Singapore Cuisine - 海南鸡饭(Hǎi Nán Jī Fàn)

by Wendy 

海南鸡饭(Hǎi Nán Jī Fàn) - Hainanese Chicken Rice - is a dish of poached chicken and seasoned rice, served with chilli sauce and usually with cucumber garnishes. It was created by immigrants from Hainan Province in China and adapted from the Hainanese dish Wenchang chicken.

It is considered one of the national dishes of Singapore and is most commonly associated with Singaporean cuisine. It is eaten "everywhere, every day" in Singapore and is a "ubiquitous sight in hawker centres across the country".

More than that, 海南鸡饭 is not only popular in Singapore, but is also seen throughout Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia where it is a culinary staple.

Almost every country in Asia with a history of immigration from China has their own version of the Chicken Rice. In Singapore and Malaysia, where the dish is often known as 海南鸡饭(Hainan chicken rice); In Vietnam, where it is called "Hai Nam chicken"; And in Thailand, where it has been renamed "khao man gai" ("fatty rice chicken").

The secrets in 海南鸡饭

the rice:

The rice for the Chicken Rice is long-grain indica rice from Thailand. Stir-fried with chicken oil, ginger, red onion and lemongrass, fragrant pandan leaves and whole garlic with skin, the rice is simmered slowly in order to let the rice fully absorb the chicken broth.

Unlike the fluffy taste of chicken rice in other places, in Malacca, rice is squeezed into a round ball, continuing the old ancestral habit of Hainan.

the chicken:

If the production of rice incorporates many local elements, the skill of cooking chicken originates from the ancestors of Hainan Wenchang in China.  

Cover the whole chicken with salt first, then scald it repeatedly in the micro-rolled chicken broth to avoid over-aging of the chicken in the rising water temperature. A experienced chef knows to adjust the number of scalding according to the weight of the chicken.

After that, turn off the fire and let the white chicken simmer for 45 minutes in the calm chicken broth.

Finally, the chicken is ready. The skin is soft and smooth, the meat is not fat but juicy, the most fascinating part is the jelly-like gel between the skin and the meat.

 the dips:

The dips need to be made fresh every day. With the grated ginger is topped with hot sesame oil and chicken oil, the aroma of the white dip is stimulated at the same time.

The scented Kulai peppers are paired with fresh chili peppers, garnished with garlic, served with the sour taste of Southeast Asia-freshly squeezed lime juice, and then mixed with chicken broth, the red dip is sour, spicy and fresh.

 The scripts in Chinese for the video:

产自泰国的长粒籼米,用鸡油、生姜与红葱、香茅一同翻炒,加入清香的斑兰叶和整颗带皮的蒜头,小火慢煮,让米粒充分吸收鸡汤。

如果说米饭的制作融入了很多本地元素,烫鸡的手艺则源自海南文昌的祖辈。擦过盐的整鸡,在微滚的鸡汤里反复浸烫,避免鸡肉在不断升高的水温中过度熟化,有经验的厨师,知道根据鸡的重量,调整浸烫的次数。熄灭炉火,让白鸡在平静的鸡汤里焖上45分钟。

与其他地方追求鸡饭蓬松的口感不同,在马六甲,米饭被捏成团,圆润的形状,延续了海南旧时祭祖的习惯。

鸡煮到八成,自然冷却,表皮柔软润滑,鸡肉肥美不柴,最迷人的是皮与肉之间那层似有若无的啫喱状胶质。

蘸料需要每天制作新鲜的。研碎的生姜,淋上滚烫的芝麻油和鸡油,芳香和辛辣同时被激发出来。清香的古来椒,搭配劲爽的指天椒,和大蒜一起打成蓉,配以东南亚的酸味担当——鲜榨酸柑汁,再用鸡汤冲调,酸、辣、鲜一应俱全。


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