HAINANESE CHICKEN AND RICE (for six)
one 3 to 3-1/2 pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry
4 quarts water
four ½ inch thick slices fresh ginger, smashed, plus 2 tablespoons chopped, peeled, fresh
six 3 to 3-1/2 inch long fresh hot red chilies, such as Thai or serrano, chopped, including seeds.
1 medium shallot, chopped, plus 4 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped, plus 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
2 cups jasmine rice
about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil if necessary
1 seedless cucumber (usually plastic wrapped)
1 bunch watercress, coarse stems discarded
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oi
fresh cilantro sprigs to garnish
1.Prepare the chicken and broth: Remove the fat from the cavity of the chicken and reserve for rice. Rub the chicken inside and out with 1 teaspoon salt.
2. Bring water, 2 teaspoons salt and slices of ginger to a boil in a 6 to 8 quart pot wide enough to hold chicken. Add chicken, breast side down, and return to a boil, covered. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
3. Remove pot from heat and let chicken stand in hot broth, covered, until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the chili sauce: Combine the chile, chopped shallot, chopped ginger, chopped garlic (not finely chopped garlic), ½ teaspoon salt and lime juice in mini food processor and pulse to a coarse paste.
5. Lift chicken out of pot by inserting handle of a long wooden spoon into cavity, allowing broth to drain from cavity back into pot, and transfer chicken to a bowl of ice and cold water. Cool completely, turning once.
6. Meanwhile, boil broth, uncovered, until reduced to 9 cups, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
7. Drain chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into serving pieces, transfer to a platter, cover and refrigerate.
8. Make the rice: Wash rice in a large medium mesh sieve under cold running water until water runs clear; drain well.
9. Cook reserved chicken fat in a 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until rendered; discard solids.
10. If necessary, add vegetable oil to pan to make 2 tablespoons fat. Cook sliced shallots in fat over moderate heat, stirring, until browned 3 to 5 minutes. Add finely chopped garlic and cook, stirring gently, for 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, for 1 minute. Add 3 cups reserved broth and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid on surface is evaporated and small bubbles appear in holes in rice, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover and cook over very low heat until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes more.
11. Remove rice from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and cover again.
12. Remove chicken from refrigerator and pat dry.
13. Assemble the dish: Using a vegetable peeler, preferably a u-shaped one, make wide strips by shaving as many long ribbons as possible from cucumber and transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water. Refrigerate for 15 minutes and drain well.
14. Bring remaining 6 cups reserved broth and watercress to a boil in 3 quart saucepan, uncovered, reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and let stand, uncovered, until watercress is a shade darker, about 3 minutes.
15. Stir together soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl and brush all over chicken. Sprinkle chicken with cilantro and serve with cucumber ribbons and individual bowls of rice, soup and chile sauce.
NOTE: The chicken and broth can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cool the broth, uncovered, and refrigerate, covered. Refrigerate the chicken separately, covered. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator up to 1 hour before brushing with the soy sauce and sesame oil and serving.
from Ruth Reichl (editor), Gourmet Today