Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jade: Bitemychicken

Today, I become a real woman. Ma, don't panic. I bought my first whole chicken today. See, I'm not a meat lover on the best of days..and the rare times I do buy meat, I buy baby portions that will last me a day or 2, mostly off the bone and ready sliced. I can almost hear the sharp intake of breath from the connoisseurs: "How dare she!" Well today, I bought real poultry, to be basted with proper marinade, stuffed with spiced glutinous rice cooked from scratch, and finally, roasted..until it is the colour of burnished amber..beautifully crisp on the outside and heartbreakingly tender on the inside..

I'm thinking this would be a lovely addition to any Chinese New Year reunion dinner...a modern play on the more traditional fried duck stuffed with 8-treasure rice; a safer choice, even, considering most of the ducks I've had have always ended up disappointing with either soggy rice dripping with oil or extreme gaminess which just makes the whole dish rather unpalatable. And best of all, most of the prep work can be done beforehand; So all you have to do is pop the bird in the oven about an hour or so before your favourite uncles arrive with their annoying kids ;)

Glutinous rice chicken ( adapted from Pigpig's corner)
* Please don't be daunted but the seemingly endless ingredient list. It really takes no time at all to throw together

1 chicken ( mine was 1.5 kg, go larger if you're expecting a large group)
rock salt

1 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves grated garlic ( i say grated rather than minced because the last thing you want is bits of burnt garlic stuck to an otherwise scrumptious chicken)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp kicap manis/ dark soy
Freshly cracked black pepper

Stuffing: ( double amount for larger chicken)
1 cup glutinous rice ( soaked overnight)
4 chinese mushrooms ( soaked overnight and sliced)
1 chinese sausage, thinly sliced
1 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked for abt 5 minutes and roughly chopped
Splash of chinese wine
3/4 cup water ( I used the water from soaking the mushrooms)

sesame oil
ginger, julienned
minced garlic
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp kicap manis
1/2 tbsp each, dark and light soy
black pepper

1. Clean the chicken and dry thoroughly, rub salt all over the chicken and inside the cavity, leave to stand for about half an hour
2. Meanwhile, get the marinade ready and once your chicken is nice and dry, rub the marinade all over and inside the chicken, cover and chill overnight ( or longer if you so wish)
3. Drain rice and mushrooms, squeezing out any extra moisture
4. Heat up some sesame oil, fry the sausages until all that flavoured oil is rendered from them.
5. Throw in the ginger and garlic and sauteed till crisp, then add the dry shrimps
6. Add the mushrooms and the rice and stir till the grains are coated in lush goodness.
7. Add the water, wine and seasonings, stirring as you go along, bring it to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer
8. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Keep stirring! while slightly charred bits=good, burnt rice=bad.
9. Let cool and either store in a container until you're ready to use it or stuff your bird with it.
10. Preheat oven to 220 degrees, pack the stuffing into the chicken, and roast for about half an hour. If it's starting to char because of the honey, pop a piece of foil over it
11. Lower the heat to 200 degrees, baste with all that precious dripping, and roast for another say half an hour. Check for doneness..and roast for a bit longer if need be.
12. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes, scrape out the stuffing that by now has absorbed the essence of the chicken and is just bursting with flavour.
13. Carve the chicken, cutting through glistening skin, and buttery, juicy meat..
14. Serve to your nearest and dearest with a smile and lots of love :)

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