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Thai Chicken and Rice – Khao Man Gai Recipe - Eat this and Never Go Back to Being the Same

Thai Chicken & Rice with Soup — by David Smith
Thai Chicken & Rice with Soup — by David Smith

Making the Chicken & Stock for Khao Man Gai

2 Chicken Breasts Bone-in

2 Chicken Thighs Bone-in

2-3 Quarts (2-3 liters) of Water (add as needed)

6-8 cloves of Garlic

1-2 tablespoons sliced Ginger (peeled)

1 bunch of cilantro, preferably with root (washed)

About 20 pieces black peppercorn (whole), about 1-2 tablespoons

½ to 1 tablespoons of salt (to taste, can use less)

Ingredients for the Chicken & Rice — by David Smith
Ingredients for the Chicken & Rice — by David Smith

Start by adding all the ingredients except the chicken. And then heat the water and ingredients until boiling. After the water boils, add the chicken pieces. Once the chicken is finished cooking, turn off the heat. For example, the meat should start to “break” and should be firm to the touch. After and during the boiling, skim the fat from the surface of the water. To clarify, save this rendered fat to fry the garlic and ginger for the rice part of this dish (see rice pictured).

Remove the chicken from the water. Set aside the chicken to cool and cut up later. Then, filter the water through a sieve to separate out the used aromatics. Keep the water to make the rice and usually about 3 – 4 tablespoons for the spicy sauce. Throw the used herbs away.

After the chicken has cooled, and shortly before plating the dish, debone the chicken. Cut up the meat into nice sized slices.

Sautéing the Garlic & Ginger in the rendered Chicken Fat — by David Smith
Sautéing the Garlic & Ginger in the rendered Chicken Fat — by David Smith

Making the Rice for Khao Man Gai

2 – 3 Cups of Rice

2 Tablespoons of chopped Garlic

2 Tablespoons of chopped Ginger

Filtered Water from the Boil Chicken (Chicken Stock)

Rendered fat from the boiled chicken

The Rice in the filtered Chicken Stock with the sautéed Garlic & Ginger — by David Smith
The Rice in the filtered Chicken Stock with the sautéed Garlic & Ginger — by David Smith

Put the rendered fat into a frying pan and fry the garlic and ginger (see pictured). If you need to, you can use additional oil to help fry the garlic and ginger, but you do not want it to be overly greasy. Gently sauté on low heat until the garlic and ginger are cooked through.

After the garlic and ginger are sautéed, mix this with the rice and the chicken stock in whatever pan you will cook the rice in. Whether you are using a rice cooker or stovetop pan, remember to use enough stock to cook the rice. I usually go by the ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups liquid. Add water if needed.

The Sauce – Nam Jim (Awesome Sauce for Hainanese Chicken)

Making a Most Delicious Sauce — by David Smith
Making a Most Delicious Sauce — by David Smith

**A special note for people who do not eat spicy food. There really is delicious flavor that comes from the chilies in this dish. However, if you cannot handle any spicy, substitute a mild or no-heat chili like a banana pepper, or whatever you have that is similarly available and that you like to eat normally.**

This can be prepared first, in order to make sure that the rest of the ingredients are hot.

3-5 Fresh Thai Red Chilies, About ½ to 1 Tablespoon blended

(Or whatever non-spicy or less spicy chili you would like to use. However, the chili should be a pepper with a lower moisture content. As such, a Sweet or “Bell” pepper is NOT recommended.)

5 – 6 Cloves of Garlic

1 Tablespoon Ginger

½ of a big bunch of Cilantro

1 Tablespoon Salted Soybean

¼ to ½ Tablespoon Sugar to taste

1 Tablespoon Quality Soy Sauce

¼ - ½ Tablespoon Sweet Soy Sauce

2 teaspoons White Vinegar

½ Tablespoon Fish sauce

Pinch of Salt

Add Chicken stock to create a smooth consistency.

This is the sauce, or Nam Jim. All of these ingredients should be added to a blender and pulsed until relatively smooth. Add the chicken stock to help smooth out the sauce, tablespoon by tablespoon. The sauce should be like a blended salsa consistency, but not watery like soup.

Take the blended mixture and cook until heated and bubbles, only about 5 to 10 minutes. This is to cook the garlic and help blend the flavors together. If you are using a spicy chili remember to be careful with splatter.

Set aside and allow to cool before eating. You do not want to eat this sauce straight from the stovetop. The spiciness will be overwhelming with the heat.

On top - Daikon & Winter Melon/ Bottom - Simple Side Soup — by David Smith
On top - Daikon & Winter Melon/ Bottom - Simple Side Soup — by David Smith

The Soup for Spicy Thai Chicken and Rice

1 peeled Winter Melon

5 cloves of Garlic

1 bunch of cilantro

1 peeled Daicon Radish

1 – 2 Tablespoons of Chicken or Pork flavoring salt

½ to 1 Tablespoon Salt

1 – 2 Tablespoons Sugar

2 – 4 Quarts (2 – 4 liters) of Water

Sliced Green onion for a final garnish

Powered black pepper

One of the funniest names of Thai Vegetables is said exactly like one of the biggest no-no words in English, the f-word. I love eating this soup because I get so say how delicious the melon is, over and over.

Sometimes called Winter Melon or Wax Gourd or Opo Squash. A good substitute is Zucchini. See the picture for a peeled version of the Winter Melon, the light green one in the picture is a peeled version of this vegetable. More mature plants have inedible seeds in the center, but the outer white flesh is used in the soup.

In addition, the Whiter vegetable in the pictures is peeled Daikon or White Radish. Both the Daikon and the Winter Melon are peeled and chopped into nice big cubed size pieces. If the pieces are too small, they will melt away into the soup. Pieces that are about an inch (about 2-3 cm) thick are good (see the finished soup in the picture).

Add the water to a large-sized stock pot. Next, heat the water until boiling and add all the ingredients. Cook until the vegetables are finished, about 10 to 20 minutes.

A most Delicious Meal to Devour — by David Smith
A most Delicious Meal to Devour — by David Smith

Wrapping up the Chicken and Rice

1 Cucumber in Slices

Make the plate, add about a cup of rice per person. Top the rice with the deboned chicken slices.

I find the soup to be best if it is hot. So in the last few minutes before serving, I suggest heating it up. Ladle accordingly into soup bowls. Top with a dash of powdered black pepper and a pinch of fresh cilantro.

Slices of cucumber are good on the side of the dish and provide a nice fresh taste.

I recommend having some sauce bowls of the Nam Jim, so you can add as you go. Kind of like a Thanksgiving Gravy.

Enjoy the meal. It is one that I like to devour. I usually am not a big rice eater, but I absolutely will go back for seconds, the combination of the spicy sauce, along with the deep flavors of the stock in the rice along with accents of garlic and ginger are fantastic.

If you would like to hear more of a story about this and how my wife is the Queen of the Kitchen when it comes to Khao Man Gai, Hainanese Chicken or Thai chicken and rice Check out the link that follows.

Whatever you call it, my mouth is watering and I hope yours is too.

This article was originally published on @talentedinternational