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Recipe of the week: A beloved chicken and rice dish

4 to 6 servings

1 hour

Hainanese chicken rice, most likely originating from the island of Hainan off the coast of southern China, is a beloved dish of silky poached whole chicken and gingery rice cooked with the bird’s cooking broth and rendered fat. This streamlined version simmers the two together in a single pot to make it a meal fast enough for weeknights.

With endless variations throughout the world, most notably in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, one constant is dipping sauces for the meat. There’s often three: ginger-scallion or ginger-garlic sauce, sweetened dark soy and red chile sauce. Here, hot oil is poured over minced ginger and scallions to create an aromatic blend that brings a warming edge to the comforting rice and meat. The slick of oil that remains is used to quickly stir-fry vegetables to turn this into a complete meal. Any leftover sauce is great over fish, tofu, eggs and noodles.

1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger (2 ounces), scrubbed well

2 3/4 pounds chicken drumsticks or bone-in thighs, or a combination

Salt

2 cups jasmine rice

1 bunch scallions

1/2 cup canola or other neutral-flavoured oil, such as grapeseed or sunflower

12 ounces sturdy leafy greens, such as bok choy, napa cabbage and kale

1/2 teaspoon rice or sherry vinegar (optional)

1. Trim the ends and sides with knobby rounds off the ginger. Put the ginger trimmings in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, along with the chicken. Add 3 cups cold water and a big pinch of salt, then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and simmer, turning the pieces once, for 15 minutes.

2. While the chicken cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients: Rinse the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear and let drain. Very finely chop the trimmed ginger. Trim and finely chop the scallions. Combine the ginger and scallion in a heatproof bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and reserve.

3. Once the chicken has simmered for 15 minutes, taste the broth and add enough salt to make it really savoury. Stir the rice into the pot. Use tongs to arrange the chicken pieces skin side up over the grains. Raise the heat to high to bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

4. While the rice rests, heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high until shimmering, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully pour the hot oil over the ginger and scallions, leaving a sheen of oil in the pan.

5. Return the wok to the high heat, and add the greens and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the greens are brighter in colour and just tender. Add a splash of water to the pan if the greens are a bit dry.

6. Stir the vinegar into the ginger-scallion sauce. Taste and add more salt if you’d like. Serve with the chicken rice and stir-fried greens. (Pick out the ginger trimmings from the rice while eating.)

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