chicken rice dates

I’ve wanted to cook Hainanese style chicken rice with fresh and dried dates still on the branch for a long time. Unfortunately, I keep getting veto-ed by my better half who thought it’ll be an unsavory dish. Pun not intended. smirk

chicken marinade

We had gotten two free range chicken legs for RM 18.50 from our trip to the wet market last week and one of them is still in the fridge. The other has been cooked into a wonderful Hainanese style chicken rice and I wanted to do the very same dish – except mine would be a sweet version. I finally convinced my honey with the same.

Witticisms aside, you will need:

date rice recipe

  • One whole chicken leg
  • Rice
  • Wild flower honey
  • Dates on branches
  • Fresh dates

fresh date rice

I did this with two types of dates – the sweeter dried dates and the fresh ones still on their branch I got from the Ramadan bazaar a while ago. The latter is used to flavor the rice. I measured one cup of rice and added 1 ½ cups of water to it.

drumstick honey rice

This method of cooking and marinating is what I learned from my dear. The dried dates are opened up and the tiny seed taken out before being smashed for the flavor to come out. I used a whole branch of Tunisian dates, which is a sweet variety with relatively good moisture content.

wild flower honey

I then took a good gunk (which is about 3 heaped tablespoons if you want exact measurements) of New Zealand wild flower honey – chosen for it’s refreshing and light nature – and mixed it with the mashed up dates and massaged the mixture into the chicken leg for a good 3 minutes.

marinating chicken

I made sure to molest caress every fold and curve of the chicken leg like a gentle lover to massage the dried dates + honey marinade into the smooth skin until it’s moist and tender.

honey dates marinate

The marinated chicken leg is then sealed into an air-tight baggie and left in the fridge for 24 hours.

cooking fresh dates

The fresh dates goes into the rice before it’s cooked. I made sure to poke multiple holes into each date before it went into the pan. I also used a fork to pick apart the fresh dates so that the maximum surface area will be exposed with tiny bits going with the rice before setting it to boil.

cooking dates rice

The dried dates + wild flower honey chicken leg is placed on top of the rice just as the water starts to get hot. Don’t wait for it to boil!

honey date rice

The pressure pan is closed for 5 minutes on low heat to cook the chicken leg and rice. I was amazed by the fragrant sweet smell when I opened it!

our date rice

The fresh date rice is mildly sweet with bits and pieces of dates embedded into the fluffy grain. It’s fragrant and goes very well with the dried date + honey marinated chicken leg. It’s sweet, but not overpoweringly so, it’s a very subtle nuance.

dried dates chicken

I liked it but I think marinating the chicken for 48 hours would do better in absorbing the sweet dried dates and wild flower honey right into the bone! :)

ling hb sibu

I’m in Sibu! I flew back with Ling early this morning and arrived at the airport so I can spend some time with my family (mom is flying back later tonight) before we all go to vote tomorrow. I think we might be voting for different parties but that’s the beauty of democracy ain’t it? :)

chopsticks sibu

Anyway, I noticed that Chopsticks Chicken & Rice now has a new signboard. This is a place that has been around since my childhood! I remember eating the mixed rice there as a kid and chu cha (dai chow in Cantonese) when they moved over to Pedada.

chopsticks pedada

However, what they’re really famous for is their chicken rice. My dad is a huge fan of it. There are scores of Sibu people who loves the chicken rice here. Lunch time will be *packed* with people ordering chicken rice and it’s sold out real soon.

chopsticks chicken rice

They’re doing so well that they dedicated an entire shoplot just for it. That place was previously Peppino’s Pizza (also by the same owner).

roasted chicken

There’s a bunch of things you’ll expect from a chicken rice place – char siew, roasted chicken, duck, innards, siew yoke, braised egg and also some that you won’t.

foochow curry chicken

…like this Foochow style curry chicken.

braised egg

It’s the same thing I’ve eaten as a kid – there used to be three compartments (not including your rice) and I’ll have curry chicken for all of them). Arthur ordered this one for us – he was kind enough to pick us up from the airport. It’s milder (in spiciness rating) than regular curry yet more intense (they put a lot of the curry powder). A peculiarity of Foochow cuisine.

char siew

The signboards are new and there’s a lot of people eating there but what I really crave is kampua mee. Unfortunately, everyone was sold out then (must be the people coming back for elections!!!) so we had lunch here.

chicken rice

It’s not too bad though, I think most people come here for the rice – it’s fragrant and what makes Chopsticks Chicken Rice special! The char siew is also good – glazed with honey and with no color additives that makes it radioactive red.

ling in room

We’ll be staying a night here – she’s already met my grandma and we’ll have dinner together and vote tomorrow! :D

Bah Kut Teh Recipe #1: Chicken bak kut teh with oily chicken rice

chick-kut-teh

Bak kut teh or pork bone soup is a hearty herbal delight that’s very versatile and delicious. We’ve come across a routine that can make the same BKT soup last for 3 meals with three very different recipes. However, I hear you asking – Why chick kut teh?

Well, for one thing, pork is damn expensive in KL. It’s really cheap in Sarawak. However, the main reason is coz this is fast and easy to cook without compromising on taste!

I remember when I was a kid, there was this huge Nipah scare and everyone stopped consuming pork. Chik-kut-teh outlets practically sprouted like mushrooms overnight! There were even dedicated chick-kut-teh restaurants when people started saying that it tasted just as good as pork. However, they were all gone within a year and people went back to eating real pork bak kut teh when the outbreak was over. Heh!

Note that this recipe is still not halal since we found the BKT package in the non-halal section of the hypermarket.

You will need:

chicken drumsticks

  • Yew Chian Haw Bah Kut Teh herbal mix
  • OXO cubes chicken stock
  • Quintessence Garlic & Parsley infused oil
  • Chicken drumsticks
  • Garlic
  • Salt

bak-kut-teh herbal mix

This was actually inspired by the photo on the BKT package. You can use any brand you like but we found that this is the best tasting one we’ve come across so far. Yew Chian Haw BKT mix can be located hanging beside the open meat refrigerated shelves in the non-halal section. The ingredients are fresh and the bak kut teh package has to be put in the fridge (crisper section) so it won’t go bad, unlike regular ones which can be stored at room temperature. It serves 4-6 people and that’s how we managed to extend this into three meals.

water

It’s the second time we’ve cooked this. Drumsticks are the best cut of chicken that you can use – BKT soup requires a bone based meat for flavor. The trick is in the marrow that leaches out after boiling. :)

bak kut teh soup

First off, bring about 3 liters of water to boil and dump in the contents of the bak kut teh package. Put in two whole bulbs of garlic and add 2 heaped tablespoons of salt to the pot. The garlic tastes great when eaten like that. Unfortunately, we only had about 3/4 of a bulb left so we put in the cloves of garlic instead.

chik-kut-teh soup

It’s important to note that you should not peel the garlic or it’ll disintegrate during the boiling process.

bak kut teh chicken

Let the soup boil for about an hour on high heat and turn off the stove. Add in the chicken drumsticks and continue to let it simmer for another half hour on low heat. You can put in as many chicken drumsticks as you want – we put in 5. I usually eat 3 drumsticks and my girlfriend eats two.

oxo chicken cubes

While all that is happening, prepare the oily chicken rice by dissolving an OXO chicken cube into some water and adding it to the rice. We use 1 chicken stock cube for every two cups of rice.

garlic parsley oil

Pour about a teaspoon of oil into the rice and chicken stock mixture and turn on the rice cooker.

oily chicken rice

The garlic infused oil makes the rice taste richer and the bits of parsley lends a bit of much needed color into the entire shebang.

chicken bak kut teh

Scoop out the chicken drumsticks after the 1 1/2 hours of boiling is up and serve it with the oily chicken rice. You can chuck the BKT stock in the fridge for future use – it’s only going to get better each time as it absorbs the essence of each meal. :)

chik-kut-teh-century-egg

The garlic and parsley infused chicken rice goes very well with the piping hot chik kut teh. The drumsticks have absorbed the herbal notes of the BKT soup and it’s delicious! The meaty herbal soup complements the oily chicken rice and it’s great for those rare cold nights.

chik-kut-teh dinner

It’s a simple but rich treat that easy to make and delicious to boot!

rice bowls chicken rice

Rice Bowls Restaurant is hands down the best halal chicken rice in the world. I happen to hold the Mayorship on foursquare for this place for one simple reason – I eat here almost every day. However, a couple of weeks ago, I got a piece of shocking news – they’re closing down coz the proprietor is moving to Australia.

rice bowls restaurant

I was horrified. It took a couple of hours for the realization to sink in. Where am I going to eat lunch now? There’s nothing remotely as good as this chicken rice place in Pusat Bandar Damansara. It was a shining beacon in the rat race – a sanctuary I look forward to every single day. I’ll have to go hungry and die of starvation. :(

rice bowls chicken rice meal

Dejected, I started eating at other places again until someone told me the good news. Rice Bowls is open! It lives again! It’s the modern resurrection! I could scarcely believe my ears. I had to see it with my own eyes, being the Doubting Thomas that I am.

Behold! It’s true! Rice Bowls is open under new management. Shout it from the hills! It’s back, and so is the chef and the people working there.

rice bowls staff

I always eat the same thing over here so when I walk in the staff will just smile at their regular and go “Biasa?” and prepare my order. It’s apparently more renowned for the roasted chicken but I prefer their steamed chicken. My usual is the drumstick chicken rice with an extra bowl of rice and iced tea. I love the oil and sauce that goes into the steamed chicken and the chilli sauce is fucking awesome as well.

rice bowls chicken rice mine

My routine for eating it is to dump the extra bowl of rice in the plate and pour the chicken + oil + sauce on top. It’s almost like a ritual. I’ll eat 3/4 of the rice + sauce and save the 1/4 virgin chicken rice for eating with chilli sauce. I’ll down the hot soup after that and finish the meal with the iced tea.

rice bowls chicken

It used to cost RM 8.10 for a drumstick with chicken rice and an extra bowl of rice (free) plus iced tea, but under the new management, there is no more free extra rice. It costs RM 9.60 for my regular meal now so that makes an extra bowl of chicken rice RM 1.50.

rice bowls lunch

I don’t mind though. It is indeed the best halal chicken rice in the world and I’m glad to see that it’s back!

wiya chicken rice

Wiya Chicken Rice is the oldest and most established nasi ayam outlet in Kota Kinabalu. I remember eating their pyramid shaped chicken rice with gusto, savoring every single delicious grain of rice and morsel of chicken when I first got out of rehab a couple of years back. I was determined to patronize this outlet again when I went to KK last weekend.

wiya chicken rice meal

We took a cab down to Segama for the chicken rice (BTW, KK taxis rips you off when you depart from a nice resort, going back is always cheaper) coz I REALLY wanted to eat it during the first day we arrived in KK.

wiya chicken rice stall

Wiya chicken rice was just as I remembered it – packed and busy, with heaps of people waiting for their acclaimed pyramid shaped chicken rice.

wiya chicken rice crowd

Actually, the sole USP of the place is their rice which wouldn’t look out of place in Egypt. It’s actually very simple – they have a pyramid shaped scoop.

wiya chicken rice pyramid

I’m not sure what it does for the taste, or whether the pyramid shape gives it mystical properties, but aesthetically it looks good and the rice is just like I remembered it – soft, fluffy and full of oily chicken essence so you can taste the rice.

wiya chicken rice chicken

The chilli sauce at Wiya Chicken Rice can hold its own against most other similar establishments too.

wiya chicken rice char siew

We also ordered a plate of char siew – take my advice and avoid this. In the words of Jerine: “This char siew doesn’t have any taste to it”. It’s true. It’s bland and dry. Just pass on that, you’ll thank me for it.

wiya chicken rice pyramid rice

However, their chicken is pretty succulent and the flavorful rice more than makes up for the char siew disaster. It costs RM 20.40 for the both of us inclusive of drinks.

wiya chicken rice us

It’s the favorite of locals and travellers alike for all the good reasons – they serve awesome chicken rice in a King Tut package! :)

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Balls

I just came back from a Melaka trip with 11 other people. It was great fun and just before we came back, a detour to eat chicken rice balls in Jonker Street was made. The most established chicken rice ball shop in Melaka is Chung Wah. I was there last year and it was good.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball

This time we headed to a different outlet – Hoe Kee Chicken Rice. We were there for lunch just now and the unique selling point of this chicken rice ball establishment is their Asam Fish Head.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball stall

The aroma of the Asam Fish Head wafted out to Jonker Street and it was pleasing to my olfactory senses.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Asam Fish Head scoop

Wah, got accolades from Astro AEC some more:

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Astro

Anyway, like most other chicken rice ball establishments in Melaka, they have a disclaimer saying that loose chicken rice will be served together with rice balls on weekends and public holidays due to demand exceeding supply.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball interior

However, one amazing thing about this outlet is the sheer speed at which they process your order. We had a room to ourselves due to our large party of 12. We initially ordered 1 whole chicken and 1 Asam Fish Head with two big plates of loose chicken rice and two of chicken rice balls (we added on another plate of chicken rice and 1/2 a chicken after that).

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball chicken

As soon as we ordered, I was about to walk out of the room when the dishes started coming in – all at once! It’s as if they’ve already read your mind and prepared the food before you step into the restaurant. Jesus, if McDonald’s/KFC/Burger King is considered fast service restaurants, I don’t know what to call this.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Asam Fish Head

The chicken wasn’t anything to write home about. I’ve noticed something about Melaka chicken rice ball outlets – it’s not their chicken that’s good but the glutinous chicken rice balls that makes everything taste awesome. However, it is pretty decent, it’s just that the chicken is a bit anorexic (with a thin layer of skin) compared to the hormone boosted chicken-on-steroids I’m used to having here.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball hit

However, the Asam Fish Head really takes the cake. Everyone loved it and we even considered ordering a second helping. The gravy is thick and flavorful, without being overtly spicy, and the hints of spices tempered with the okra is a lesson in perfection. The fish does not have any pesky bones and is tender and juicy. The sauce was a big hit!

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball eat

I would recommend Chung Wah if you want an authentic taste of one of the oldest chicken rice ball shops in Melaka but if you’re looking for something beyond the ordinary, check out Hoe Kee Chicken Rice – it has that zing/oomph/whatever-you-call-it factor due to their house specialty – the Asam Fish Head.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball Asam Fish Head dish

Hoe Kee Hainam Chicken Rice is located at Jonker Street in Melaka. Lunch for 12 of us, inclusive of drinks, came up to RM 151.50, which is pretty reasonable.

seremban porridge stall

I was told there’s this popular chicken rice place that’s only open from 6 pm – 8 pm in Seremban. It’s supposed to serve a mean bowl of pig innards porridge and mighty fine chicken. It usually sells out at around 8 pm so you have to go there early.

kawan seremban

I headed down with Caydence’s family before I had to drive back to KL. The place was packed and the stall was chopping up chickens like nobody’s business. Okay, their business anyway. ;)

seremban porridge display

Look at all the pig offal displayed alongside the chicken!

seremban porridge serve

They also serve normal chicken rice but what this stall is famous for (it’s the only stall in Kedai Makanan Dan Minuman Kawan) is their pig innards porridge. It was dished out into bowls and plastic bags for those wanting a pack to go.

seremban porridge chicken

The chicken is pretty decent but I prefer Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice.

seremban porridge

However, what makes this place special is eating the chicken WITH the pork innards porridge. It even has some crunchy bits on top to add texture to the congee.

seremban porridge sesame oil

Splash some vinegar and sesame oil on the congee and you’re in for a real treat!

seremban porridge us

There is a reason why this place is very popular in Seremban – their porridge is infused with the essence of delectable, and eating the chicken with a mouthful of hot congee with bits of pork intestines sticking out is a very different experience.

I love it and I don’t even like porridge! :)

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice steamed

Chicken rice is a deceptively simple dish but it’s one of those things that’s hard to do right. I’ve had horrendous chicken rice – rubbery and tasteless – and really orgasmic chicken rice.

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice is one of the latter.

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice Kelana Jaya

It’s been dubbed the best chicken rice in Petaling Jaya, and while I will not make that claim, it certainly is the best chicken rice in Kelana Jaya. It’s located near SS6 just after the KJ LRT station.

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice owner

It’s quite famous in its own right; I’ve visited this place numerous times since I used to work really close.

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken stall

I had cravings for chicken rice during the long weekend so I went to revisit this wonderful chicken rice place…twice in two days. I ate ½ a chicken and two plates of rice on the first day. That was how much I missed it. I was STUFFED but satiated, until I woke up the next day and felt like going again. >.<

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice meal

This time I ordered ½ a chicken and a plate of rice. The best thing about the chicken here is the melt-in-your-mouth texture and exquisite taste. It’s so tender the breast meat (almost) passes off as thigh and drumsticks!

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice eat

The juiciness of the chicken is preserved so every bite you take squirts the essence of chicken into your taste buds, saturating it as you chew on the soft and slippery chicken meat.

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice sauce

The rice is fragrant and the chilli sauce + ginger they serve with the chicken is mouth-watering.

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice essence

However, the proper way to eat it (well, the way I eat it anyway) is to salvage the sauce mixed with chicken essence that pools at the bottom of the plate and drizzle it on a prime, tender piece of chicken before eating it with some spring onions.

Kee Kee Bentong Chicken

Heavenly!

Kee Kee Bentong Life Chicken

Oh, and we saw a stray chicken running around the place. What are the chances of that? Heh!

kampong chicken eating house

What exactly is kampong chicken? Translated literally it would “rural chicken” but it actually means free range chicken. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s a different species (at least, a different kind of chicken) since it’s much smaller and leaner than the usual poultry offerings.

kampong chicken stall

I went to Kampong Chicken Eating House in Singapore right before we were slated to come home. The bus was about to leave so we decided to head down here for some nourishment before we departed.

kampong chicken rice

This is a photo of a bowl of plain steamed chicken rice. Mundane? It looks that way but it didn’t TASTE that way (which was what compelled me to snap someone’s bowl after I partook of mine). The individual grains of rice is soft, fluffy and infused with the essence of chicken goodness!

kampong chicken liver

I have a huge appetite (which explains my current weight) so I ordered a chicken drumstick with some chopped liver and an egg…

kampong chicken rice meal

…and a quarter of chicken (thigh and drum) to complement the order and make it into a belly rubbing, over eating experience. ;)

kampong chicken us

It tasted good to me and everyone else on the table agreed that it was better than most chicken rice outlets. Good company, good food – it’s twice the fun just like the Xpax XXL double bonus. I particularly enjoyed the tender and moist chicken.

kampong chicken

I finished everything so that’s gotta say something right?

(or not)

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Maxwell Food Court

I was at Maxwell Food Court for lunch during the Nuffnang APAC Blog Awards Singapore tour when I stumbled upon a stall in the otherwise modestly populated food court with a long queue. It was for Zhen Zhen Porridge and not being particularly fond of porridge; I explored the other side of the food court and was rewarded (?) with the longest queue I’ve ever seen in my entire life!

Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration…it was the longest queue in the food court, snaking all the way through tables of people eating to the other side. I wondered what the fuss was about and stood in line. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice queue

That probably wasn’t a good idea since my rudimentary calculations of the number of people in the queue and the speed at which Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice was pushing its warez indicated I would probably get my lunch at 2013 AD or so. Probably around August 13th at a little past 4 am in the morning. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Citygal

However, I spotted Wei Zhi (otherwise known as Citygal of KampongboyCitygal – pictured above) and Christine (of Brought up 2 SharE – shown below) standing in line in front of me. Ha! If they’re waiting in line, it’s gotta be good, so I trusted in their judgment and casually strolled up to have a chat with them. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Christine

This is a very advanced tactical maneuver which involves pulling your digicam out and nonchalantly taking a narrative video of the queue ending with the two abovementioned people in front. It works best if you proceed to camwhore straight after that and start talking animatedly while pointedly ignoring the people behind.

It is also known as queue cutting. ;)

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Awards

The list of awards bagged by Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

Despite my strategic maneuvers, it took us 30 minutes (!!!) to get to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice which is a bit on the ridiculous side considering we were all standing up instead of seated and waiting. My table mates thought I went missing! 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

The drumstick chicken rice with a large portion of rice came up to SGD 3.50 which is pretty cheap if you don’t convert it into about RM 8. I liked the taste of the rice; it was very flavorful and infused with chicken stock. I half expected to see a stray chicken or two inside the plate of rice. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Singapore

Having a less refined palate than Wei Zhi (she’s the one who recommended Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice) I found the chicken to be tender and moist – both promising characteristics in poultry. It’s very juicy and the sauce and ginger paste served with it does well to complement the flavor of the chicken rice. I quite enjoyed it to be honest. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Citygal Christine

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice @ Maxwell Food Court dishes up great chicken rice but I wouldn’t wait 30 minutes for it. I was about halfway through my meal when I was told our group had to leave for the next destination.

*cue speed eating demonstration*

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