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Simple Healthy Dinner Recipes: The Hainanese Chicken Rice Experiment

By Expert Author: Jeric James

Having a grandmother and a mom who are both Home Economics teachers, it doesn't come as a surprise that my sister and I love to experiment with recipes. We're a team when it comes to recreating our own version of any dish that catches our fancy. I prepare, she cooks. It's both fun and time-consuming but we enjoy it a lot.

Over the weekend, we decided to try our own version of the famous Hainanese chicken rice. I had been craving for it after I read about it on some blogs and an unfortunate dining experience at a food chain did little to satisfy my palate. So off I went to the grocery to shop for ingredients. Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of Chinese origin most commonly associated with Hainanese Cuisine, Malaysian Cuisine and Singapore Cuisine. It is based on the well-known Hainanese dish called Wenchang chicken. Don’t be surprised though, if you find the chicken rice served in Hainan, China is different from what you can find in Southeast Asia. Over the years, adaption has been made by the Chinese Hainanese clan who migrated to Southeast Asia which resulted today’s Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore and Malaysia. In fact, the Hainanese chicken rice is considered one of Singapore's national dishes and is often served at international expositions and global events abroad, and in Singaporean-run restaurants overseas.

I gravitated towards this recipe because it's so easy to prepare. No need to marinate stuff and all since the flavor comes directly from the broth and the dipping sauce. Forget your best marinade for chicken. This is the real deal.

To start with, here are the ingredients you will need:

1 whole dressed chicken
Lemon grass
Spring onion
4 pcs. chicken bouillon cubes
soy sauce

We decided to create our own broth to boil the chicken in. Just mix the onion, garlic, lemongrass, spring onion, ginger and bouillon cubes in two liters of water. Bring to a boil. After which, add the chicken (breast down) and let it boil again for 25 minutes. Turn the chicken upside down when the time is up and add another 20 minutes of boiling time. Once it's done, we placed the chicken in a bowl of iced water to tighten up the skin. Iced bath it is!

After ten minutes or so, it was time for the chopping. My sister realized she sucked at it as she carefully hacked the chicken's appendages. But practice makes perfect, right? They say the trick is to start with the appendages. Carefully cut the drumsticks, thighs and wings. Cut at the joint so that everything looks nice. Chop the drumsticks and thighs through the bones into two to three portions and place them on the sides of your serving platter.

Next, chop the carcass to separate the back from the breast. Finally, chop the breast. Horizontally. Through the bones. As neatly as you can manage. Arrange on top of the chopped chicken back.

As for the rice, we decided to cook it the usual way but using the broth for the chicken instead of water. The sauce was another thing we decided to improvise on. We simply mixed grated ginger, calamansi juice and soy sauce. No wonder this is a favorite from our simple healthy dinner recipes collection. To balance it off, we prepared some mixed greens topped with mom's home-made raspberry vinaigrette dressing recipe.

Needless to say, we were in a food coma after dinner. Too bad for my brother since he doesn't eat chicken so he wasn't able to enjoy the dish we prepared. Dad's excluded since poultry dishes are off-limits to him because of his arthritis. The best part? Mom actually gave us her seal of approval for our effort. One small step to finally making use of the culinary genes she passed on to us! Now what to prepare next meal, huh?

About the Author:
Looking for the best marinade for chicken and raspberry vinaigrette dressing recipe? Just take a look at simple healthy dinner recipes for more information and to get a feel for what they have.

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