Tuesday, August 12, 2008

'Steamed' Chicken Rice

This is my 'fake' but 'fool proof' chicken steamed rice dish that even my mom started to fix in her own kitchen. I seriously believe that she secretly adore all these shortcuts-modified recipes. She just doesn't want to admit it!!

Nasi Ayam - Chicken Rice is usually consist of white rice (cooked and steamed in chicken fat *oh, yum*, ginger, etc, etc) topped with delicious tender chicken cuts on it. But basically, it's all white. Back in hometown though, this 'not-white' version is just another stepchild of Chicken Rice.

In Malaysia, from what I've seen, it shares some resemblance to their ClayPot Chicken Rice. But anyhoo, the beauty of S.E.Asia living/ culinary is that everybody sort of have their own version of something. This recipe here is a spin-off duplicate of the one that I LOVE from my hometown. Street-hawker style. The texture of the rice is somewhere between the usual steamed rice and glutinous rice, sans its stickiness. Very fragrant and hearty.

I don't have a slight clue nor nosy enough to ask the vendor dude (which I usually do) about the process of making this particular chicken rice. But my grandma is forever known with her chicken rice. So, I did learn/ watch the other type (white ones) of chicken rice being prepared. The cooking method for the chicken itself is tedious as it is. Then, come the rice. Parboil the rice to certain way, then continue the cooking process by steaming it.

I adore the art of cooking and wholeheartedly believe that the old way of cooking is an art itself - one can be easily lost if not preserved. The thought, the labor involved - of love, of time, of earnest. So yes, though I diligently jot down step to step on how to fix chicken rice at its most authentic (at least, I think it is) and traditional way, I simply just do not have the patience nor the time. Like most of us these days.

I have a feeling that I will have to come back with new post one day for better measurement. To get the right consistency of this chicken rice - it takes some experiment. Also, different rice brands and origins, seem to have their own character. I use Thai Jasmine Rice - even that, there are dozens different brands out there. I think (?) there is somesort of unwritten rule about not peeking on your rice while cooking it. But, hah, in this recipe, peek and stir anytime - I lift the lid at least three time to make sure it gets to the right texture.

Also, I tend to use wings for this recipe - it just makes the rice so flavorful. With very minimal food science knowledge under my sleeve, I still believe (want to believe) there must be some serious explanation of why wings are better in this dish!! All the skins' flavor melting to the dish?! Or, simply some quirky personal taste that I developed along the years.

- 1 1/2 cup rice
- 1 cup chicken broth (as start, then I added another 1/4 cup as it cooks)
- 4 whole wings (separate the wings, drummettes and tips - give them good whacked, basically cracking the bones)
- 3 tsp of grated ginger (depends on personal taste)
- 4 cloves of garlic (again, we love garlic)
- 6 dried chillies (optional, soak in water and let plumped)
- 4 dried chinese mushroom, soaked and chopped coarsely
- 8 button mushrooms, chopped coarsely
- pinch of sugar or, my preference, sweet soy sauce
- pinch of black pepper
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- green onions, for garnish

- Heat pot with 2 tsp vegetable oil. Toss in ginger, garlic and chilies. Stir.
- Add in mushrooms. Stir. Add oyster, hoisin, soy, pepper and 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Stir.
- Toss in wings. Cook for a little bit, let it brown on the outside.
- Add in rice. Mix it well with everything.
- Pour in the broth. It should just barely cover the rice (at this moment).
- Cover with lid - heat should be in medium. Check after about 10 minutes. (I actually stir and fluff it). Broth should be all soaked up by now. Pour in extra broth and the 1 tbsp sesame oil.
- Check again after 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and just let it rest for few minutes. Pick the wings out and shred. Discard the bones and return the meat to the pot. Stir. Note: Rice should not at all be lumpy and soft. Neither fluffy like Biryani rice. Sorry!! It's such vague description, will absolutely post better one next time.
- I like to mold the rice in bowl - just like the the street hawkers do it. Usually in some red bowl, fill it up, pat and even down the rice, plop it onto a plate. Oh, some fried onions on top!!! Ooohhh.

edited** Nasi Tim Ayam - that's the correct name for this dish, not just Nasi Ayam. Thanks to Mochacholata Rita. :)


Mochachocolata Rita said...

whoa this is like nasi tim i had when i was young...er lol

inspiring! thank youuu :)

Kevin said...

I have been wanting to try Chicken Rice and this sounds easier and look tasty!