Chicken and Rice, Chen Style

By

Korakot Suriya-arporn
Xavier Girard Lachaîne
Chicken, Charred Lettuce, Garlic Chives Rice Porridge, and Basil Jus
Chicken, Charred Lettuce, Garlic Chives Rice Porridge, and Basil Jus

Humble chicken and rice are given a full-on, fine-dining facelift at East Village restaurant Tuome. Inspired by “many weekend breakfasts of congee from my childhood,” Chef Thomas Chen nods to his roots (he’s the son of Hong Kong immigrant restaurateurs) to put a refined spin on home-spun fare.

Instead of boiling rice to break it down into the traditional gruel, the Eleven Madison Park and Jean Georges veteran cooks it risotto-style, keeping the grains whole. He soaks sushi rice in water overnight, then strains and parboils it for 12 minutes. Next, he adds the rice into a pan with chicken stock, charred garlic chives, and shiitakes. To finish, Chen adds a Western touch with a knob of butter and salt.

“I think the creamy texture of the porridge pairs perfectly with the crispy chicken,” says Chen. For the protein, he rubs de-boned chicken pieces with ginger, cooks them sous vide at 62°C for 30 minutes, and pan-sears the breasts to crisp up the skin. As for the thighs, he dredges them in Wondra Flour and deep-fries them to golden glory. With charred gem lettuce and basil-steeped tare jus (sweet soy sauce) added in, it’s a clever riff on Taiwanese san bei ji or “three cup chicken.”

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