Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Oh, i am supposed to write about Hainanese Chicken Rice - should i write about Hainanese, i think not cos this is a food blog and i am sure all would want to know about the chicken or the rice. What so special about having a chicken meal nowadays, it is served practically daily but not so when i was growing up. We only have chicken during festivals and a whole chicken would have to shared amongst our family of 3 adults and 7 children and festivals only come around 2 - 3 months apart. The day of the festival, in the early morning, my mom would go to the wet market to get the chicken. The chickens then were still very much alive and were housed in large bamboo baskets. Mom had a friend, his name is Ah Kau(cantonese for dog or the number nine - we finally found out that he was the ninth in his family)who owned the chicken stall, as soon my mom arrived, he would look into the baskets, looking for the fattest and most beautiful hen - no cockerel/rooster for the festivals. He would reach for one and the first thing Uncle Ah Kau did was to feel the breast and commented that this was fat and meaty. The next thing he would brush the feathers at the butt apart and showed to mom, i don't know what they were looking at but she nodded and seemed to agree with him. I have now found out what they were looking at, the butt of course. They were looking to see if the hen laid eggs before and that will show that it is too matured and the meat will not be as tender if it were to be prepared the one and only way/recipe - white steamed/poached. We might not be given the priviledge of looking at the butt now in the supermarket but make sure that the chicken is 4 lbs/2 kg, then you can be assured of producing a very velvety, meaty chicken for Hainanese Chicken Rice.
This chicken rice meal we had for dinner was sponsored by my dear friend Ting Ting, who have a chicken coop enough to house more than 20 chickens. She had reared them from chicks and now there are pullets, hens and roosters. It is the roosters that get to be our dinners cos Ting Ting does not want to have anymore unpleasant complaints from her neighbor, she told her sons Hunter and August to observe the roosters and as soon as they start to crow, the rooster will be Ting Ting's dinner or her friends.
Chick: A hatchling
Capon: A castrated male used for meat. (How much could that yield?) Yeem Kai
Pullet: A female chicken under one year old.
Hen: A female chicken over one year of age
Rooster: A male chicken over one year of age
Chicken - more than 4 lbs (if you are lucky, Ting Ting's rooster will crow)
Sides - cucumber and tomatoes
Sauces - chopped garlic, special homemade chilly sauce, oyster sauce with fragrant oil or black sauce.
The way to prepare and recipe is here