Chicken Rice is a conventional combination according to culinary traditions the world over. Chicken rice may be classified as any dish or food preparation that principally consists of these two main ingredients. This irresistible union of cereal grain and poultry is not only prepared in numerous ways across the globe but forms an invaluable part of any cuisine.
This pairing is acknowledged in benchmark recipes like Chinese Chicken Fried Rice and Indian Chicken Biryani, which are famous worldwide today (each of these have several variations too). These apart, there are scores of other interesting variants too - Chicken Pilaf, Chicken Rice Casserole, Chicken and Rice Bake and Hainanese Chicken rice and all such rice and chicken based creations that have tickled the taste buds and managed to slowly create a niche for themselves in the gourmet world.
Detailed below are some chicken rice dishes:
- Chicken Pilaf
This particular chicken and rice recipe is a flavorful pilaf made using chicken, rice, pecans, tomatoes, and seasonings. This is an easy one-pot meal to make and cooking may be done in a saucepan or a saute pan. It is a a well-accepted main dish that can be served with any gravy of choice by the side.
The Chicken Pilaf is a delicious and versatile inclusion in casual and formal dinners.
Boiled chicken, cut into cubes, long grain rice, butter, finely chopped onion, chopped pecans, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, ground black pepper, ground coriander and salt.
After melting butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, onions are fried and chicken is added and cooked. Next, the pecans are added and cooked for some time longer. The mixture is seasoned with addition of salt, pepper, and coriander. Then cleaned rice is added and stirred along with the tomatoes. The chicken broth is then added and brought to a boil. The pan is covered, heat reduced to low, and simmered for a while or until rice is cooked and tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. After removing from heat the pilaf is allowed to stand for 5 minutes before serving hot.
A serving of ~250 g would supply: 318 calories, 8 g fat (with 1.4 g saturated fat), 146 mg cholesterol, 53 g carbohydrates, 1.2 g fibre, 8.1 g protein and 77 mg sodium.
Crunchy nutritious walnut bits would prove to be a healthy addition supplying proteins, Vitamin E, healthy fats and plenty of minerals. Use of brown rice instead of highly polished white rice would enhance the nutritional value of the dish.
- Chicken Rice Casserole
The chicken rice casserole is a highly flavor-laden main dish that's quite easy to prepare and bake. When this casserole is served with fresh sliced tomatoes or a tossed salad, it makes for an extremely satisfying meal.
Regular white long-grain cooked rice, butter, all-purpose flour, dried leaf thyme, chicken broth, milk, diced cooked chicken, frozen/ fresh peas and carrots ( cooked just until tender), fine bread crumbs, shredded Cheddar cheese, ground black pepper and salt to taste.
The butter is melted in a medium saucepan, and the flour and thyme are added and stirred. Gradually, the chicken broth and milk are stirred in, cooking and stirring constantly until smooth and thick. After seasoning with the pepper and salt, as needed, the chicken is stirred in and set aside.
Cooked rice is spread in the greased baking dish, then sprinkled with the cooked peas and carrots. Then the chicken mixture is spooned over the vegetable layer. Shredded cheese is sprinkled over the chicken layer. Bread crumbs that have been tossed in melted butter, are finally sprinkled over the cheese.
The Chicken Rice casserole is baked in preheated oven until hot and bubbly and slightly browned on top as the cheese is gratinated.
- Chicken and Rice Bake
The Chicken and Rice Bake is prepared in a similar manner, by combining canned mushroom soup, water, and onion soup mix; pouring over the cooked rice and mixing well to blend. Chicken is then placed in the rice mixture and sprinkled with salt, paprika and pepper.
This is covered tightly with foil and baked until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through. The chicken must ideally record an internal temperature of about 175°F on the thermometer.
A serving of ~300 g would supply: 577 calories with 124 calories coming from fat; 13.8 g fat (with 3.4 g saturated fat and 10 g polyunsaturated fat), 186 mg cholesterol, 92 g carbohydrates, 3.7 g fibre, 19.5 g protein and 577 mg sodium.
Use of brown rice or wild rice in place of the highly polished white rice would increase the health quotient of the dish. Crunchy nutritious pinenuts would prove to be a healthy addition supplying proteins, Vitamin E, healthy fats and plenty of minerals. High sodium content could be curbed by preparing the soups from scratch to use in the baked dish rather than making use of canned or packet soups. Fat content may be reduced by using low-fat, low-salt, cheese and butter.
- Hainanese Chicken Rice
Although believed to be of Chinese origin, the Hainanese Chicken Rice is a classic Singaporean dish consisting of very carefully poached chicken infused with aromatic ginger served along with rice cooked in flavour-rich chicken stock. It was the overseas Chinese immigrants who brought this dish from Hainan, China and popularised it in Singapore.
The Hainanese Chicken calls for an elaborate process of poaching the whole chicken stuffed with plenty of ginger and scallions after rubbing it with salt and pepper. The poaching liquid is used to cook the rice in and also in the preparation of the special red chilli sauce. Sprinklings of sesame oil are used time and again both for the rice as well as just before carving the prepared chicken.
The chicken rice is served with red chili sauce, dark soy sauce, fresh cucumber slices, and a bowl of hot chicken broth garnished with plenty of cilantro or scallions.
A serving of ~170 g would supply: 333 calories with 218 calories coming from fat; 24.2 g fat (with 5.8 g saturated fat and 9 g polyunsaturated fat), 86 mg cholesterol; 57 g carbohydrates, 3.7 g fibre and 4.4 g of sugar; 22.5 g protein and 1334 mg sodium.
Use of brown rice of fragrant Jasmine rice instead of the usual polished white rice would not only enhance the nutritional value of the dish by adding B-vitamins, minerals and fiber, but also offer a distinctly different flavour. Addition of mixed greens such as spinach and bok choy leaves would increase Vitamin A, K, folic acid; minerals like iron and calcium as well as provide supplementary fiber.