South East Asian chicken rice (770 calories per serve)

+I call this the South East Asian version of Hainanese chicken rice because I have combined some of the Singaporean/Malaysian and the Thai varieties. I have used the same ginger-garlic aromas used in Singapore and Malaysia with the addition of the winter gourd that is normally seen in the Thai varieties. The dish allows for 4 large servings (770 calories per serve) or 6 smaller servings (515 calories per serve).

Serves 4-6

Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 1 hour

For the chicken and broth:
1 whole chicken, preferably free range and even better if organic
50g ginger, 1/2cm slices
2 stalks of spring onion, 2cm slices
2L water
200g winter gourd, chopped into 2cm pieces
For the rice:
1 tbsp canola oil
30g ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp sesame oil (less if you don’t like it)
400mL broth (approx, depends on your rice)
2 cups of uncooked rice
For the garnish:
1 cucumber, sliced
2 stalks of coriander, leaves only
chilli sauce (optional)

Wash the chicken and pat it dry. Then rub it all over with a generous amount of salt – both on the outside and inside the cavity. Don’t worry too much about the salt content as you are going to boil this chicken with a lot of water and the salt will be diluted in the yummy broth.

Stuff the chicken with the garlic slices and spring onion. Tie the ends of the legs together with some cooking twine or string. Place in a big pot, add the water and bring to the boil. Once it is boiling, lower the heat to the lowest and let it simmer away for about 30 minutes.

After the chicken has been boiling for 30 minutes, reserve about 400mL of the broth for cooking the rice. Top up the rest of the pot with extra water to account for the broth you just took out. Let the chicken simmer in the broth for a further 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and ginger until they become aromtic. Then add the uncooked rice and dry-fry for a minute or so and mix in the sesame oil

Place the rice mixture and the reserve broth into a rice cooker and let it cook – it should take around 20-30 minutes depending on your rice cooker and how much broth you put in. So by the time the chicken and broth is done, the rice is also ready.

In the final 10 minutes of simmering the chicken and broth, add the winter gourd.

When serving the chicken, some prefer it to be at room temperature instead of hot. So in order to do that, they immerse the chicken into a bucket of ice cold water to stop the cooking process, make the skin more tight, and also cool it down more quickly. I prefer to have it hot and skip this step.

Carve up the chicken into quarters or smaller pieces depending on how many servings you want and serve with the rice, cucumber, and soup. Garnish with some coriander leaves. You can also serve it with some chilli sauce (optional).

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