We were in the Taft area twice last week to watch the classical and modern versions of Molier’s La Malade Imaginaire, a production of the School of Design and Arts (SDA) of the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB). Alex was in the production and I was a minor sponsor of the play. Both times, Speedy and I had lunch at a joint in the newly opened U-Pad, a modern dorm building just beside the SDA which has a number of student-type restaurants and food stalls on the mezzanine. The place where we had lunch was called Yummy Roast where rice is served either plain or with lemongrass.
We liked the lemongrass rice although I thought it would have been nicer if the flavors were more subtle. I decided that a homemade version was in order. And since I was going to simmer a whole chicken to make the the broth in which to cook the rice, I figured I might as well go all the way and create three dishes with that one chicken — lemongrass rice, chicken soup and roast lemongrass chicken.
Recipe: Lemongrass chicken and rice
- 1 small chicken, about 1 kg. in weight
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised (see tips on usage and preparation)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 small onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp. of peppercorns
- salt, to taste
- 1 and 1/2 c. of rice
- 1 tbsp. of finely minced lemongrass
- 1 tbsp. of grated garlic
- 1 tbsp. of grated ginger
- 1 tbsp. of patis (fish sauce)
- 1 tbsp. of sugar
- 2 bird’s eye chilis, finely sliced
- toasted garlic bits, to garnish
- Place the chicken in a pot. Pour enough water to cover. Bring to the boil; skim off scum as it rises. Add the lemongrass stalks, garlic cloves, whole onion, peppercorns, bay leaf and about a tablespoonful of salt. Cover the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Don’t cook it for too long — you don’t want it to reach the falling-off-the-bones stage because you’re still going to brown it in the oven later.
- Scoop out the chicken and place on a plate to cool a bit.
- Strain the broth.
- Measure enough broth to cook the rice in. Stir in 1 tbsp. of minced lemongrass.
- Cook your rice as usual but using the broth instead of water.
- Preheat the oven to 400F (a turbo broiler is fine but it still needs preheating).
- Mix together the remaining minced lemongrass, grated ginger and garlic, patis, sugar and chilis. Rub the mixture all over the cooled chicken, including the cavity.
- Roast the chicken at 400F for 15 to 20 minutes or just until the skin is nicely browned.
- Serve the chicken with the lemongrass rice and the broth (you will have to adjust the seasoning of the broth). You might want to sprinkle the broth and rice with toasted garlic bits before serving.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: about 1 hour
Number of servings (yield): 2