‘Adversity is the mother of wisdom’ – the saying is especially true for the lifestyle of students – who struggle daily on a budget, and especially abroad students who study in a culture different from their homeland. This ‘instant’ chicken rice recipe was ‘invented’ in those days when my head was drowning in exams and revision but my heart was craving some hearty comfort food.
Busy as I was, I needed a recipe that was quick and effortless, yet must be delicious, comforting and nutritious of course. Rice is a must, and chicken is every student’s most beloved protein – it is really cheap and easy to cook with. In addition, if you are an Asian yourself, or know an Asian friend, you must know that rice cooker is the staple appliance in every Asian household, particularly Vietnamese. One-pot chicken rice in rice cooker seems like the perfect solution. (If you do not have a rice cooker, not to worry, scroll to the end and I will show you how to make this one-pot recipe on the stove).
The beauty of this dish lies not only in its simplicity but also in its flavours. You will be surprised, as I was when I tried my ‘invention’ for the first time, at how tender the chicken separated from its bones and how soft and flavourful the rice was. This is because when you put bone-in chicken into the pot with the rice, the rice is technically cooked with chicken broth, just like how chicken rice is made in the restaurant. I also like to serve some fresh or pickled cucumber on the side and garnish with a bit of coriander to add some extra green.
Needless to say, this is so far my favourite one-pot wonder, and a perfect busy/lazy day recipe. This ‘instant’ chicken rice is incredibly filling, delicious and nutritious – something that most students’ recipes desperately need.
“INSTANT” CHICKEN RICE RECIPE
- 4 chicken drumsticks or 2 large chicken legs (bone-in)
- Rice – for 2 servings
- 4 – 5 slices of ginger
- 3 shallots – peeled and halved
- A handful of coriander
- 400 grams cucumber
- Salt to taste
- Turmeric powder (optional)
1. Wash the chicken drumsticks and pat them dry with a paper towel.
2. Rinse the rice several times, drain and add to the rice-cooker. Add water. You can use the measuring cup that goes with the rice cooker, or follow the ratio rice : water of 1 : 2. Reduce a bit of water if you prefer tender to mushy rice.
3. Add salt to taste – the water should taste almost as salty as soup base. Add turmeric powder and stir well – turmeric powder brings a beautiful yellow colour to the rice.
4. Press the chicken drumsticks to the bottom of the rice cooker to make sure the rice covers rather than stays under the chicken. This is because the rice under chicken will tend to get more mushy.
* Note: You can also place the drumsticks at the bottom of the cooker first and then add the rice and water.
5. Add ginger and shallot to the cooker and start cooking.
Once done, check if the drumsticks are fully cooked and remove them from the cooker to cool down. The rice will be very fragrant. Use chopsticks to stir the rice and let it rest on Warm mode for 10 – 15 minutes – this will help the rice become a bit drier.
Step 1: Bring all the ingredients to the rice cooker and start cooking
Step 2: Once done with cooking, remove the chicken to cool down, then shred them.
Step 3: Stir the rice, let it rest on Warm mode for 10 – 15 minutes
6. Chop the coriander and mix with the rice to enhance the taste.
This chicken rice is best served warm with shredded chicken and cucumber. The rice, which is firm and moist, every rice grain plumped with chicken broth flavour, goes perfectly well with tender chicken and fresh cucumber.
– Level up your chicken rice with sweet-and-sour cucumber salad, which is similar to the carrot papaya salad in this deep-fried savoury glutinous rice balls.
– If you do not have a rice cooker, here is how you can still make this one-pot recipe:
- Put a pot of water on the stove and boil the chicken with 2 shallots and 1 piece of ginger (about 2 cm long, sliced).
- When the chicken is boiled, reduce the heat to low and keep simmering for 10 – 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Skim off and remove all bubbles from the water while cooking the chickn.
- Take the chicken out. Measure and cook the rice in the broth according to the instruction on the rice package. Add turmeric powder and season to taste.
- Recipe & Photos: Linh Trang
- Written by: Xuân Trần
- Edited by: Thảo Đan