Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Khao Mun Gai

Lao Khao Mun Gai is much like Singapore Chicken Rice or Taiwanese Chicken and Rice.
 I can't tell you how many times I've made this and just not gotten a post written up, but I think "I should post this" each time. It's simple, but I wanted to post it because as a child this was one of my favorite "comfort" foods that my mom made. It's just... I don't know I feel it's involved. There are different steps and what not. But it doesn't get any more simple than chicken and rice. There aren't any exotic ingredients in this at all. It's like a good poached chicken I guess.
Khao means "rice", mun means "grease/fat", gai means chicken. The rice in this dish is toasted in chicken fat renderings with ginger and garlic. It's fragrant and so yummy. There are a few ways you can do this. My mom used the stove, which I do most often. There is the slow cooker, which I did a post on here, I never make it in the slow cooker anymore, It just isn't as good. Sadly, I noticed in that post that I said I was going to blog this. In 2011. Hmm. Another method is the pressure cooker. I wasn't sure how to cook the chicken without it drying out or cooking too fast I guess? But this worked perfectly.

Stove top poached Khao Mun Gai
A note about cooling the chicken. My mom never used an ice bath to cool her chicken. I like the ice bath method because it helps all the chicken juices gel up around the meat making it more juicy. But it is a step that I will skip at times if I don't want to wash yet another bowl. The skin seems to have a different texture also when put in an ice bath, it's hard to explain but it has a more toothy bite. My mom puts the chicken in the refrigerator which I think works wonderfully and is a good in between of the two methods, Lao/Thai and Singapore Chicken and Rice dishes. Lao and Thai recipes seem to just call for the chicken to be set aside to cool, which is what my mom does in the refrigerator. Singapore Chicken Rice recipes call for a ice bath.  The picture above this paragraph is a chicken that was cooked on the stove top and given and ice bath, it's also the same chicken that is at the top of this post. This picture below is a pressure cooker chicken that was cooled in the refrigerator.
Pressure cooker Khao Mun Gai.
There is a noticeable difference in color in the chickens. I think that is because the pressure cooker offers a controlled wet environment, The stove top chicken would often float to the top, and I think some of that coloring is from being out of the broth. It's not a big deal, it's just that if you make this in the pressure cooker (I use an Instant Pot Duo), just know that the chicken will look a little pale. It's not supposed to be browned in any way though, so that's fine.

Chicken nestled in the pot on the trivet.
This doesn't take less time to cook in the Instant Pot. It's actually about the same amount of time. But it works and once you set it, you don't have to worry about it boiling over or running out of water or anything.

Time for the chicken to cook!

I used the trivet that came with my Instant Pot, it was so easy to lift the chicken in and out of the pot. I set the cook time for a three pound chicken at ten minutes... yes. TEN. But that doesn't mean your chicken will be cooked in ten. I added a wait time for 40 minutes for the chicken to continue gently cooking in the pressurized pot. I does naturally release pressure at the same time. I found that this was the perfect amount of time for my chicken.

This little chicken is ready for the refrigerator.
Even though there is no browning, the chicken is no longer pink. The juices run clean with no pink, no tinge of pink. Because I wanted this to be an Instant Pot recipe, I also made the rice in the Instant Pot. I would have also made the soup in the Instant Pot, but at that point I would have had to transfer yet one more thing out of the pot into another vessel just so I could use it. If you have two Instant Pot's, this recipe is for you.
The rice is fragrant from toasting with ginger and garlic.
I use Jasmine rice, it's what I grew up with, it cooks up perfectly in 4 minutes cooking time! While the rice was cooking I threw the soup together on the stove. Using the reserved broth for both the rice and the soup.
Just four minutes cooking time on the rice!
While I was waiting for the chicken it gave me time to wash the watercress. My kids LOVE watercress soup. So you can see I have two large bundles here. Peeled daikon radish can also be used, it has a great slightly sweet flavor which we like.
That's a lot of watercress, but it shrinks much like spinach. Which can be used also.
By the way, when I say wash. I mean wash and pick over, this dude was hanging out in my watercress y'all! At least it's maybe pesticide free? Who knows. He was a goner though. Thank goodness. I am not sure how I would have rescued him.
This soup is simple. Very simple. But it is so good. I did add tofu but that isn't what I grew up with. So I photographed a bowl without tofu. If you add it, we like soft. Just cubed and tossed in.
Watercress soup.
There are several sauce recipes below, all are easy to make. Pick your favorite. My mom makes a ginger soy one, I'll have to ask her about it next time she visits. My favorite is the Nam Pla one. Adjust the heat to your preference on all of these. 
This is a long post. If you made it this far I hope you'll try this Lao dish!

Khao Mun Gai

Pressure Cooker instructions, for a Instant Pot Duo


3 pound chicken
1 small onion
1 stalk spring onion
2 inch piece of ginger
  1. Remove neck and organs. Discard or save for another use.
  2. Trim fat and skin that may be hanging at either end of the chicken, set aside.
  3. Salt the chicken liberally and rub the skin with your hands to exfoliate it.
  4. Rinse the chicken, and stuff it with onion, ginger, and spring onion.
  5. Place it onto the trivet in the pressure cooker.
  6. Add water to cover, not above the max cooking line.
  7. Cook on MANUAL, HIGH, for 10 minutes.
  8. When the cooking time is up, let the chicken sit in the pot to naturally release pressure and finish cooking for 40 minutes.
  9. Once the chicken is done, skim off the top of the broth to remove any stuff that's risen to the top that will make your soup cloudy.
  10. Ladle out as much broth as you can so you can touch the handles of the trivet. Do not discard the broth you need it for the rice and soup.
  11.  Lift the chicken out of the pot using the trivet.
  12. Discard aromatics.
  13. Place chicken on a platter and let it cool in the refrigerator OR give it an ice bath by dunking it in ice water for 10 minutes or so.
Stove Top Method:
  1. Remove neck and organs. Discard or save for another use.
  2. Trim fat and skin that may be hanging at either end of the chicken, set aside.
  3. Salt the chicken liberally and rub the skin with your hands to exfoliate it.
  4. Rinse the chicken, and stuff it with onion, ginger, and spring onion.
  5. Place chicken in a pot or dutch oven.
  6. Cover with water, about one inch over the chicken.
  7. Turn the heat on and bring this to a boil.
  8. Skim off any chicken stuff that rises to the top.
  9. Cover the pot,turn off the heat of the stove.
  10. Let the chicken finish cooking for 40 minutes.
  11. Remove chicken and skim off the top of the broth again.
  12. Discard aromatics.
  13. Cool chicken in the refrigerator or in an ice bath.


Chicken fat reserved from chicken
Olive oil or schmaltz
3 cloves garlic minced, or 2 tablespoons fried garlic
3 slices of ginger
2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups reserved broth

  1. Turn the pressure cooker on to saute mode.
  2. Add chicken fat and let it render, add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil or schmaltz if needed.
  3. Once chicken fat is browned like a pork cracklin', take it out and discard (it's good though, just saying).
  4. Add ginger and garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  5. Add rice and cook for about a minutes, stirring.
  6. Add water, turn off saute mode.
  7. Add reserved broth and stir well, scraping bottom of the pot so nothing is stuck on it.
  8. Close the lid and press manual, high pressure, four minutes. 
  9. Once the four minutes are up let the rice sit for 10 minutes before opening the lid.
Rice Cooker Method: Rice can also be toasted on the stove top and cooked in a rice cooker. Add about 1/2 more cup of broth to the rice cooker. Cook as directed for your rice cooker.


Remaining chicken broth
2 bunches of Watercress or five inch piece of daikon radish peeled and sliced into rings/ circles
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Add chicken broth to the liner along with remaining ingredients.
  2. Set the pressure cooker to manual, high pressure for 10 minutes.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stove Top Method: This can also be done on the stove top if you don't want to wait for the rice to finish cooking.
  1. Bring ingredients to a boil and turn down to a simmer until vegetables are tender.


Jalapeno Sauce-

Sliced jalapeno
3-4 tablespoons Soy sauce, or coconut amnios
  1. Slice jalapeno thinly, place in a small dipping bowl
  2. Add soy sauce to cover.

Nam Pla Sauce-

4 cloves garlic
2-5 Thai Bird chilies
3-5 Kaffir leaves, use zest from the lime if not available
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons sugar
Juice from one to two limes, to taste
Nam pla- fish sauce, to taste
*start with the lesser amount of ingredients that are "to taste" you can always add more
  1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender.
  1. Crush the garlic, chilies and sliced kaffir leaves with a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add the salt and sugar, and pound until ground.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients to taste
Red Chile Sauce-
1 inch piece of peeled ginger
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 cloves garlic
3-4 tablespoons garlic chili sauce, or sriracha
1-2 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
1-2 teaspoons sugar, to taste
salt, to taste
*start with the lesser amount of ingredients that are "to taste" you can always add more

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender. 

That's it! I kinda want to bust out some Montell Jordan and see "This Is How We Do It".  No? Inappropriate? Dating myself? It's okay. I don't know why I put this off for so long. But now that it's done, it wasn't so bad! These posts keep getting longer and longer don't they? That's for stopping by today. Please let me know if you decide to try this great Lao dish. Find me on Facebook or Instagram.  If you like this post I would appreciate you sharing it, and pinning it on Pinterest. Thank you!

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