Malaysian Chicken and Rice

Malaysian Chicken and Rice
Fine Cooking by Zak Pelaccio

5 Tbs. fish sauce 
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced 
1 (1-1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced 
1 (3-lb.) chicken 
Sea salt 
2 cups jasmine rice 
3 Tbs. grapeseed oil 
1 cup lower-salt chicken broth 
4 Thai bird or 2 jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced crosswise 
4 medium scallions, light-green and white parts thinly sliced crosswise; green tops sliced into 1-1/2-inch-long slivers and submerged in cold water until serving 
2 Tbs. unseasoned rice vinegar 

1. Combine 2 Tbs. of the fish sauce with the garlic and ginger in a small bowl.

2. Put the chicken on a cutting board. Using a sharp cleaver or chef’s knife, disjoint the chicken into drumstick, thigh, wing, and split-breast pieces. Chop each breast half crosswise into 4 pieces (you’ll end up with 8 chicken breast pieces plus 2 wings, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks). Put the chicken in a large bowl and rub with 2 tsp. sea salt and the fish sauce mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a dishtowel and set it aside.

4. Put the rice in a large sieve, submerge the sieve in a large bowl of cold water and swish the rice with your fingers until the water turns milky. Lift the sieve out of the water, discard the water, and fill the bowl with fresh cold water. Repeat until the water is clear when the rice is swished, 2 to 3 more times. Shake as much water from the rice as possible and then turn it out onto the towel-lined pan. Spread the rice in an even layer and set it aside to dry completely, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Heat an 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil and the rice, spreading it out into an even layer. Let the rice sit for 1 minute, stir, and let it sit for another minute. Repeat until the rice is somewhat translucent, 2 to 3 more times. Add the chicken broth and 1 cup water. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for exactly 12 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, put the chiles in a small bowl and cover with the remaining 3 Tbs. fish sauce; set aside. Put the thinly sliced scallions in a small bowl and cover with the rice vinegar; set aside.

7. Arrange the drumsticks, thighs, and wings in a single layer on top of the rice. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes; then quickly add the breast pieces to the pot. Cover and cook until the chicken pieces are firm and spring back when lightly pressed, 40 to 45 minutes longer. Turn off the heat and bring the pot to the table.

8. Remove the scallion greens from the water, pat with a paper towel to dry, and put them in a small bowl. Uncover the chicken and rice and serve directly from the pot—be sure to serve each person some of the crusty, golden-brown rice from the bottom of the pot. Garnish with the scallion tops and serve with the chile-fish sauce and the scallion vinegar on the side.
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