Chef Nuit shared this delicious recipe for Khao Mun Gai. September was National Rice Month so, to celebrate, this dish that includes succulent chicken and flavourful rice with a refreshing dipping sauce and unique melon soup!
Khao Mun Gai
– 6 1⁄4 cups water, divided
– 1 tablespoon + 1 1⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
– 15 unpeeled Thai garlic cloves (or 5 unpeeled regular garlic cloves), lightly bruised
– 3 cilantro roots with 3-inch stems or 15 cilantro stems
– 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 lb/450 g total)
– 1⁄4 cup sunflower oil
– 1⁄4 cup minced unpeeled Thai garlic or peeled regular garlic
– 1⁄4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
– 2 cups Thai Hom Mali Rice, rinsed and drained just before cooking
– 2 mini cucumbers, sliced, for serving
– 1⁄2 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems, for garnish
– 2 tablespoons soybean paste
– 3 tablespoons white vinegar
– 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
– 1 tablespoon minced unpeeled Thai garlic or peeled regular garlic
– 2 fresh green bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
– 1 fresh red bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
– 1⁄2 cup reserved chicken broth
– 1⁄2 cup water
– 10 bite-size cubes winter melon
– 9 white peppercorns, lightly bruised
1. To make the chicken rice: In a large pot, combine 6 cups of the water, the salt, garlic, and cilantro roots and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium, add the chicken, cover, and boil for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken, cover, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. If you have a probe thermometer, the internal temperature should be about 165°F. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Set aside the chicken broth. (You will need to reserve 1⁄2 cup of the broth for the melon soup.)
2. Once the chicken has rested, remove and discard the bones and cut the meat into bite-size cubes. Set aside and keep warm.
3. In a medium wok or skillet, heat the sunflower oil over medium heat. After about 20 seconds, stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the Thai Hom Mali Rice and 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth and, cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan regularly to avoid burning the rice. Add another 1 cup chicken broth and stir for another 3 minutes.
4. Transfer the partially cooked rice to a medium rice cooker. Add 2 1⁄2 cups chicken broth and the remaining 1⁄4 cup water. Cook the rice according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This should take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your rice cooker. Once the rice has finished cooking, use a spatula to stir and fluff the rice, then let it rest for another 10 minutes in the rice cooker on the “keep warm” setting. (Alternatively, you can continue to cook the rice on the stovetop. Transfer the partially cooked rice to a medium pot. Add 2 1⁄2 cups chicken broth and the remaining 1⁄4 cup water. Stir well. Increase the heat to high and boil until the liquid has evaporated enough to sit at the same level as the rice, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes. To determine if the rice is fully cooked, pull out a grain and break it with your finger. It should feel soft all the way through. Use a spatula to stir and fluff the rice, then remove from the heat. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.)
5. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: Using a stone mortar and pestle, grind the soybean paste to a smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in the white vinegar, sweet soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and green and red chillies. Set aside.
6. To make the melon soup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the reserved chicken broth and water in to a boil. When the broth is boiling, add the winter melon and white peppercorns. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. The winter melon will turn almost transparent so that there is no white part visible in the middle.
7. To serve, place 1 cup of Thai Hom Mali Rice on each plate. Arrange the chicken cubes on top of the rice. Arrange the sliced cucumbers on the side of each plate. Garnish each plate with 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro and drizzle with half the dipping sauce (or serve on the side in small dipping bowls). Divide the winter melon soup between 2 small bowls, with 5 pieces of melon in each bowl, and serve on the side. The soup will cleanse the palate.