If Singapore has a dish, this is it. Hainanese chicken rice...which apparently isn't from Hainan at all, but instead came from the Hainanese people who migrated to Singapore.
This dish is simple in that not many ingredients are used, but this puts the emphasis on cooking those few ingredients to perfection.
Remember that the chicken is the star here and it's essential that the chicken be flavourful and cooked just right. Overcooked chicken will be dry and horrible.
Salt the chicken well and leave aside for half an hour at least. Trim some extra fat off and fry with some whole garlic cloves until the fat has rendered out and the garlic cloves are cooked through. Place your uncooked rice into the pan and continue frying, making sure you coat all the rice with the rendered fat. Add in a couple of good pinches of salt and stir well.
After about a minute, place the rice into a rice cooker and cook as per normal. Add a pandan leaf in with the rice.
Boil a pot of water and when it is boiling, place the whole chicken in. Turn the heat off. Wait half an hour, turn the chicken around and bring the pot back up to the boil and immediately turn the heat off again. A large chicken should take approximately an hour to cook through.
When the chicken is cooked (you may want to pierce the chicken with a skewer just to check... the thighs usually take slightly longer), place it quickly into a tub of ice cold water and let it sit. Meanwhile, taste the soup. If it is too watery, boil it down further to make a tasty broth. Add salt and pepper as needed.
After about 5 minutes, remove the chicken, rub with soya sauce and sesame oil and cut up. The thighs and wings are usually left whole, and the breast de-boned and sliced.
A good chilli sauce is a must with this dish, so blend up some fresh chillies, soya sauce, garlic and ginger. You might like to add a touch of lime juice in there to liven it up. Another sauce served with this dish is ginger, spring onions and salt blended together.
Serve with a hot bowl of broth, coriander and/or spring onions, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. Some may like this dish with a plate of chicken livers steamed in soya sauce and sesame oil.
It is also popular to drizzle dark black soya sauce over the rice. There's also a version of this dish which uses roast chicken. I don't like it as much. What do you think?