniyot eating family.
Adapted from a recipe by Mark Bittman
1-1/2 to 2kg (3 to 4 pounds) whole chicken
3 tablespoons of grated garlic
1 big knob of ginger, grated finely
1/4 cup peanut oil or canola oil
2 cups white (jasmine) rice
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
Ginger-Scallion sauce (recipe to follow)
Chopped fresh scallion or cilantro leaves for garnish
1/4 cup minced (or grated) fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped scallion
1 or 2 clove garlic, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut oil or canola oil
Trim the chicken of excess fat and cut into 4 pieces. Place about 10cm (4 inches) of water in a large pot over high heat.
Sprinkle salt on both sides of the chicken pieces and rub them with half of the garlic and ginger mixture. When the water boils, place the chicken in the pot. The water should just cover the chicken; add more water if necessary.
Bring back to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken remain in the pot for 1 hour, covered. The meat should be opaque all the way through; if not, return to pot to a boil and cover again for another 5 - 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
Put the oil in a separate pot over medium heat. When hot, add the remaining garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and ginger are softened. Add the rice and stir, then add 4 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer the rice on low for approximately 20 minutes. Taste and add salt, if necessary.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces (optional) and rub with sesame oil.
Mix the ginger, scallion, garlic and salt together in a heatproof bowl. Put the oil in a small saucepan or skillet over high heat until smoking. Carefully pour the hot oil over the ginger scallion mixture (Note: it will sizzle a lot). Mix well and serve or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Drizzle on some of the ginger-scallion sauce and serve over the rice. You can also serve the stock with some scallion in a small bowl on the side.