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About hainanchicken

  1. Silky Smooth Chicken Breast

    Whenever I go to Chinese restaurants to eat soy sauce chicken, the breast meat is always silky smooth and very, very soft. (In case you are unfamiliar, cantonese soy sauce chicken is basically gently poached by boiling soy sauce mixture, putting in chicken, shutting off heat, taking chicken out, boiling it again, shutting off meat, putting chicken back in, etc. So it is akin to using sous vide to cook it.) When I sous vide at even temperatures as low as 140F, however, the texture is just not right. It's not silky smooth like the ones I have in restaurants. What am I missing? Is there some special prep step they are using?
  2. Flavored brines: What's the point?

    I actually want to poach them afterwards (in sous vide bags), as I'm testing hainan chicken, but yes. I'm wondering if anybody has any explanations for the science that's going on, though, especially if I'm not roasting. I'm curious if any complex oil molecules can actually permeate from inside to outside or vice versa.
  3. Perfecting Sous Vide Hainan Chicken Rice

    Since purchasing Modernist Cuisine at Home, I've been trying really hard to apply sous vide and other techniques to making a good Hainan Chicken Rice (aka Khao Mun Gai) recipe for weeks, but I haven't gotten the success I was expecting. I'm wondering if you all would have any tips. Traditionally, the chicken is gently poached in a water bath with a few aromatics, like ginger, garlic, pandan leaf. After the chicken is cooked, the water (now broth) is used to make chicken-flavored rice, along with some rendered chicken fat. I've been trying many techniques to get the chicken to have enough chicken flavor, but I haven't yet gotten it right. Here's some of what I've tried: Seal a whole chicken with water and aromatics in a bag and sous vide at 165F for 90 minutes. The texture wasn't great for the chicken breast but the flavor was not bad. Not super strong, but passable. The broth wasn't too strong either. I wanted to get more chicken flavor, so I tried doing the same thing in a chicken broth instead. Not really any flavor change. Then, I wanted to cook just the breast to get the texture better. I sous vide just the breast in a bag with water at 149F for 1 hour. Chicken was tender, but it had almost no chicken flavor. Since there was no flavor, I tried rubbing salt on the breast (no water) for long enough for equilibrium brining, as you say it helps retain moisture (and ostensibly "chicken flavor"). I then sous vide at 149F for 1 hour. I purposely didn't put any water in the bag because I didn't want the chicken breast to draw in pure tap water and dilute the chicken taste. Is this science right? Anyways, the chicken had no flavor again. What gives? I assumed that brining the chicken in broth with salt would bring in chicken flavors from the stock, but it doesn't seem like that did anything. At the same time, I'm worried that brining the chicken breast and then putting it in tap water would just draw in all the water and dilute the chicken taste. How can I increase the chicken taste? Any tips?
  4. Flavored brines: What's the point?

    I'm curious if anybody has a better answer now, 7 years later. If you brine chicken in chicken broth + salt, would the flavor from the chicken broth get inside the chicken (you can replace chicken broth with milk, cider, etc.)? If so, how does that work? I thought the complex oil molecules are too large to permeate?