I went to the city to grab a bite to eat with my kid Jeffrey and my Mom. Jeffrey suggested a joint that serves poached chicken and rice. Loves it, goes there all the time.
I said, you’re KIDDING right? Not that I don’t like chicken but this sounds a whole lot like Chinese White Cut Chicken or Singaporean Hainan Chicken which I make ALL the TIME. Yep, same dish, but served in a hipster space with people willing to wait in line and pay gobs of money to have. REALLY?
This is a down home comfort food usually made by grandma although you can get it at hole in the wall Asian restaurants or buy it at Chinese delis to take home (usually hanging in the windows by the neck, lol). But to become the star of a menu and served in a cool space in the middle of hipsterville? Who would have thought something as simple as poached chicken would become all the rage. Two places recently opened in the Bay Area, Rooster and Rice in San Francisco (my kid’s go to place) and Chicken n’ Rice in the East Bay. Chicken, white rice (ok, you can probably get brown rice) and a dipping sauce. It comes with a bit of broccoli or cucumbers and if you want, a bowl of chicken soup. BUT that’s all. Sheesh.
Why didn’t I think of that?
I did a bit of sleuthing (hello Google) and concluded that ground zero for poached chicken rising to rock star status might have been Portland at Nong’s Khao Man Gai Food Truck. Nong P. got her start as a line chef at the popular Thai restaurant Pok Pok. She left to literally go on the road with a food truck serving her chicken and rice. It was wildly popular and she was able to open a brick and mortar place of the same name. Rooster and Rice also serves the Thai version. It’s dipping sauce is bean based and is sweet, salty and spicy. Delicious. The dipping sauce for Hainan or Chinese white cut chicken is based on salt or soy sauce, includes ginger and scallions and is finished with oil. Yummmmmmm.
I am partial to the ginger scallion sauce which I have posted with my poached chicken recipe but I did want to try David Chang’s (Momofuku) Ginger Scallion Sauce. His recipe has made the rounds on Epicurious, Saveur, Bon Apetit’ website, your auntie’s blog, EVERYWHERE. All wax poetically about it. Its good on everything even slathered on your skin apparently. So, I made it and it’s good alright but is it Nirvana? Hm. It is ridiculously easy and extremely versatile. It is lovely on noodles, fish, your kids if they forget their sunblock (I’M KIDDING), on grilled tofu or mushrooms (yay for vegetarians) and of course CHICKEN. It’s the perfect pairing like Fred and Ginger (my fav). Similar to the sauce for Hainan Chicken or White Cut Chicken it starts with ginger, scallions, and salt and soy sauce but unlike mine, the oil is not heated and it includes a touch of vinegar. I leave it to you to pick which is your favorite. Definitely make the chicken (it’s incredibly delicious and easy) and try the different sauces. Love to know which is your favorite.
- 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)
- 1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons usukuchi (light soy sauce)
- 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl.
- Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed.
- Best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it's stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge.
- Use as directed, or apply as needed.