How to Make Thai Chicken Rice

Susan Jung wrote . . . . . . . . .

Thai chicken rice, or khao man gai, is similar to Hainan chicken rice in that it’s a one-dish meal: chicken, rice and a clear broth made from the bones of the bird. The big difference is in the accompanying dipping sauce. Hainan chicken rice is served with a trio of sauces: ginger, chilli and sweetened soy sauce. Khao man gai comes with only one, which is tangy and on the edge of being too spicy.

In Thailand, khao man gai shops display a row of cooked chickens on hooks, all ready to be taken down and cut into pieces. Like Hainan chicken rice, the chicken is served at room temperature, not hot.

The quality of the chicken is of the utmost importance. Use a fresh chicken, because frozen birds have flabby, tasteless meat. And don’t buy a large chicken, or it will take too long to cook.

This recipe uses a different technique to the one used at restaurants, where the birds are cooked whole. Here, the chicken is cut up and the carcass and bony parts are simmered to make a broth that is used to cook the rice. The thighs, breasts and wings are placed on top of the rice in the rice cooker to add flavour to the grains.

Thai yellow bean sauce, also called soybean paste, comes in bottles – some with a lot of solids and others with most of the fermented soybeans strained out; either is fine. Kecap manis, or Indonesian sweetened soy sauce, can be substituted for the Thai sweet soy sauce.


350 grams long-grain rice
70 grams glutinous rice
2 pandan leaves
fine sea salt, as necessary
1 fresh chicken, about 1.2kg
40 gram chunk of peeled ginger
60 grams spring onions
2 garlic cloves, peeled
250 grams daikon (Japanese white radish), peeled
250 grams carrot, peeled
2 Asian cucumbers, sliced
fresh coriander sprigs

Nam Jim Khao Man Gai Dipping Sauce:

20 grams palm sugar
30 gram chunk of peeled ginger
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
10 grams fresh coriander roots
15-20 grams red bird’s-eye chillies
70 grams yellow bean sauce
10 grams Thai sweet soy sauce or kecap manis
10 ml-15ml vinegar
5 ml fresh lime juice


  1. Put the long-grain and glutinous rice in a bowl and wash in several changes of water, until the water is almost clear. Drain through a fine-mesh colander shaking off as much water as possible. Leave to air-dry, occasionally stirring the rice, while preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Separate the chicken into parts. Pull out the lumps of fat from the cavity and put them in a small pan. Chop off the neck as close as possible to the body, then remove the legs (thigh and drumstick) and wings. Use kitchen shears to cut off the bone-in breasts in one piece. Cut off the tail and place in the pan with the fat. Cut off the wing tips.
  3. Make the broth. Put the bony pieces – neck (head discarded, if you like), carcass and wing tips – in a pan. Lightly crush the ginger with the side of a cleaver or a sturdy chef’s knife. Put the ginger, spring onions and garlic cloves in the pan and add 2.25 litres of water and 10 grams of salt. Bring to a boil over a high flame, partially cover the pan with the lid, then lower the flame and simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Render the chicken fat. Add about 30ml of water to the pan holding the fat and tail. Place the pan over a medium-low flame. When the water starts to simmer, lower the flame and cook until the fat liquefies. Remove the solids from the pan.
  5. Make the sauce. Roughly chop the palm sugar, ginger, garlic, coriander roots and chillies then put them in a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender). Chop the ingredients to a rough paste, then add the yellow bean sauce, sweet soy sauce, vinegar and lime juice. Blend to a rough purée then taste for seasonings and correct, if necessary. Add about 25ml of hot water (or some of the simmering chicken broth) to thin out the ingredients to a dipping sauce consistency.
  6. Pour 25 grams of the rendered chicken fat into a skillet and heat over a medium flame. Add the rice and 1½ tsp of salt. Stir constantly until the rice grains are coated with the fat, then transfer to a rice cooker. Cut the pandan leaves into 10cm lengths, tie them into a knot and add them to the rice. Add 520ml of the chicken broth to the rice cooker.
  7. Place the whole chicken legs, the whole bone-in breast and the wings into the rice cooker, on top of the rice. Turn it on and let the ingredients steam until done.
  8. Cut the daikon and carrot into two-bite chunks and add them to the remaining chicken broth. Simmer until tender.
  9. When the rice and chicken are done, remove the chicken from the cooker, then close the lid so the rice stays hot. Allow the chicken to cool for about 10 minutes. Separate the breast meat from the bone and slice against the grain. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, then remove the bones and slice the meat. Separate the drumette from the middle joint of the wing.
  10. Put some of the rice in a rice bowl, packing it in gently. Invert a dinner plate over the rice bowl then hold the two tightly together and flip them over. Lift off the rice bowl so there’s a mound of rice on the plate. Repeat with another three plates.
  11. Divide the chicken and sliced cucumber between the plates.
  12. Taste the chicken soup and add salt, if necessary. Stir several fresh coriander sprigs into the soup before ladling it into the bowls and serving with the chicken and rice.

Source: SCMP

Chicken Parmigiana with Spaghetti


2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
1 bottle (660 mL) strained tomatoes (passata)
half sweet red pepper, diced
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
450 g boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
350 g spaghetti
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil


  1. In saucepan, heat 1 tsp of the oil over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Add carrots, onion and Italian herb seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in strained tomatoes, red pepper and a pinch each of the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Place one chicken breast on cutting board. Holding knife blade parallel to board and starting at thickest long side, slice horizontally to make two thin cutlets. Repeat with remaining chicken. Sprinkle both sides with remaining salt and pepper.
  5. In large nonstick skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook chicken, turning once, until golden, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Spoon 2 tbsp of the tomato sauce over each chicken cutlet, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until Parmesan is melted and chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes.
  7. While chicken is baking, in saucepan of boiling lightly salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and toss with remaining tomato sauce to coat.
  8. Stir in basil. Serve with chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Complete Chicken Cookbook

Coronavirus Brings No-contact Food Delivery to United States

Hilary Russ wrote . . . . . . . . .

Leaving bags of food on doorsteps or texting your delivery driver a picture of where you want your meal dropped off – these are new methods for U.S. consumers to get their orders as the coronavirus spreads.

The virus led McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N), Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) and other companies in China, where the outbreak originated, to broaden their use of contactless delivery last month as consumers were stuck at home, often in locked-off apartment complexes.

Now, that concept is growing in other parts of the globe along with the illness.

On Friday, San Francisco-based Postmates introduced no-contact delivery options in its app in all of the 4,200 U.S. cities in which it operates.

“We think it is a way to make both customers and the fleet comfortable while making and receiving deliveries,” the company said in a statement.

Postmates users got an email notifying them of the new service called Dropoff Options. Three choices pop up when a customer places an order – delivery to the door, leave it at the door, or meet the customer outside – for “whether you’re feeling under the weather or are working from home in your pjs,” the email said.

Customers have also long been able to leave similar digital notes for delivery people via delivery platforms Grubhub Inc (GRUB.N) and Uber Technologies Inc’s (UBER.N) Uber Eats, which operates in 45 countries, when placing an order.

DoorDash is also testing enhanced drop-off options for contactless delivery to be rolled out shortly and is reminding consumers that they can leave instructions for drivers in the app, which can include a photo of the spot where food should be placed.

The COVID-19 virus has infected more than 111,600 and killed more than 4,000 people globally, largely in China, according to a Reuters tally.

In the United States, more than 700 people have been infected and 27 people have died. Last week, new cases spread quickly from just a couple states to a majority of states.

As more people consider staying home to limit exposure, restaurant traffic could take a hit.

Technomic Inc, a consulting and research firm, found that more than 30% of U.S. consumers said they plan to not leave the house or go to restaurants as often, though only 13% of those people said they will order more delivery. The report surveyed 1,000 consumers from Feb. 28 to March 2.

“The reduced foodservice visit incidence could be a boon for the grocery business, as almost half of these consumers say they will stockpile grocery foods and beverages as a substitute for away-from-home meals,” the firm said.

In Europe, German supermarket chain REWE said that a significant increase in demand has led to longer online delivery times since it has limited delivery slots and drivers are already fully loaded.

British online supermarket Ocado has advised customers to place orders further in advance because of “exceptionally high demand,” indicating a possible reaction from shoppers to the spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Dutch online grocer Picnic BV has been getting more and larger orders and is “at about 20% beyond capacity,” Chief Executive Michiel Muller told broadcaster RTL.

Faceless Delivery

U.S. delivery companies contacted by Reuters will not say whether they are yet seeing any increase in demand.

But one driver for DoorDash Inc in the Washington, D.C. area said his shifts had gotten busier.

The driver, who did not want to be named, said his pay per delivery – which usually rises during busier times or bad weather – has also steadily gone up as coronavirus cases grew.

His average pay per order rose from about $3.20 in mid-February to $4.72 during the last week of the month, though it was $4.37 during the first week of March, according to screenshots of his driving stats.

People are scared to go to restaurants, he said.

“So they’re paying $15 to $20 delivery fees for a small fry and an ice cream scoop,” he said.

Source: Reuters

‘Healthy’ Plant Based Meals in U.K. Restaurants Drowning in Salt

New research by Action on Salt (based at Queen Mary University of London and Bart’s Hospital) have exposed the shocking reality of many ‘healthy’ sounding plant based and vegan meals[1] being served at UK restaurants, fast food and coffee chains.

To mark Salt Awareness Week (9th-15th March 2020), the group of experts are urging the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock to implement more robust salt reduction targets – with proper enforcement – in order to create a fair and level playing field across both the retail AND eating out sectors.

Data from a recent public opinion poll to accompany the survey highlights one of the main reasons why people consume plant-based food is that they are perceived to be healthier[2]. However, this survey (the largest of its kind) of 290 plant-based and vegan meals collected from a total of 45 restaurant, takeaway, fast food and coffee chains, reveals the shocking truth about their salt and saturated fat content, and the dismal lack of nutritional information available. If food or drinks are high in saturated fat, salt or sugar (HFSS), they are not classified as ‘healthy’[3].

Restaurant Plant Based and Vegan Meals

A staggering three out of five plant-based restaurant meals surveyed with nutrition information (96/151) contain 3g or more salt – that’s half of an adult’s maximum daily intake of salt. Worse still, 19 of these provide 6g or more salt – that’s an adult’s ENTIRE maximum daily limit in just one meal!

Examples of Salty Meals:

  • Papa John’s Vegan American Hot Medium Pizza, 9.28g salt – more salt than 7 McDonald’s Hamburgers
  • Loch Fyne Spiced Roasted Cauliflower & Squash Goan Curry 8.65g salt – saltier than 19 anchovies
  • Bella Italia Vegan Cheese Pizza 8.1g salt – saltier than 23 bags of ready salted crisps
  • Chiquitos Vegarrito 7.89g salt
  • Slug and Lettuce Louisiana Chick’n Vegan Meat-less Burger 7.6g salt

If these restaurant chains were to display colour-coded nutrition information on their menus like packaged food in supermarkets, more than four out of five (127/151) plant-based meals would have a red label for high salt content (i.e. >1.8g salt in a meal)[7].

Interestingly, the variation in salt content of similar meals served at different restaurants is surprising and shows that salt isn’t needed for flavour – with some restaurants offering tasty dishes that have seven times less salt than their competitors, clearly demonstrating that these meals can easily be made with much less salt.

Fast Food & Coffee Chains Plant Based and Vegan Meals

A whopping two thirds of plant-based meals (82/128) available in fast food and coffee chains would get a red label for being high in salt (>1.8g salt per portion) – along with nearly two in five (29/128) meals containing 3g or more salt i.e. half of an adult’s maximum daily intake of salt.

Examples of Salty meals:

  • Wasabi Pumpkin Katsu Curry Yakisoba 10.3g salt – saltier than 8 McDonald’s Hamburgers
  • Wasabi Veg Tanmen Soup 9.7g salt –saltier than 21 anchovy fillets
  • EAT 3 Bean, Smoked Chili and Tomato 5g salt – saltier than 14 bags of ready salted crisps
  • Abokado THIS Vegan Katsu Curry (with sauce) 4.6g salt
  • Cojean Vegetable Gyoza Miso Soup 4.3g salt

Saturated Fat in Plant Based and Vegan Meals

AND it’s not just salty food being served up by UK restaurants, fast food and coffee chains – over half of all restaurant meals surveyed would qualify for a red label (>6g/portion) for saturated fat, and more than one in five dishes provide more than half of an adult’s maximum daily intake for saturated fat[8]. One of the worst offenders is Harvester’s The Purist Burger (served with triple cooked chips), containing 54.2g saturated fat in a meal, nearly 3 times a woman’s maximum daily intake!

Salt Targets

Public Health England’s 2017 salt reduction targets include targets for the eating out sector and are intended to guide salt reduction in the meals we eat in restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets[9]. However, of all the meals surveyed, only half (56%) have a salt reduction target in place, and of those, only 53 (32%) have failed, despite the high levels of salt reported in many of these dishes. This clearly demonstrates that the targets not comprehensive, ambitious or fit for purpose. The Government announced their commitment to reducing salt in their Prevention Green Paper last year, and are currently negotiating new targets for the food industry to achieve by 2023. The Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock must now be brave and bring these out of home targets in line with the rest of the food industry, with clear consistent monitoring across the whole industry.

When asked if they would support government taking action to ensure that the out of home sector reduces salt levels in their dishes and is transparent about the nutritional content of their meals on menus, 73% of the public said yes2.

Source: Action on Salt

Read also:

Salt content of vegan and plant-based meals served in the out of home sector . . . . .

New Study Confirms Value of Family Meals

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) builds on years of previous research studies and demonstrates the value of family meals. This study showed that more frequent family meals were associated with better dietary outcomes and family functioning outcomes. While Americans celebrate the month of March as National Nutrition Month, these findings underscore the myriad benefits advanced by family meals advocates over the past few years and punctuate the official launch of the Family Meals Movement.

“This study employed a comprehensive approach to explore the direction and magnitude of the relationship between exposure to family meals and dietary and family functioning outcomes in children,” said lead study author, Shannon M. Robson, PhD, MPH, RD, an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition and a Principal Investigator of the Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory at the University of Delaware. “A systematic review as well as a meta-analysis, when statistically appropriate, of all relevant studies published in a peer reviewed journal in English prior to December 2018 was conducted.” A link to the study can be found here:

There are two notable findings to this study:

  1. Family meals improve fruit and vegetable consumption – overwhelmingly, studies showed a positive relationship between family meal frequency and fruit and vegetable intake when examined separately, but also when fruit and vegetable intake were combined.
  2. Family meals improve family functioning – nearly all the studies included in the systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated a positive relationship between family meal frequency and measures of family functioning. Family functioning is defined as family connectedness, communication, expressiveness, and problem-solving.

“There are thousands of individual studies that examine the impact of family meals on nutrition and family behavior, but this new meta-analyses looks at the relationship between family meal frequency and family functioning outcomes,” said David Fikes, executive director of the FMI Foundation, the organization that provided a research grant for this study. “It is particularly fitting that as we celebrate National Nutrition Month, we can confirm that family meals are a valuable contributor of improved nutrition and family functioning. This compelling evidence energizes us to expand our National Family Meals Month efforts to a year-long Family Meals Movement.”

For the past five years, the FMI Foundation has driven National Family Meals Month™ which has been observed each September. The campaign has encouraged Americans to strive for just one more family meal per week at home and energized more than 600 partners – food retailers, suppliers, collaborators, media and celebrities – to support the campaign. A Harris Poll national tracking study impressively substantiates that mealtime behaviors are changing because of this initiative with 36% of Americans who saw the campaign cooking more meals at home and eating together more often as a family.

“Even more impressive than the positive behavior changes we have seen over the past five years,” Fikes continued, “is that 89% of Americans believe it’s important for families to have as many family meals as possible each week, and 84% are willing to commit to doing so throughout the year. This kind of interest and commitment has motivated us to expand National Family Meals Month to the ongoing Family Meals Movement.”

The FMI Foundation encourages Americans to join the Family Meals Movement by pledging to share one more family breakfast, lunch or dinner at home per week using items from the grocery store. Shoppers can post pledge photos, mealtime pictures, favorite recipes, shopping tips or even a selfie wearing a favorite oven mitt with the hashtag #FamilyMealsMovement. In addition, the FMI Foundation has developed a website, with consumer tips and links to numerous partners committed to helping consumers achieve their increased family meals goal.

Source: EurekAlert!

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