When it comes to poaching a whole chicken, I will either do the classic "white" colour chicken (Hainanese chicken) or the darker colour chicken using light and dark soy sauce (in this recipe). They are both tasty and has a different flavour from poaching in the stock. The Hainanese chicken has a mild, subtle flavour stock in contrast with the soy chicken, which has a stronger, aromatic sweet and salty flavour stock. The chicken rice is cooked using its own stock. The 2 types of dipping sauce - chilli garlicky sauce and spring onion gingery sauce - adds another layer of flavour and taste to the chicken and rice. If you like to know how I make the dipping sauce, the details are written in the Hainanese chicken recipe
Wash and clean the chicken
Make the master stock by boiling a pot of water with spice ingedients and sauces
Poach the chicken in master stock
Wash, cut and blanch the bok choy
Wach and cook the rice
Cut and divide the poached chicken into smaller sections. Serve with the rice and bok choy
How to make
If the chicken is in the fridge, remove and wash inside of the chicken cavity. Pat dry using a kitchen paper towel. Put on a tray or plate and let the chicken reach its room temperature before cooking.
In a large pot, add the spice ingredients - lightly bruised ginger, lightly bruised spring onions, star anises, cinnamon sticks, white peppercorns - and the flavourings of light soy, dark soy, rock sugar and salt with 2 litres of water. Bring the pot of ingredients to boiling point on a high heat.
Once the stock reaches its boiling temperature, lower the heat. Move the pot to a smaller flame if necessary. Slowly and gently lower the chicken (breast facing up) into the stock and then lift it up and down a few times before immersing the whole chicken to let it slowly cook for 15 minutes with the lid on. After 15 minutes, turn the chicken around with breast facing down and turn it around again for the next 15 minutes. Total cooking time is 45 minutes for 1.5 kg of chicken. It may take longer if you are using a larger chicken.
While chicken is cooking, wash and prepare the bok choy. Slice the bok choy lengthwise and then blanch in boiled water for 2-3 minutes. Remove and rinse in cold water. Arrange the bok choy on a serving plate.
After the chicken is cooked for 45 minutes, remove and let it sit on a tray to air-dry to reach its room temperature. While this is happening, mix a small cup of the master stock with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Once chicken skin is air-dried, brush the skin with the sesame oil stock mixture. Cut or chop the chicken into small sections.
Wash a cup of rice until water is almost clear. Drain the water. Add the master stock to the pot of rice. Cook on high heat until the liquid is boiling. Once the liquid is reduces to almost the rice level, reduce the heat to low and cover the lid to simmer for another 5 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Arrange and serve the chicken pieces and bok choy with rice and chicken rice dipping sauce.
1 whole chicken about 1.5kg
Some bok choy
1 cup of rice
2 spring onions
1 large knob of fresh ginger
5 star anises
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon white peppercorn
1 cup of rock sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
slightly less than 1 cup of light soy sauce
slightly less than 1 cup of dark soy sauce
2 litres of water
1 tablespoon sesame oil