Hainanese chicken rice is a Hainanese cuisine originally created in Hainan region of southern China. It is an adaptation by Hainanese Chinese who migrated to Southeast Asian countries, derived from the famous Hainanese recipe named Wenchang chicken. It is extremely popular in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as in Vietnam and Thailand. Hainanese chicken rice is voted at ranking number 45 on CNN go’s list of the World’s 50 most delicious foods in 2011. It is also credited as one of the national dishes of Singapore.
For my gluten free version of this Hainanese chicken rice, I start with marinating the chicken with garlic, ginger and spring onion paste, then immersing the chicken into boiling water and simmer on low heat for half an hour, then the ensuing stock used to cook the fragrant ginger and pandan leaves flavoured rice and also used as the complementary soup. Then genuinely served up with a spicy chilli dipping sauce made from ground long red chillies, small red chillies, garlic and onion. Another sauce that accompanied this dish is loads of ground fresh ginger, garlic and spring onion. Then the chicken soup, fresh cucumber and sesame oil and gluten free light soy sauce dressing are served together with the chicken. The chicken is normally served boneless in both Singapore and Malaysia.
The unique fragrance flavour of Hainanese chicken rice always brings back fond memories of my childhood every time I savour this dearly-loved dish. It is no doubt my favourite childhood hawker food which is broadly obtainable in many kopi tiam cafés (coffee shops), hawker stalls and even restaurants, in both Malaysia and Singapore.
Chicken is an excellent source of high quality lean white meat protein with very low fat content, mainly made up of good unsaturated fats. It is beneficial for the growth and development of lean muscles in the body, for maintaining healthy body weight and facilitates weight loss. It is often eaten as alternatives to red meat like beef and pork, which have more saturated fats.
Chicken has zinc which helps maintain a healthy immune system and likewise it has iron required for the making of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen. Chicken also contains phosphorus which helps maintain healthy bones. Furthermore, chicken is an excellent source of niacin (vitamin B3), which supports healthy skin and metabolism; pyridoxine (vitamin B6), vital for healthy nervous system and protein metabolism; and cobalamin (vitamin B12), a water-soluble vitamin, important for the central nervous system and in maintaining healthy red blood cells.
Ginger is a tropical root inhabitant to Southeast Asia, it has been used in cooking as a spice and applied for medicinal purposes for many eras. Ginger is the one of the main ingredients in making Hainanese chicken rice, it is fragrant, pungent and spicy and it enhances a special tang and flavour to the dish. There are many health benefits of ginger, it is often referred to as a marvel spice due to its medicinal properties, often used to soothe the digestive system. Ginger contains extremely powerful anti-inflammatory compounds called “gingerols”, it is effective in relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, may assist in defeating motion sickness, help amend symptoms of morning sickness, applied to treat digestive system flatulence and may prevent colon cancer and aid in treatment of ovarian cancer.