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Steamed ginger chicken rice

Steamed ginger chicken rice

Steamed ginger chicken rice

This is similar to a lot of Chinese claypot dishes, and is really worth rolling out on a day when you have guests you want to spend time talking to rather than cooking for. It’s very, very tasty indeed, but it only uses one dish (or a rice cooker, if you happen to have one in the house) and doesn’t require any advance preparation or marinading. You’ll be using the food processor to blitz some chicken thighs into something a bit like a try rough chicken mince. Be careful when blitzing – you want small pieces of chicken, which steam to a really tasty, juicy result, rather than a smooth paste, which steams to a rubbery horribleness. The rice absorbs juices from the chicken along with all its seasoning, making for a really savoury dish.

I’ve been really pleased to see so many oriental ingredients make their way into even some of our…slightly rubbisher supermarkets. I found a jar of bamboo shoots in sesame oil when on an emergency tonic water run to Tesco. They’re great, and if you can track them down they’re well worth using, but if you can’t find them, substitute with canned shoots, rinsed well under the tap. All the other ingredients should be easy for you to get your hands on.

Texture’s a really important part of this dish. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a tasty crust at the bottom of the rice, created by the fat from the stock and the sesame oil which drips to the bottom “frying” the rice at the base of the dish. (Be sparing with the stock when you come to add the chicken mixture to increase the chances of a good crust.) The chicken will be soft from the steaming, and the vegetables, with their lower water content, will cook rather more slowly than the chicken surrounding them, leaving a lovely fresh crunch to things. As ever, use a home-made chicken stock if you have some in the freezer. If you don’t, I’ve had great success recently with the stuff Waitrose have been producing since their partnership with Heston Blumenthal, which is made with some kombu (a Japanese sea vegetable) for an extra umami kick.

To serve two (just multiply the amounts for more people and add an extra 5-10 minutes’ steaming time when you add the chicken for each extra portion) you’ll need:

370g jasmine rice
1 litre chicken stock
2 pieces of ginger the size of your thumb
12 spring onions
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoons Chinese chilli oil
75ml Chinese rice wine
100g bamboo shoots in sesame oil, drained
100g long-stem broccoli

Choose a Chinese claypot or a heavy saucepan with a close-fitting lid to cook the dish in. (You can also use a rice cooker – see below.) Combine the rice and 750ml of the stock in the pan with two of the spring onions, left whole, and one of the thumbs of ginger, peeled and sliced into coins. Put the lid on and bring the pan to the boil over a medium heat. Turn the heat down low and steam the rice for 20 minutes while you prepare the chicken.

While the rice is cooking, put the chicken thighs in the bowl of your food processor, and pulse gently and briefly until the chicken is chopped finely. Put the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl. Peel and dice the remaining ginger, mince the garlic and chop the rest of the spring onions and the broccoli into little pieces. Throw them in with the chicken, add the bamboo shoots, sesame oil, chilli oil, oyster sauce, rice wine and soy sauce, and use your hands to make sure everything is well combined. (I know, you hate touching raw chicken. Use a spoon if you must, but make sure everything is really well mixed.)

When the rice is ready, it’ll have little holes in the flat surface. Spoon the chicken mixture on top of it, pour over the remaining 25ml of stock, and stick the lid back on. Steam over the low heat the rice cooked at for another 25 minutes, and serve.

If you plan on cooking this in a rice cooker, just cook the rice with the stock, ginger and spring onions under the normal white rice setting, then set it to steam for the required amount of time. If your cooker doesn’t have a steam setting, just set it to “keep warm” when you’ve added the other ingredients, which should provide enough heat to steam the topping, but may take a little longer.

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  4. Chicken and sweetcorn soup
  5. Sesame ginger chicken wings

7 comments to Steamed ginger chicken rice

  • Liz cooked this for me last week and it really is absolutely delicious.

  • Liz

    Why, thank you, GSE! (While hating to blow my own horn, she’s kind of right.) ;)

  • Simon

    Absolutely delicious. The texture is amazing, with tender chicken, nice crunchy veg, creamy rice and that gooey, sticky crust at the bottom setting it all off. There’s just a lovely little coy hint of heat left in your mouth from the chilli oil and all the ginger too, I highly recommend it.

    Are you sure you meant that this is to serve two, though? I think that would have to be an incredibly hungry pair!

  • Liz

    Make that two-with-leftovers! (It’s very good for lunch the next day…)

  • Simon

    Having just had some of the aforementioned leftovers for lunch, I can confirm that. Yum.

  • sophie

    This was a really delicious idea but an absolutely HUMUNGOUS amount! It was such a large amount that I didn’t trust the rice cooker to have cooked the chicken properly so tipped half of it out into a pan. That half turned into a soggy mess – it seemed rather a lot of liquid at first, I thought. The remaining half stayed in the rice-cooker, steaming for another few minutes. We ate that half and it was delicious, if rather soft, with no suggestion of a crust. I can totally understand the idea but wouldn’t it be better, if cooking it in a rice cooker, to put all the ingredients in together at the beginning and use less stock? Next time I’ll use half the amount of rice and maybe a third of the stock. What do you think? Just thought, I used thai rice – is that what you intended?

  • Liz

    I think your tipping half of it out will be what caused things to be soggy; the rice does absorb the liquid (and is meant to be soft), but you have to be patient. And no, cooking it all at the same time would make the chicken overcook and go rubbery. Bad luck about the crust. As you’ll see from the other comments, the crust does work in some rice cookers!

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