An Asian style poached chicken has been the basis of all dinners from Tuesday to Thursday this week. I started this chook on Monday night while we were eating our tomato, olive, mushroom and basil pasta and salad. It's a very easy recipe. It doesn't take much effort, just a little observation and a timer.
On Tuesday, I stripped the meat and used some in the first of our chicken meals: a refreshing cold noodle salad. On the same night, I tossed the bones back in the pot and let the stock simmer down for another couple of hours, before straining and reducing it to about two cups.
On Wednesday, I made steamed rice in the stock, and we ate more of the poached chicken. This was a pretty good meal, and the rice was delicious. Sadly, the accompanying bok choy in sate sauce was disappointing. I bought a jar of macadamia sate sauce from Food Lovers in Belconnen Market, as a small time saving luxury, but I was in a hurry and did not read the ingredients carefully. Macadamia flavouring? Not actual nuts? Oh dear. I'd never have bought it if I'd read the label, but now I have to use it up anyway. It's not vile, just disappointingly lacklustre.
Finally, tonight I made fried rice. I don't do this often, but it is a good way of using things up. And if your rice is as tastily chicken-flavoured as this was, it is totally delicious. A fried egg topper and a swirl of classic Sriracha chilli tops it off. I used the last of Fiona's "green" eggs, nearly a month old but still good. Fi, what sort of chook lays them? I forgot.
I'll put recipes for the chicken and salad below the fold, but really the only one you need is the poached chicken. The rest is improv. To cook rice in stock, you simply put stock instead of water in your rice cooker. Duh. To make fried rice, you stir fry some onion and garlic and vegetables; add cooked meat and leftover cooked vegetables and a splash of soy or rice wine or something; then add the cold cooked rice and stir well, and keep stirring so it doesn't get stuck. I used red capsicum, broccoli, a bit of leftover bok choy, some frozen peas, and a small tin of pineapple chunks. I like pineapple, OK? You don't have to.
Recipe 1: Asian-style Poached Chicken
2 teaspoons salt
1 lemon, whole
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 shallots, sliced
a large chunk of ginger, about 2 thumbs in size, washed and sliced
50 ml Chinese cooking wine
Wash the chicken, and rub it with salt. Stab the lemon a few times and stuff it inside the chicken with a few slices of the ginger, garlic and shallot.
Put the chicken in a large saucepan and pour over water to cover. Add a good splash of rice wine.
Bring the chicken to the boil rapidly, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the chicken cool in the broth for a couple of hours, then refrigerate overnight.
Next day, skim the congealed fat off the broth, and remove the chicken for whatever use you like.
Notes: My chicken was a 1.8kg free-range bird. Smaller or larger won't matter as long as you keep it covered. Recipes often say to skim off the scum as it boils, but I have found that the floating ginger and shallot gets in the way, and there isn't that much scum anyway.
Recipe 2: Cold Chicken Noodle Salad
300g cold poached chicken
150g bean thread vermicelli noodles
1 bunch coriander
few springs vietnamese mint
1/2 red capsicum
cos lettuce to taste
30 ml lime juice
20 ml soy sauce
10 ml sesame oil
1 tsp palm sugar shavings
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Soak the noodles in cold water for 15 minutes, or until softened to your taste. Strain them and dry them well, and chop roughly. Put in a bowl, along with chopped herbs, chopped chicken, julienne shredded carrot and capsicum. Put lime juice, soy, sesame oil, sugar and chilli in a small jar and shake well. Mix into salad.
Serve salad on a bed of chopped cos lettuce
Notes: Improv! Use other salad veggies, herbs, maybe some nuts, whatever. Use any other cooked meat, or tofu if you must. Mung bean vermicelli comes from Asian grocers, in little bundles, and really does not need cooking at all.