Ayam Hainan is a quite popular dish through out Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, it's even consider as Singaporean national dish. Although it looks pretty plain and simple, I can assure you that it's flavorful and delicious.
For me, like most people in Indonesia, the best chicken for making ayam hainan, among with other chicken dish, is the "ayam kampung", it means chicken from the village. It is an organic, literally free range local chicken, that most household in the villages in Indonesia raise them for the eggs. Then, for special occasion, they'll pick one for their cooking. But if you live in the city, you can also easily find ayam kampung at the market. Back here in the U.S, I found that the "Loong Koong Chicken" is the best substitute for ayam kampung. I just adore this chicken, the meat is so flavorful, it is leaner compare to the regular chicken you find in the supermarket. The other think I like about it is, the skin, which is thicker (with no fat underneath it) and yellower, which is perfect for this dish.
If you are having a hard time to find Loong Kong chicken in your area, you can use regular chicken, or cornish hen. Of course, you will need to adjust the cooking time as well. For those of you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can find this at "Ranch 99" market.
Note that every home has their own version of this dish, and I have my own version as well. But one thing seem in common is, it doesn't matter where you are, either in Malaysia, Singapore or in Indonesia, they serve it more or less like the one I show on my last photo.
Serve about 4
1 Loong Kong chicken or regular whole chicken, weigh about 2.5 lbs to 3 lbs
A lot of water or chicken stock or chicken broth (so you can submerge the whole chicken in it, use some for cooking the rice, and to serve as soup ), by the way, I didn't have any chicken stock, so I used water
2 whole scallions
3 whole star anise
3 slices fresh ginger
¼ tsp ground white pepper
Spice-rub for the chicken, recipe follows
Nasi Hainan, recipe follows
Ginger sambal, recipe follows
Sliced cucumber and sliced tomato
Finely chopped scallion
- Place a lot of water or chicken stock/broth in a stock pot (I used my pasta pot), add whole scallions, star anise, fresh ginger, ground white pepper and salt. Bring to a boil.
- Separate the fat from the chicken, cut into pieces, put it in a small bowl, cover with plastic, and place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the rice.
- Brush the chicken all over with the spice-rubs, including the cavity. Then tie the leg and the wing with kitchen string, make sure to leave the string (on the leg) long enough to make it easier later to handle the chicken. Turn the heat to low, so that the water is now become simmer. Put the chicken into the pot, cover the pot and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is completely done to your liking. (I let the kitchen string hang outside the pot, to make it easier to take the chicken out from the pot).
2 tsp ground star anise
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs sesame oil
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp salt
- Place all of this ingredients in a small bowl - mix well, set aside about 1 tablespoon to make the rice.
The Ginger Sambal:
10 red Thai chilies, or red Jalapeno (which is much )milder
1 slice (about an inch long, and 1/8 inch thick, or use more if you like) fresh ginger
¼ tsp (dry) toasted shrimp paste
salt to your liking
- Place everything in mortar and pestle, or a food processor, ground into paste. Place the sambal into a bowl, add a few tablespoon of the chicken stock from Ayam Hainan.
Nasi (Rice) Hainan:
2 cups rice, wash and drain completely
4 cups chicken stock (from the one above)
Chicken fat that you save earlier
1 tablespoon spice-rub that you set aside earlier
- With high heat, render the chicken fat in a wok or frying pan until the oil is released, add the rice, and the spices-rub that you reserved earlier, cook and keep stirring for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a rice cooker, add the stock, cook until done. If you don't have rice cooker, cook on top of the stove with low heat for 20 to 30 minutes until done.
- To serve: see the picture below. Enjoy!