Introduction: Ginger Chile Chicken With Rice

About: Everything needs a garnish. Let's talk food! Follow me on Twitter: @garnishgirl

Poached chicken in an aromatic broth, with chile and shaved ginger. This meal was light, refreshing, and filling. The fluffy rice simmered in the ginger and onion broth, which was prepared with pan juices from the quickly poached chicken.

Would you believe me if I told you this meal came from some sauce packets left over from dim sum, discounted frozen chicken, and the bottom of the rice bag? It's amazing what you can whip out of your refrigerator at 6 PM when the entire house is hungry.

This is bachelor chow at its finest. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. It's an excellent short-notice save. I was browsing recipes on my phone shortly before cooking, and came across what looked like a goodie, but I had about half the ingredients.

The concept for the dish was inspired by this photo of a New York Times recipe for Hainanese Chicken With Rice, which was reviewed here (where I saw the photo) on The Kitchn.

Step 1: Ingredients

serves two, generously

12 oz. of barely defrosted chicken
2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 3" segments (optional)
2" ginger, peeled and shaved
1 onion, halved and sliced thinly
4 cups of water
2 cups of uncooked rice
take-out packets of chile paste and soy

To prepare the ingredients, defrost the chicken briefly (1 minute in the microwave on high). The chicken still needs to be slightly frozen in order for it to "poach" quickly.

If using, cut the lemongrass stalk into 3" segments, discarding the green leaves. Add the lemongrass to a quart size measuring cup with the water. Soak until needed.

Peel the ginger. Very carefully shave it with a vegetable peeler (or) use a knife to cut it into paper thin slices.

Slice the onion first in half. Peel off the exterior, slice off the ends, and cut it into thin half moons about 1/2" thick.

Step 2: Poach the Chicken

Generously salt the chicken The salt creates a surface between the chicken and the pan, until the chicken defrosts more.

Heat a large saucepan to medium-high, and add the chicken. Cover immediately. As the steam melts the frozen chicken, the chicken will take on a poached texture.

Set your timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, lift the chicken onto another plate, but reserve the cooking juices.

Step 3: Make the Onion Ginger Broth

Add the lemongrass stalks, ginger, onions, and water to the pan.

Cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until you can smell the aromatics. When your kitchen smells heavily of ginger, you'll know it's time to add the rice.

Step 4: Simmer the Rice in the Broth

Remove the lemongrass and discard (or save for additional use).

Dish the ginger and onion onto the plate holding the poached chicken.

Add the 2 cups of rice, cover, and turn the heat up to medium. Trust me- with the amount of simmering, the broth will have reduced, and will soak into the rice.

Set a timer for 20 minutes. Leave the heat on medium.

Step 5: Assemble the Rice Bowl

When the rice almost completely absorbs the broth (think moist, not dripping), dish the rice into the bottom of a bowl. The rice will taste like the broth it cooked in; a little extra moisture is just fine with this dish.

Split the chicken and onion portions, and add a serving to each. 

Garnish with a little chile and soy over the top. A great take-out twist is soy vinegar and chile-garlic paste. Sriracha and soy sauce work just as well.