A Take on Hainanese Chicken Rice
This is the dish to make when you get a fresh, natural chicken and you really want to show off its insane flavor. I use heritage chicken breeds and the results are stellar. It’s a take on the classic Malay-style Hainanese Chicken Rice dish, but it’s served a little differently. Frequently, I make the rice that accompanies this meal but most often it’s too much trouble on a school night at home, so I serve this with plain streamed sticky rice and a nice green vegetable, and there are never any leftovers. Don’t be fooled: This recipe for steamed chicken is simple, but the flavors are complex.
Steamed Chicken with Scallions & Ginger
- Two 4-pound chickens
- 6 cups sake
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger plus 12 thin slices of fresh ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, halved
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup sake
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 thin slices of garlic
- 2 scallions, minced (3 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- Hot sesame oil
Prepare the Chickens
Put each chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk 4 cups of the sake with the soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, chopped ginger and garlic. Divide the marinade between the two bags; press out the air and seal the bags. Turn to coat the chickens thoroughly. Refrigerate the chickens for 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Make the Dipping Sauce
In a medium bowl, combine the sake, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, scallions and ginger. Season with the hot sesame oil.
Set a steamer rack inside a pot large enough to hold the chickens. Add 6 cups of water to the pot along with the sliced ginger, chopped onion and remaining 2 cups of sake. Bring to a boil. Carefully set the chickens on the rack, cover and steam until cooked through, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer the chickens to a cutting board or a platter and let rest for 20 minutes.
Carve each chicken into 8 pieces and serve with the dipping sauce.
Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Kate N.G. Sommers.