When my dad visited 8 months ago, he brought me a book, “the secrets that chef won’t tell”. I didn’t read it until he went home and found some really good tips in cooking. One great tip that I got from the book is how to boil a whole chicken. I used to just boil the heck out of it, you know, until the outside falls apart and the inside is cooked. I ended up with chicken that is perfectly cooked inside but fallen apart on the outside. This was an eye opening tip because I make Chicken Rice or Kao Man Kai all the time. It is my most favorite dish in the whole world and I am making the people of Austin falling in love with it as well.
So here’s the trick. Wash you chicken(s) and place in a big enough pot. I get my whole chickens from Dewberry Hills Farm because they have the best pastured chickens you can find. Terry and Jane raise their chickens with love. They deliver all over town to restaurants and they are also at Sunset Valley Farmers’ Market too. Fill up your pot with water just to cover the chicken. Add fresh herbs, in my case bruised ginger, smashed garlic and a bunch of cilantro. You can also add green onions, onions, celery or some cabbage to it. Add 2 tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of fish sauce or soy sauce or you can just use salt. Bring the water to a boil and then turn it down to simmer. Put the lid on and set a timer for 20 minutes ( a few more minutes if you are boiling more than one chicken) and when the time is up, it’s done.
When I did it the first time, I couldn’t believe how tender and moist the chicken was. The breast meat was not dry. The inside was completely cooked to the bones but the outside was in a perfect shape. There was no blood next to the bones, perfect. Let sit, the best way is to let it drip in a colander over a big pot and cool it down completely before handling it. You can use the meat to make Chicken Rice (the recipe will be posted soon, stay tuned) or casserole, salad or whatever you wish. Save the homemade stock for future use. My dad likes to freeze the stock in ice cube trays and save those cubes to put in stir fried dishes. If you plan to use it for a big dish, you can freeze it in a jar and make sure you don’t fill it up all the way.