Having found the tastiest Singapore-style chicken rice (in Singapore), PAT PILCHER has figured out how to replicate it.
Tian Tian in the Maxwell food court in Chinatown is one of my go-to’s whenever I’m in Singapore. They serve only one dish: Chicken Rice. It’s so popular that Locals will form a line several hundred metres long to place an order at lunchtime. It’s Gordon Ramsay’s favourite Singaporean eatery too. Chicken rice consists of fragrant rice, moist and tasty steamed chicken, a small bowl of soul-warming chicken soup and a small amount of zingy hot sauce and umami-packed garlic ginger paste.
It’s a multi-part dish that requires you juggle several tasks, but it also isn’t terribly challenging to cook, and its taste will blow your mind. You’ll need a lot of fresh ginger and good quality garlic. Pandan leaves can be sourced from most Asian markets while a ginger grater can be found at most kitchen shops. Most supermarkets and butchers will have chicken frames.
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- Chicken Soup
- 1x thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and lightly crushed
- 2x spring onions topped and tailed, lightly crushed
- 1x chicken frame
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1x large red chilli (seeded)
- 1x thumb-sized piece of ginger (peeled)
- 2x cloves Garlic (peeled)
- Juice from 2 small limes or 1 large lime
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp of chicken soup
- Light soy sauce (Kikkoman if possible)
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 6 tsp chicken soup
- 1x boneless chicken breast
- 1 cup long-grain rice (jasmine/basmati)
- 1x Pandan Leaf (knotted)
- 1x finely chopped shallot
- 1x small piece of peeled ginger, finely chopped
- 2 cups of chicken soup
- ½ tsp salt
- Rice bran or peanut oil
Garlic Ginger Paste
- 1x thumb-sized piece of Ginger
- 3-4 med/large cloves of garlic
- Place the chicken frame in a large pot
- Add the salt
- Peel the ginger and using the flat of your knife blade, lightly bash it and place in the pot
- Cut the bottom and leafy tops off two spring onions and using the flat of your knife, gently bruise both pieces. Place in the pot
- Fill the pot with water until the chicken frame has been covered and bring to a simmer. Leave while cooking the other ingredients
- Halve and Seed the chilli
- Peel and cut the ginger and garlic cloves into chunks
- Place the chilli, ginger and garlic in a mortar & pecil
- Add the lime juice, Sesame oil and chicken soup
- Crush into a wet red zingy sauce and place equal amounts in some small bowls
- Using a ginger grater, grate the ginger into a paste and repeat with the garlic
- Add the paste to a hot pan with a tbsp of rice bran or peanut oil and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously (cooking eliminates harsh raw ginger and garlic flavours) for 5-7 minutes being careful not to burn the paste
- Place equal amounts of the paste into small bowls
- Finely chop a shallot and peel piece of ginger, finely chopping it too.
- Heat a pan and add oil.
- Once the oil is heated, add rice/shallot/ginger and stir until the rice grains will go white and opaque.
- Turn down the heat and add knotted pandan leaf.
- Add 2 cups of chicken soup.
- Place a lid on the pan.
- Check regularly and add more chicken soup if needed.
- When holes form on the surface of the rice, cook for a further 6-10 minutes keeping the lid on the pan.
- Test the rice to see if it is cooked, it should be soft and fluffy and have a wonderful chicken ginger taste
- Rub the chicken breast with salt, and set aside for 3-4 minutes then rinse and pat dry with a paper towel
- Cut the chicken breast in half along its length (not its width), so you have two thinner pieces (this ensures that they’ll cook through fully when being steamed)
- Combine Light soy sauce (use good quality soy such as Kikkoman and avoid harsh artificial soy), ½ tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil and 6 tsp of the chicken soup in a bowl and mix
- When you put the rice on to cook, place 4 slices of ginger under each piece of chicken breast and place them in a steamer. Steam for 15-18 minutes
- Once the chicken breasts a cooked through (check using a knife and fork), coat both pieces using a pastry brush with the soy mixture.
- Place rice on the plate with the sliced chicken on top of the rice, if you want, garnish with a piece of cucumber and spring onion.