Pasta is versatile because you can just toss it with a flavorful sauce, sprinkle it with cheese and you have a delicious meal. You don’t need a lot of expensive meat or seafood. But did you know that you can do the same with rice? The Italians do it with their risotto dishes. The Chinese have their ubiquitous fried rice. The Indonesians and Malays achieve the same result with their nasi goreng.
The other night, I cooked a chili-garlic chicken dish for dinner and some extra to pack for their girls. You know, for reheating at the condo during the week. I had about six tablespoonfuls of thick and very rich sauce left by the time I had packed two portions for the girls and, as I held the pan preparatory to taking it to the sink to wash, I wondered if there was still anything that I could do with it. Instead of taking the pan to the sink, I dumped two cups of rice into the pan, added broth, stirred and turned on the stove. Instead of chili-garlic chicken with plain rice for dinner, it was chili-garlic chicken and rice. And it was good. Very good. And you need only one pan to cook everything in.
Recipe: Chili-garlic chicken and rice
- 1 and 1/2 k. of chicken (thighs and legs are recommended)
- 1/4 to 1/3 c. of light soy sauce (I used Kikkoman)
- 1 tbsp. of finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp. of finely chopped bird’s eye chilis
- a splash of rice wine
- about 1 tsp. of sugar
- 2 c. of long-grain rice
- 3 to 4 c. of chicken broth
- 1 tsp. of chopped cilantro (optional but recommended)
- Heat a wide frying non-stick pan or wok — wide enough to hold all chicken pieces in a single layer.
- Place the chicken, skin down down and in a single layer, in the hot pan, and cook over high heat until the skins have rendered fat and are nicely browned. Flip them over to brown evenly.
- Pour in the soy sauce and rice wine. Add the chilis, garlic and sugar. Add about a quarter cup of water. Stir lightly. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat, cover and braise for about 30 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over halfway through the cooking.
- Scoop out the chicken and keep warm.
- Pour the chicken broth into the pan with the remaining sauce. Add the rice. Stir. Cook the rice as you normally would.
- When the rice is almost done, arrange the chicken pieces on top to reheat. Cook for another five minutes, covered, until the chicken pieces are heated through.
- To serve, ladle some rice on individual plates. Arrange two or more chicken pieces on the side.
If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you may substitute Chinese chives or even onion leaves.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 50 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4