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We were originally intending to have dinner this evening at some cze char place nearby, but after lunch I decided I would cook instead.  So I ended up making Chicken Rice, Spinach Soup, Sambal Eggplant, and Tau Yew Bak, which helped beat the Sunday Evening Blues.  (Look out for my post on Tau Yew Bak!)

Chicken Rice is probably our national dish.  And it’s often one of the first dishes which a Singaporean living abroad will miss. So this post is dedicated to all my culinarily-homesick Singaporean friends abroad.

The Chicken Rice we cook at home is based on a fairly simple recipe.  The chicken is boiled, and there’s none of the hassle of frying uncooked rice in sesame oil before cooking it. As a consequence, the rice is actually less oily, and feels a lot healthier.  I don’t think much is lost from omitting the frying, and in fact, I prefer this less-oily version of the rice.  Even without that step, you end up with very fragrant steamed rice, thanks to lots of garlic and pandan leaves.  Try it and let us know what you think!Ingredients1 whole chicken (about 1.6-1.8kg)
2 cups uncooked white rice
1 whole garlic, with last layer of skin left on and top sliced off
25 cloves garlic (segments), cracked, last layer of skin left on
2 pcs of fresh ginger, each approx 2 x 2 inches in size, peeled and cracked
7 pandan leaves, tied together into 2 knots

8 cups water
4 tbs sesame oil
3 tbs soya sauce
SaltMethodClean chicken, pat dry and rub with 1 tbs salt.
Boil water in a pot big enough to fit the chicken.
Put ginger, pandan leaves and 1 whole garlic inside cavity and place chicken into the pot, add 1 tsp salt, and cook chicken for 45 minutes.  Remove chicken from pot and set aside on a platter. Remove pandan leaves and set aside.  Remove ginger and garlic and discard. (If using a smaller chicken, reduce the cooking time, as overcooking will cause it to lose flavour).
Put rice into rice-cooker. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock into the rice-cooker.  Also add into the rice-cooker the pandan leaves, and 25 cloves garlic.  Turn on rice-cooker to cook.
Mix 2 tbs sesame oil with 3 tbs soya sauce into a bowl, and then drizzle mixture over the chicken, and inside cavity. Turn chicken over after 10 minutes and again after another 5 minutes to allow the mixture to coat the chicken thoroughly.
Once rice-cooker indicates rice is cooked, open the lid. The liquid would have dried up by now.  Toss rice with a spoon, sprinkle 1-2 tbs sesame oil and 1-2 tsp salt over it, and toss it again. (Add sesame oil and salt 1 tbs/tsp at a time, toss, then taste rice and add more if necessary, and toss again).  Ensure pandan leaves are buried in the rice and garlic segments are evenly distributed under the rice as well. If rice looks too dry, add a little more stock.  Replace lid of rice-cooker and set to cook again.  Once it is done, toss rice to fluff it, and cover rice-cooker for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.
Chop chicken into pieces, arrange over a bed of sliced cucumber on a platter, then garnish with fresh Chinese parsley (cilantro).
Serve chicken and rice with garlic chilli, or minced ginger and spring onion seasoned with salt and sesame oil.
The rest of the chicken stock can be used as a base for a wanton dumpling soup or vegetable soup. We usually add Chinese Spinach (round leaves) to make a healthy and delicious soup.

Serves 5.
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