Eating Around the World – Malaysia

Hainanese chicken rice
We’re eating Malaysian this week.  Lots of delicious looking meals and some quite odd looking ones too! I chose Hainanese Chicken and rice. Although this dish is a traditional Chinese dish, due to it’s popularity it spread across Malaysia and Singapore. The rice is is cooked with ginger, garlic and pandan, making it a very tasty rice in itself. Poaching the chicken creates very tender meat. Overall though it’s the sauce which brings the whole dish to life. Unfortunately the sauce which is preferable, is quite spicy. So for the boys I mixed up some soy, brown sugar and ketchup.
Hainanese Chicken
Hainanese Chicken Rice – Ingredients

Hainanese Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, preferably free-range
  • Enough salt to rub all over the chicken, plus more salt to season the broth
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and chopped into 3-4 pieces, then bashed with a rolling pin
  • 4-5 spring onions, trimmed and chopped into 3-4cm sized pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves bashed

Hainanese Rice

  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup of basmati rice (jasmine rice would probably be better, but I know how to cook basmati without any disasters!)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (which the chicken was cooked in)
  • 1/2tsp of pandan essence (can be found at oriental shops) or leaves, but this might be difficult to find.
  • Salt to taste

Sauce:

  • Large thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped into chunks
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1tbsp brown sugar
  • 1tbsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean paste (or one fresh chilli and increase garlic to 8-10 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Method

For the chicken:

Rub the salt all over the chicken and place into a big pan.  Add the spring onions, ginger and garlic. Add boiling water to the pan, enough to almost covered the chicken.  Bring it back to the boil and simmer gently for 1hr 15mins.

For the rice:

Fry garlic and ginger in the sesame oil, using a large deep frying pan, that has a lid. Fry for a few minutes then add the rice. I’ve found a foolproof way of cooking rice, which is to use a deep, lidded frying pan. However much rice you use, one cup for example, use two cups of water/stock.  Add both rice and stock to the pan, put the lid on a leave until fully absorbed.

For the sauce:

Whizz everything together in a food processor.

To serve, slice the chicken, add a spoonful of rice and drizzle over the sauce, also add sliced cucumber. You could use some of the seasoned broth to serve a small bowl of soup with the chicken rice.

The boys enjoyed this, they weren’t so confident to try the sauce, so actually the meal without sauce is quite a simple flavour. I loved this with the spicy sauce though.

For dessert I had seen ice cream sandwiches, with multicoloured bread. Whilst more popular in Singapore, it is also something eaten in Malaysia. It was too good not to try! I made a simple white loaf, with added milk, butter and sugar in an attempt to create a soft crust.
Multocoloured bread
I made it in two halves and added food colouring in with the milk. My first attempt was to make the whole dough then knead in some colour, which was a disaster. Using the two halves of dough I rolled one colour around the other and left it to rise in a loaf tin.
Ice cream sandwich
The ice cream was a basic vanilla base with added pandan essence and chopped pistachios. Pandan makes the most deliciously nutty flavoured ice cream. These are unbelievably filling, so don’t eat too much!
Batik
We have started a Malaysian craft, but not yet finished. I thought we’d try some Batik. I bought two plain white cheap T-shirts and put a sheet of cardboard in the middle. I’d read somewhere that you could try using glue instead of wax, leaving it to dry then painting sections with acrylic paints. We are currently waiting for the glue to dry, I have a feeling it might not work though, as the T-shirts have stuck to the cardboard! I shall update you next week!
We have a request to eat from a country where they eat with their hands and sit on the floor next week, so I’ve picked Bangladesh.

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