Hainan Chicken Rice

My dad grew up in Malaysia, and this was his signature dish. Even though it is Chinese in origin, you can only find it in Malaysian or Singaporean restaurants. Hainan Island is off the southern coast of China. A lot of Hainanese Chinese emigrated to Malaysia and Singapore and brought their cuisine with them. This dish has been modified for the Western kitchen and into a healthier version (the original version uses chicken fat).

Yield: 4

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Hainan Chicken Rice Recipe

Ingredients
  • Sweet Pickle:
  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • Chicken :
  • 2 chicken breasts, with skin, halved
  • salt, to taste
  • Rice :
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 2/3 cups chicken broth
  • Soup :
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup mustard greens, chopped
  • Ginger Scallion Dip:
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 Tablespoon scallion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
  • salt, to taste
  • Spicy Dip:
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
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Preparation Instructions

SWEET PICKLE
Combine sugar with vinegar until sugar has completely dissolved. Add cucumber and carrot. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

CHICKEN
Rub chicken breasts with salt. Steam, skin side up, for about 15 minutes, or until just cooked. Let cool to room temperature and slice.

RICE
Heat oil until hot. Saute ginger paste and mashed garlic for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add rice and saute until slightly translucent. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover slightly and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and cover tightly. Let sit for at least 15 minutes. Fluff before serving.

SOUP
Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add mustard greens and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

DIPS
Combine ingredients for each dip in small dipping bowls.

Yield: 4
Helpful Hints

Drain the sweet pickle and arrange a thin layer at the bottom of a serving platter. Arrange the chicken on the sweet pickle. Serve the meal family style.

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