pearl river deli Hainan chicken




total time


The Chicken:

3-4pound chicken with no head and feed (from wing lee farms)




Garlic cloves


Pandan leaves (optional)

Sesame oil

Kecap manis (dark sweet soy) or any type of dark sweet soy you prefer.

Your preferred chili sauce, cheater method is to blend sambal olek with fresh red fresno (since holland chiles are difficult to source in the states) a few garlic cloves and a knob of peeled ginger, season with vinegar, salt, sugar.

Cucumbers or some kind of pickled vegetables and cilantro


The Chicken:

- I use chickens from Wing Lee farms, white pullets with head and feet on 4-5lbs chickens (if head and feet off then 3-4. lbs)

- Day before, rub chickens with salt on the outside and inside cavity, about 2-3 tablespoons per chicken

- Cut off the feet, remove the fat from the cavity, remove tail/butt. Feet can be used for poaching stock.

- Poke a hole in the V-shaped crevice above middle breast bone and below the neck to allow for air to escape when dipping into the hot poaching stock.

For one chicken you will need an 8-12 qt stock pot. Poaching stock should be just the point of being salty, add ginger and scallions, galangal and cilantro root if you fancy.

- Bring poaching stock to a boil, dip chicken by the neck and allow it to sit in stock for 5 seconds before flushing out the cavity, do this three times then lay it on its back in the pot, it should be fully submerged.

- If chicken is laying breast down on the pot, you run the risk of cooking the breast too quickly or overcooking, especially if the pot is heavy bottomed and if your stove has a pilot light, the skin and meat on the back of the chicken can take cooking/abuse.

- Bring back to a boil and allow it to remain at a boil for 3-5 minutes, depending on size of chicken (from a scale of 3.5lb to 4.5lb) then turn off heat and cover pot with lid slight ajar.

- Set a timer for 25 minutes. The variables here will widely alter cooking time depending on your ratio of stock to chicken, shape of cooking vessel, ambient temperature of room, and whether your stove has a pilot light, all factors will determine if it will take as much as 35-40 minutes to cook for larger chickens. Occasionally stir the broth to prevent any uneven heating from undercooking chicken but be careful not to push chicken too hard or you risk tearing the skin.

- At the 25min mark, take temperature of chicken via the thickest part of the breast near the neck, poke until you reach the sternum/breast bone as that will be the last part of the chicken breast to finish cooking, temp both sides because of the non-symmetrical shape of the chicken breast due to the wishbone and esophagus, there may be several degree difference between each side of the breast. You will be looking for minimum 145F on each side, try to stay no higher than 150F.

- Notes on temperatures, if chicken is temping in the 120F's check the temperature of the stock, if it was at 170F or higher it should finish cooking without additional heat, in this scenario your delta is around 40-50 degrees and internal temperature should rise about 2 degrees per minutes so you would be looking at a possible 20 more minutes of cooking to get to 145F but do check earlier to make sure it doesnt cook too fast as the temperature rise is not constant and will sometimes will stall during the last 5-10 degrees.

- When chicken is done cooking take a pair of tongs to pull up chicken by the neck then take a hook and pierce under the backbone by the armpit of the chicken wing at a 45 degree angle towards the neck in order to lift the chicken at the most structurally strong bone in the body after cooking and least likely to affect the aesthetic presentation when cutting.

- Drop into an ice bath with water, do not allow to become fully cold, just need to bring it to room temperature before removing from ice bath. Allow to dry slightly then rub chicken with sesame oil or residual oil from making ginger scallion sauce to prevent skin from drying out.

Refer to chicken cutting video for how to boneless breakdown (will be released maybe sometime in future LOL?)

Rendering Chicken Fat

- Take all your chicken tails and fat scraps, put into sauce pot and a just enough water to cover bottom of pot, bring to a boil and allow water to evaporate, stir and scrape bottom of pot occasionally to prevent burning of the solids.

- Once the chicken tails start to look crispy and the fat is golden brown add in a few cloves of garlic and sliced ginger and cook for a few more minutes on low heat until they look wilted, remove from heat and cool slightly before straining into a heatproof container.

The Rice

- Wash rice until water runs somewhat clear, usually about 3 times.

- Assuming you are using an electric rice cooker, transfer into rice pot and pour in warm stock at a 1:1 ratio to rice (should be between 120-140F). Using cold stock in an electric cooker will cause rice to not cook fast enough and be more easily broken). For each cup of rice you will need to add 15g each of minced garlic and ginger, add in a few pandan leaves tied in a knot if you feel fancy. Adjust salt to taste, it should be just to the point of being too salty. - Add in chicken fat, about 1TB per cup.

- When its about half way cooked, steam will just start to rise out of rice cooker and the rice looks wet still, stir rice so fat is redistributed and the bottom rice gets mixed with the top so it cooks more evenly. Do this quickly to prevent too much steam/moisture from escaping.

- Allow rice cooker to finish its cooking cycle, then fluff rice and allow it to rest 10-15 minutes because it may only be 90% cooked and will need the final resting time to go the rest of the way.

If using a stovetop to cook rice then all the previous instructions apply but you will need to control your heat and adjust while cooking to prevent scorching. You will still need to stir while its still wet but starting to absorb liquid in the middle of cooking.

Ginger Scallion Sauce:

- Minced peeled ginger in a food processor and squeeze out the liquid over a mesh strainer, set aside ginger and discard ginger juice or save or whatever random things you wanna do with it, sometimes I add it to the chicken rice.

- Gather enough scallions (w/ greens and whites separated, scallion greens should be sliced thin and whites cut into 1 inch chunks.) to be roughly the same amount volume wise to your minced ginger.

- In a blender place scallion whites first then minced ginger, top with a neutral oil enough to cover by half an inch and blend until smooth.

Transfer to a cooking pot and repeat blending process until you are finished with all the ginger and scallion whites.

- Cook on high heat in the pot stirring constantly until it starts to bubble, once it does keep cooking for 1 minute and do not stop stirring as the ginger will easily burn if it sits too long. Do not cook too long or the fresh flavor of ginger will be lost and then color will turn dark yellow and lose its vibrancy.

- Remove pot from heat and add in scallion greens. Season with salt, white pepper, and sugar. Sugar may not be necessary but sometimes ginger is bitter depending on time of year and age of ginger. Best done the day before to allow flavors to settle as ginger will still have a strong taste when made the same day.

The Soup:

- After breaking down chicken, take all the bones and put into a pot packed tightly with just barely enough water to cover by an inch.

- Bring to a boil, skim the scum/impurities out then bring down to a simmer for 1-2 hours. Add in sliced ginger and scallions if desired during last 30 minutes.

- Strain and  season with salt.

To serve:

- Kecap manis (dark sweet soy) or any type of dark sweet soy you prefer.

- Your preferred chili sauce, cheater method is to blend sambal olek with fresh red fresno (since holland chiles are difficult to source in the states) a few garlic cloves and a knob of peeled ginger, season with vinegar, salt, sugar.

- Cucumbers or some kind of pickled vegetables and cilantro




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