Riso con pollo all'hainanese ubriaco

Riso con pollo all'hainanese ubriaco

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Experience the difference sake makes to a meal with winner Natasha Cohen's savoury dish, where sake is used to add depth of flavour to all elements.


ingredients for pickles:
1/3 cucumber, sliced into discs
100g radishes, sliced into discs
1 tbsp sake (taken from a 300ml bottle of gensen sozai)
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp white rice vinegar
2 tsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp gochugaru (or any other chilli powder – i just like the smokiness of gochugaru)

ingredients for chicken and broth:
2 chicken breasts, skin on (preferably with bones)
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
roughly 3cm cube chunk of ginger, sliced
1 spring onion, cut in half and split lengthways
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the flat of a knife
3 pandan leaves, tied together in a knot
300ml sake (reserve/ set aside 3tbsp for the pickles and chilli sauce before using the rest)
enough freshly-boiled water to cover the chicken breasts in a saucepan (you won't use all of it)

ingredients for rice:
150g white rice (i used basmati)
300ml chicken cooking broth

ingredients for sweet chilli sauce:
2 large red chillies, de-seeded (or not, if you're brave)
1 small clove garlic, peeled
roughly 2cm cube ginger, sliced
2 tbsp sake (taken from a 300ml bottle of gensen sozai)
1 tbsp white rice vinegar
2 tsp caster sugar
pinch of salt

to serve (optional):
banana leaves, cut to size


  1. Mix the liquids, salt, sugar and chilli powder together in a bowl (or a sealable food bag), stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the cucumber and radish slices, cover (or seal) and pop in the fridge for two hours, remember to stir a couple of times to make sure everything gets an even coating.
  2. Rinse the chicken breasts in cold water and 'exfoliate' the skin by rubbing it with the coarse sea salt. Place the chicken skin-side down in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the ginger, garlic, spring onion and pandan leaves, and pour enough hot water to come up to an inch below the top of the chicken. Pour in all of the sake (remember to leave a little for your chilli sauce later), and simmer on a low heat for an hour. Switch the heat off and let stand for half an hour.
  3. To make the chilli sauce, blitz everything together with a hand blender.
  4. Rinse the rice with cold water three times, swirling it around in a small saucepan and draining each time. Measure out 300ml of your freshly-made chicken broth, add it to the pan and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the rice up with a spoon or fork, cover and let it sit for a further five minutes.
  5. When you're ready to serve, bring the chicken to a simmer in the remaining broth for five minutes. Remove the chicken, de-bone and slice, and arrange on a plate with the rice, pickles and dipping sauce. If you like, the broth can be served as a starter soup. Enjoy and have fun.