Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chicken Long Rice

No luau would be complete without several offerings of carbs.  Rice and macaroni salad usually round out the plate lunch found around the island.  To add a  little variety to our starchy friends, we included chicken long rice.

The concept is simple...Mi-fen noodles softened and cut into short lengths and simmered in a ginger and garlic studded chicken broth. 

adapted from a recipe at Aloha Friends Luau

serve 10-12

The Ingredients:
2-3 chicken thighs, with skin and bones 
6 cups water
2 tsp chicken bouillon
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt, sea salt, or Kosher salt
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed 
6 bundles rice vermicelli or mi-fen (2-6 oz packages)
The Process:
Place chicken thighs in large saucepan with water and bouillon. Add crushed ginger, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil and then cover, simmering for 45 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the stock and allow to cool.  Remove the skin and bones.  Shred the chicken meat and set aside. Reserve broth. 

Meanwhile soak the rice noodles in hot water for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Cut noodles in 4 inch lengths, and add to reserved broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add shredded chicken and continue to simmer until chicken is heated through. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, or soy sauce.  

Serve warm or refrigerate for a cold noodle salad.

The Review:
Of all of the sides offered at the luau this came second only to the macaroni salad (which was store bought--I had enough cooking on my plate!).  An odd douse of suspicion kept many guests from trying it until they learned it was simply a chicken noodle dish. 

A rich chicken flavor shone through the simple noodles with the garlic and ginger adding a lovely balance.  Most of the recipes I found included mushrooms as well, which I sadly omitted to give the dish a greater appeal.  For those not afraid of fungus, I imagine the 'shrooms would add a wonderful, earthy depth.  

Unlike many of the fast food varieties and plate lunch offerings I had sampled on the islands, this version maintained a bit of firmness to the noodles instead of disintegrating into a vaguely chicken flavored  mush.   The noodles take no time at all to cook...overcooking is such a shame...

With all of the other side offerings at our luau a little of this dish went a long, long way.  I would highly recommend halving the amount unless this is served for a crowd or as the main course.  I'll be eating chicken long rice at lunch for several days.  So far, it holds up very well as a leftover! 

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