Khao Man Gai
For this simple and deeply pleasing khao man gai, we cook a whole chicken in a bath of pungent garlic and spicy ginger. It yields a wonderfully tender, beautifully spiced chicken and a rich, hearty broth. We used the broth to make jasmine rice — the true heart of the dish. It’s so nutty and flavorsome, it set the test kitchen abuzz. (Confession: some of that was folks fighting over the crispy, golden grains at the bottom of the pot.) A bowl of this revelatory rice with the garlicky ginger chicken and a drizzle of ginger-chile sauce is so, well, gingery and warming, it’s almost impossible not to be comforted by it.
Khao man gai is absolutely the cure for everything, so it’s a good one to make when your new girlfriend or favorite child is down with a cold or a bad case of ennui. We also like it for fall entertaining. It’s flavorful enough to delight, and it has a cozy, welcoming vibe that’s conducive to laughter, good stories, and all the things that make for the best and warmest dinners with friends.
Tip: We love this dish for its marvelous economy. At a time when we’re all trying to find ways to waste less food, it feels great to use up a whole chicken. If you need help with trimming the skin off your chicken, talk to our butchers.
Servings: 4 to 6
For the chicken and broth:
4 quarts water
2 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 clove garlic
6 oz ginger, thinly sliced
1 whole chicken, excess skin trimmed and reserved
Cilantro, for garnish
Sambal oelek (chili sauce), for garnish
For the rice:
8 oz ginger, thinly sliced
½ cup shallots, diced small
¼ cup garlic, minced
2 cups jasmine rice
2 ¾ cups chicken broth (from the recipe)
For the ginger-chile sauce:
¼ cup ginger, minced
¼ cup garlic, minced
¼ cup green onion, finely chopped
2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp rice vinegar
¼ cup oil
Special equipment: cheesecloth
To make the chicken: In a large pot, combine the water, sea salt, sugar, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a boil.
Add the skinless chicken, return the water to a boil, and cook for 35 minutes. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165º. Remove the chicken from the pot and set it on a rimmed plate or platter to cool. Reserve the broth. Note: the chicken and broth can be made one day ahead.
To make the rice: Using a square of cheesecloth measuring 8 x 8 inches, make a sachet for the ginger.
Heat a nonstick pot over medium heat and add the reserved chicken skin. Cook until the skin is crispy and all the fat is rendered out, about 10 minutes. Remove and reserve the chicken skin, leaving the fat in the pot.
Add the shallots and garlic to the pot and stir frequently until the aromatics are golden brown, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Add the jasmine rice and stir until evenly coated. Let the rice toast on the bottom of the pan for 2 minutes.
Increase the heat to high, add the chicken stock and the sachet to the pot, and stir the rice constantly until it comes to a boil.
Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, remove the sachet, and let the rice stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, and set it aside.
To make the ginger-chile sauce: in a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
Remove the chicken meat from the bones and slice it.
Finely chop the crispy chicken skin.
To serve, put the rice in serving bowls and top it with chicken slices, bits of crispy chicken skin, a drizzle of ginger-chile sauce, cilantro, and sambal.
Recipe adapted from: Nong's Khao Man Gai