|Rediscover the Joy of Eating: Hainanese Chicken Rice|
1 3.5-lb. whole chicken
Ingredients for the Rice:
2 tbsp. chicken fat or vegetable oil
Ingredients for the Chili Sauce:
1 tbsp. lime juice
For the Table:
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
To clean the chicken, with a small handful of kosher salt, rub the chicken all over, getting rid of any loose skin and dirt. Rinse chicken well, inside and outside. Season generously with salt inside and outside. Stuff the chicken with the ginger slices and the green onion. Place the chicken in a large stockpot and fill with cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then immediately turn the heat to low to keep a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes more (less if you're using a smaller chicken). Check for doneness by sticking a chopstick into the flesh under the leg and see if the juices run clear or insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone. It should read 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Immediately lift and transfer the chicken into a bath of ice water to cool and discard the ginger and green onion. Don't forget to reserve the poaching broth for your rice, your sauce, and the accompanying soup. The quick cooling will stop the cooking process, keeping the meat soft and tender, and giving the skin a lovely firm texture.
To cook the rice. Drain the rice. In a wok or sauce pan (use a medium sauce pan if you plan on cooking the rice on the stove top), heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the ginger and the garlic and fry until your kitchen smells like heaven. Be careful not to burn the aromatics! Add in your drained rice and stir to coat, cook for 2 minutes. Add the sesame oil, mix well.
While rice is cooking, remove the chicken from the ice bath and rub the outside of the chicken with the sesame oil. Carve the chicken for serving.
To make the chili sauce: Blend your chili sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth and bright red.
To make the soup: You should have six to seven cups of the reserved poaching broth left over to serve as soup. Just before serving, heat up the soup, taste and season with salt as necessary.
Serve the chicken rice with chili sauce, dark soy sauce, cucumber slices and a bowl of hot broth garnished with cilantro and ginger.