There are many versions of Asian chicken rice, but this Vietnamese version that’s popular in Hoi An is one of my faves. Poached chicken, fragrant broth, tangy salad – all the things, my friends. A dinner that is off-the-scale comfort.
1.5kg (3 lb 5 oz) whole chicken
2 litres (2.1 qt) chicken stock
1 brown onion, skin-on, halved
4 thick slices ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 cups jasmine rice
1/3 cup Vietnamese mint leaves
sea salt, to taste
crispy fried shallots, to serve (optional)
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 daikon radish, julienned
2/3 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
1-2 tsp sea salt
Nuoc cham dressing:
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Remove the excess fat from around the opening of the chicken (see video to see what I mean!) and dice into small pieces. Place the chicken trimmings into a saucepan over medium heat and gently cook for about 10 minutes or until you have a couple of tablespoons of fat and the chicken trimmings are golden brown.
Meanwhile, place the chicken in a stockpot and cover with chicken stock. Add the onion, ginger and turmeric. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove and discard the golden chicken trimmings from the saucepan. Now add the rice to the chicken fat and stir to get all those lovely chicken flavours over the rice. Ladle over 2½ cups of the chicken stock that your chicken is cooking in (top up the cooking liquid with some water). Cook for 10 minutes or until the rice is just tender but still a little firm. Then cover with a lid, turn the heat off and rest for 10 minutes to allow the steam to finish cooking the rice. Use a fork to fluff up the rice before serving.
For the pickled vegetables, place the onion, carrot and daikon in a bowl. Stir in the vinegar, sugar and salt. Set aside until required.
To make the nuoc cham dressing, whisk the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside for later.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the broth and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the leg and thigh pieces and set aside. Shred the chicken breasts and place on a serving plate, then top with the pickled veg and Vietnamese mint. Toss to combine. Taste and season the broth with sea salt, if needed.
To serve, spoon the rice onto a plate. Top with a chicken leg. Serve with the pickled salad, a bowl of the broth and the nuoc cham. Sprinkle with crispy fried shallots, if using.
– You could easily make this as a serves 4 recipe by cutting the chicken legs into 4 pieces.