Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hainanese chicken - exclusive secret!

As you may know, I have a book coming out by Timber Press around December 2016. I can't wait for this book about growing and cooking Chinese vegetables to come out! Inside are all kinds of family stories, secrets, and even some of my favorite recipes - including a recipe for Hainanese chicken and rice.  If you've had it, you know how incredible this delicious chicken is over rice, especially with a spoonful of the savory and fragrant ginger and onion oil on top. You'll have to wait for the official recipe to come out, but I will share a secret with you in advance that won't be printed in the book...

My mom's Hainanese chicken is rubbed with salt and sits in the fridge for a couple of days. Since we have to do all that waiting, she tends to prepare 2 or even 3 of these chickens at a time.

This chicken is cooked low and slow by simmering and then steeping in a pot of water. The result is a whole chicken with the most ridiculously tender texture you've ever had.

Here's a secret: after steeping the chicken, my mom actually saves the broth for cooking another chicken. And then sometimes, she saves the broth for cooking yet another chicken! As you can imagine, this broth gets better and better over time and each chicken ends up being more and more flavorful.

Today, I was doing a final test on this recipe before it's submitted to my editor and I cooked 4 chickens in this pot!  Now I'm just trying to figure out how I might savor this super concentrated broth. I may use some to cook the rice that will be served alongside my chicken. I may treat it as a base for my favorite chicken and dumplings recipe. I may freeze in small amounts to use as recipe starters. Or I may just keep the whole pot safe in the freezer for those unavoidable winter colds. No doubt it will make a really powerful chicken soup cure.

While this secret will not be included in my book, the book will be chock full of many other interesting tips and tricks, and I can't wait to share it with you!


  1. Hello Wendy, great to see you again. I've furlough in blogging for sometime, so thanks for the visit i am into your blog again. I can see this is already a recipe blog, however i am not good in cooking just because i prefer washing dishes than that, haha! I've tasted Hainan chicken in Hainan, when i stayed for a month there. It's been a long time and i already forgot the taste.

  2. I love chicken rice. Tips is really yummy tips!

  3. Yum! This is one of my favourite food. Sometimes I crave it. I also like steamed chicken with ginger and scallion bulb or shallot sauce/oil ;-) The minced ginger, minced scallion bulb or shallot and salt fried with oil under low fire a while.

  4. Wendy! I'm so pleased to have re-found you and your blog. It's too easy to lose touch with cyberfriends. Congrats on the book coming out, I look forward to getting it. That tip about cooking chickens in the same water is great, I can't wait to try it. I love Hainanese chicken and have had it out but never made it - yet!


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