Thai

A Thai Chicken for Sauce Lovers

January 21, 2016

When our Managing Editor Kenzi and I visited Portland, Oregon for the Feast Food Festival, we fell hard. For the city, of course. But also for an unassuming chicken dish (and its broth and dipping sauce) served out of a truck called Nong's Khao Man Gai.

The chicken had been boiled in water spiced with ginger, then served over a bed of rice and alongside a container of chicken broth to sip separately or pour over the rice. As a result of the boiling, the chicken was incredibly tender and moist—and flavorful. But just in case over-the-top-unbelievably-flavorful is your thing, they served it alongside a ginger-spiked sticky soy sauce.

I wrote unpublished love poems for the chicken, took eight-hundred photos of it (see below), and paid $30 to check my bag so that I could bring a bottle of the magical sauce that came with it back to New York City.

As close to chicken love at first sight as it gets.

Fast-forward several months, when I discovered a recipe for the same chicken on Food52.

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And then imagine my excitement when—one chicken boiled in ginger, garlic, and black peppercorns later—I discovered that the recipe was delicious! From vvvanessa, it's actually a hybrid of the Chinese and Thai versions of the dish, called Hainanese chicken rice and Khao Man Gai, respectively.

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Top Comment:
“My mother makes it with organic corn raised chickens, first frying the uncooked rice with garlic and ginger in the skimmed fat from the chicken stock, then cooking the seasoned rice in stock. The chicken is poached in stock, barely at a simmer and shocked in ice-water to prevent overcooking the breast. Traditionally, it's served slightly pink but my parents prefer a slightly more cooked version. ”
— David L.
Comment

She describes it best:

My mom is Chinese and my dad is Thai, so is it any wonder that simple chicken and rice is one of my favorite dishes? For this recipe, I've streamlined the process considerably and made a simple mishmash of the two styles: Instead of cooking the rice in the chicken broth made by the cooking the chicken, I just [cook the rice in water, then] spoon a little of the savory liquid over the top. The condiment I use is heavy on the green onions. [...] This recipe also employs the use of residual heat to cook the chicken, which warms the cockles of my energy-efficiency-loving heart.

To review: Energy-efficient chicken, delicious broth-soaked rice, and a condiment of champions on the side. I know what I'll be making tonight (and always).

Have you ever eaten this chicken? Are you as excited as we are about energy-efficient chicken? Tell us in the comments below!

8 Comments

Jim January 26, 2016
Devouring this dish after a 7 mile run in the cold has me suddenly looking forward to finishing tomorrow night’s track workout :)
 
Debbie R. January 24, 2016
Is there a recipe for a similar sauce?
 
David L. January 23, 2016
I'm Hainanese and this dish with all the side dishes is to me what I imagine roast chicken and it's trimmings would be to most Americans. My mother makes it with organic corn raised chickens, first frying the uncooked rice with garlic and ginger in the skimmed fat from the chicken stock, then cooking the seasoned rice in stock. <br /><br />The chicken is poached in stock, barely at a simmer and shocked in ice-water to prevent overcooking the breast. Traditionally, it's served slightly pink but my parents prefer a slightly more cooked version.
 
Debbie January 22, 2016
What is the sauce that you brought home with you?
 
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Leslie S. January 22, 2016
Here's a link to purchase it online! It's a spicy, soy sauce, and very gingery sauce—it's delicious! http://khaomangai.com/sauce/
 
Tara January 21, 2016
I'm Thai and this is one of my favorite dishes! Any Thai restaurant I visited, I would check to see if they serve it, but most don't. I then learned to make it myself after my mom gave me a Thai cookbook.
 
creamtea January 21, 2016
I used to do something very similar when my college-age daughter was a newborn baby. Two chicken cutlets for my husband and myself, bring the water to a simmer then cover and allow to cook in the residual heat. We ate it with the broth spiked with a good amount of soy sauce and maybe some scallions. Haven't done this in so many years. Thanks for reminding me, it's such an easy-peasy family meal that I'd like to resuscitate, using the delicious additions you've suggested.
 
melissa January 21, 2016
lol<br /><br />http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/columbusing-is-the-perfect-word-for-when-white-people-discov#.dkPXN3jX6