Today we will making a wonderful Taiwanese street food favourite “Chicken Rice” also known as “Taiwanese Shredded Chicken Rice”. Although this maybe a simple dish it is packed with flavour and incredibly moreish.
After the Second World War some American airforce men stayed on at the Chiayi Airbase in Southern Taiwan, they had Turkeys brought over for thanks giving. The people of Chiayi used the Turkey for their street food as at the time it was cheaper than chicken. Traditionally they would steam Turkey breast with the bone to create a broth which would become the base of the sauce. Once cooked the Turkey breast meat would be shredded over freshly steamed rice. Then top the Turkey Rice with shallots which had been fried in pork fat, finally add one slice of pickled daikon (mooli).
Nowadays the most of Taiwan use chicken and call it “Chiayi Chicken Rice”, rather than using Turkey they tend to use Free Range Chicken as it is more widely available. However you will still find Chiayi using Turkey, you can watch all about this on the Netflix Street Food Asia documentary.
We will begin by creating essentials oils for this dish, chicken oil and shallot oil. Skin the chicken thighs and add a little oil to a frying pan, bring it to a medium heat and add the chicken skin. All the wonderful umami will be released creating chicken oil. You will also have fried chicken skin, do not throw this away, add a little salt and white pepper and you will have an amazing beer snack.
Next you will fry sliced shallots in the oil you just created, this chicken / shallot oil will be an ingredient for the sauce which will be spooned over the rice and the crunchy fried shallots will give a nice texture as a topping
to the rice.
In this recipe we will boil the chicken, traditionally we use the breast for this dish however you can you any part you like. Once the chicken has been boiled it will create the most wonder stock. Rather than throwing it away, why not try a adding sliced mooli and shittake mushrooms, let it cook a little while longer for an amazing healthy soup.
We quickly boil the chicken, only 5 minutes, then leave it to slowly cook further with the residual heat. This will prevent the meat from drying out and actually create a juicer chicken.
Ideally you need to use a good quality short grain rice to make this dish. Depending on where the rice is from it can have different names i.e.: Short Grain Rice, Sticky Rice, Sushi Rice, Sweet Rice or even Medium Grain Rice.
The rice needs to be cooked perfectly, if you are using a rice cooker its normally a 1:1 ratio, however I always add a little extra water because of the rice cooker I use. Make sure to wash the rice well before cooking, I always like to wash it 3 to 5 times.
Before starting this recipe put your rice on to cook.
Chicken Rice (Taiwanese Street Food)
- 3 Chicken Thighs
- 5 slices Ginger
- 3 Green Onions cut into half
- 700 Water for boiling the Chicken
- 1 tbsp Rice Wine
- 3 Chicken Thigh Skins
- 2 Shallots Sliced
- 1 tsp Oil for Frying
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Rice Wine
- 1 tbsp Shallot Oil
- 1 tsp Chinkiang Vinegar
- 100 ml Chicken Stock
- 3-4 Servings Freshly Cooked Short Grain Rice
- Use kitchen towel to pat dry the chicken and take off the skin.
- Place a frying pan over medium heat add the oil and put the chicken skin into it then fry it. If oil starts to spit put a lid on. Fry the skin until it starts to bubble and turns a lovely golden brown, all the moisture / oil should now be in the pan. Remove the chicken skin (See notes) and cool down the oil.
- Once the chicken oil has cooled down, add the shallots and put the pan over a low heat. Fry the shallots carefully, when pan becomes hot the shallots will start to blister. Once the colour starts to change to light brown remove from the pan and separate the oil and shallots. The shallots will continue to cook out of the pan and will become crispy. Set aside for later.
- Ready another pan and add the water, ginger, green onion, rice wine and chicken thigh, then turn the heat to medium. Bring it to the boil for five minutes, if any scum should come to the surface simply skim it off. After 5 minutes turn off the heat and put the lid on then leave it for 15 minutes or until its cooked through. (See notes)
- After the 15 minutes is up, take the chicken thigh out and let it to cold down a little bit, remove the bone and shred the chicken.
- In a small pan add the chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine and shallot, turn to a medium low heat and bring it to boil and cook off the alcohol and allow it to reduce for a few minutes.
- Add the Chinkiang Vinegar and cook for another 30 second then turn off the heat and ready to serve.
- Add the rice into the bowl then add the chicken, spoon over some sauce and add the shallots.
- You could serve with some pickled vegetables and enjoy a wonderful meal.