On days when we have chicken, I make the most of it. In this seared chicken with spiced basil rice dish, for instance, not a single drop of the bird’s flavor went to waste. The bone-in chicken pieces were seared then arranged over rice that had previously been soaked in water. In a tightly covered pan, the rice and the chicken cooked together in the steam. All the flavors from the chicken bones enriched the rice and enhanced the spices mixed in it. The citrusy notes from the lemongrass and lemon basil give the dish a fresh and bright aroma.
- 6 chicken thighs , bone-in
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass finely chopped
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- patis (fish sauce) to taste
- 1 and 1/2 cups jasmine rice soaked in cold water for at least six hours then drained
- generous handful lemon basil
- lemon or lime juice
Place the chicken thighs in a bowl. Add the salt, pepper, chili powder and five-spice powder. Mix well.
Heat a non-stick frying pan. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin side down, in a single layer. Cook over very high heat until the skins are seared. Flip them over to sear the opposite side. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and set aside.
In a thick-bottomed pot, heat the cooking oil. Saute the ginger, garlic, lemongrass, shallots and cumin with a generous drizzle of fish sauce until softened and fragrant.
Stir in the rice and lemon basil.
Arrange the seared chicken on top of the rice.
Cover the pot tightly to make sure that no steam can escape.
Cook the rice and chicken for about 30 minutes.
To serve the seared chicken with spiced basil rice, ladle rice in bowls, top with two chicken thighs and drizzle with fresh lemon or lime juice.