UK’s The Guardian scandalises Hainanese chicken rice recipe with chicken fillets & honey lime chilli sauce

Which part of this is Hainanese?

Tanya Ong | October 8, 2018 @ 06:07 pm

On Oct. 3, The Guardian published a “Waitrose & Partners’ Beautifully Simple” recipe for Hainanese chicken rice.

In other words, the paid content tie up between The Guardian and Waitrose butchered Hainanese chicken rice.

Hainanese chicken rice

This is the Hainanese chicken rice that most Singaporeans are familiar with.

Photo by Terence Ong, via Wikipedia.

It consists of chicken, fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth and fat, and a chilli sauce that can be accompanied by ginger and/ or dark sauce.

The Waitrose & Partners version of Hainanese chicken rice, however, looks nothing remotely like chicken rice:

Photo via Edward C. Yong’s Facebook post.

Ingredients in the dish

According to the ingredients’ list, this is what is required in the recipe:

  • Salad onions (spring onions)
  • Red chilli
  • Grated zest and juice of lime
  • Honey
  • Chicken breast fillets
  • Jasmine rice
  • Hainanese paste

If you were wondering, the lime and honey goes into a sauce that is drizzled on top of the chicken and rice.

How it’s prepared

The recipe was featured in a podcast, and cooked by Lisa Faulkner, a celebrity chef who won Masterchef Celebrity in 2010, and the editor of Waitrose & Partners Food magazine, William Sitwell.

This is how it is prepared:

“Combine 1 tbsp of the green salad onions in a small bowl with the chilli, lime zest, juice and honey, then set aside.

Place about one third of the remaining salad onions in a medium saucepan, thinly slice the chicken breast and add to the pan. Pour over 350ml water and season with a little salt. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and there is no pink meat.

Remove the chicken from the pan, keep warm and set aside. Stir the rice into the pan of chicken cooking liquid. Cover and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. Add a dash of water if the rice is still firm and cook a little longer.

Stir the remaining onions and rice paste into the rice and heat gently, stirring for a couple of minutes to heat through. Pile on to serving plates and top with the chicken fillets. Serve drizzled with the reserved chilli and lime sauce.”

Angry reactions

This recipe has drawn flak for being an inaccurate portrayal of chicken rice, let alone Hainanese chicken rice.

Responses on The Guardian article questioned both the choice of ingredients and preparation method:

Coincidentally, and not even ironically, Faulkner’s partner is John Torode, one of the Masterchef UK judges who was previously part of the “crispy rendang” controversy:

Masterchef UK judge says rendang should be crispy. M’sians, S’poreans & Indonesians triggered

Top photo composite image from Edward Yong’s Facebook post & @lisafaulknercooks Instagram


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