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?