After last night wonderful dinner at the Red Velvet Lounge (RVL) in Cygnet with a fellow food blogger (you can read her reviewhere). I am tempted to cook something closer to heart and my family roots for Sunday lunch.
In Penang, Malaysia one of the most popular “Street Food” lunch is a “Chicken Rice” (which is also popular in Singapore and throughout Malaysia). I usually go for chicken rice at least 3 times a week. It is an extremely popular and delicious street food with various tastes and flavours. At a typical Chicken Rice stall, there are usually two kinds of a whole chicken hanging on a metal hook pierced through the chicken upper neck. One is a plain white chicken (in Penang it is called, “Peh Kay” in Hokkien or “Pek Cham Kai” in Cantonese) which is either steamed or poached, and the other is soy roasted chicken (“Seoh Kay” in Hokkien or “Siew Kai” in Cantonese) which is marinated in soy sauce, spice and roasted. There are other meats at the same stall, again hanging on a metal hook such as soy roasted duck (“Seoh Ark” in Hokkien or “Siew Ark” in Cantonese), Chinese Barberque Pork (“Char Siew”) and crisp skin roasted pork (“Seoh Bak” in Hokkien or “Siew Yok” in Cantonese). The meal is always accompanied by a special fragrant chicken rice and dressed in soy sauce, with slices of cucumber, freshly blanched bean sprout (some stalls only), chilli sauce and ginger shallots sauce (some stalls only) on the side. Oh, and a small bowl of chicken soup (be careful with the soup, as most of them put MSG. I tend to avoid drinking the soup, but instead use it to wet the rice a little to add another layer of flavour).
So this morning, I woke up at 8:45am, put on two layers of clothing because of the wet cold winter and drove to Woolworth supermarket in Huonville. I was hoping to buy my favourite free range chicken but they didn’t have it, instead I bought a corn fed whole chicken, some tomatoes, cucumber, ginger, spring onion, garlic, iceberg lettuce as the basic ingredients.
This is a special lazy Sunday nutritious meal with a balance of protein and carbohydrate. It is wholesome and has many different flavours; salty from the soy sauce, toasty from the sesame oil, zesty from the ginger/spring onion sauce, spicy and sweet from the chilli sauce, and when combined together and eat with your eyes shut, it is a whole new experience for those that have never had a Malaysian or Singaporean Chicken Rice before. If you have seen the final episode of the Australian MasterChef a couple of weeks ago, you would remember that Poh chose to make a local Malaysian dish with the chicken; that is, “Hainanese” Chicken Rice (originated from the Hainan community). But, she had modernise the dish for the judges. Unfortunately not enough to win the competition.
1 whole free range chicken
A bunch of spring onion
1 tablespoon white peppercorn
1 thumb size ginger
3 cloves garlic
Light soy sauce
1. Poach the chicken
Remove excess chicken fat from the inside. Keep the fat aside for later use. Fill a pot enough to submerge the whole chicken. Add a bunch of spring onion (white section only), a tablespoon of white peppercorn, salt and sugar to taste. Put the heat on high until the water is boiled, turn the heat to low and slowly simmer the chicken until it is cooked (between 30-45mins) depending on your stove and liquid in the pot.
2. Prepare Ginger/Spring Onion sauce
While waiting for the chicken to cook, grate the ginger, mixed with finely chopped spring onion (green section only), add some good olive oil, sprinkle some salt to taste. Mix thoroughly well to be served later with the dish.
3. Prepare the rice
Pan fry the excess chicken fat removed earlier with a bit of butter until you get the oily fatty chicken fat mixed with butter. Put aside. Rinsed 2-3 cups of rice in water until water is almost clear. Add the chicken/butter oil, a bit of finely chopped garlic and sprinkle of salt to taste. Add water (or chicken stock) and cook the rice.
4. Prepare the plate
Place the plate with some finely sliced iceberg lettuce, slices of tomatoes and cucumber. Scoop a small bowl of rice onto the plate. Add part of the cooked chicken on top of the lettuces. Dressed a bit of light soy sauce and sesame oil over the chicken, vegetables and rice. Serve with a bit of chilli sauce and ginger/spring onion sauces, and a small bowl of chicken soup (sprinkle some finely chopped spring onion and dried shallots).