Rice Cooker Ginger Chicken and Coconut Rice
With my weekday schedule I rarely have the time or energy to cook when I get home. I prefer to get my cooking done on the weekend and reheat leftovers throughout the week. However, I have a few recipes that take almost no time to prepare and this rice cooker chicken and rice dish is one of them.
The great thing is I have most of the ingredients on hand in my pantry. With a quick stop at the market to pick up some chicken and spinach, I'm ready to go. It takes about 15 minutes to get all the ingredients prepped and once combined, the rice cooker does all the work.
For some reason when I moved out my Mom decided to give her single daughter an 8-cup rice cooker even though our family had done just fine with a 3-cup cooker. Not sure if she was hoping I'd need it for a family of my own but this rice cooker has been with me for 20+ years and is still going. Before the dish starts cooking the pot looks almost too full but, as you know, the spinach cooks down and I think a full 12-ounce bag is the right balance for the rest of the ingredients.
The main modification I made was to add dried Chinese mushrooms. I love the flavor and it doesn't really add much more prep time. To boost the mushroom flavor I don't discard the hydrating liquid but incorporate it into the dish.
I've thought about adding lup cheong (Chinese dried sausage), dried shrimp, or salted eggs. They would change flavor of the dish to be closer to joong but would also take away the ease of this recipe. For now it works well as is but I may experiment sometime in the future.
For a weeknight meal this is a great dish. I can pull it all together as soon as I get home and by the time I'm showered and changed I have a delicious, hot dinner waiting for me.
Rice Cooker Ginger Chicken and Coconut RiceModified from Food & Wine
1 large chicken bouillon cube (I used one teaspoon of Better than Bouillon)
3-4 large dried Chinese mushrooms (optional)
¾ cup hot water + more for rehydrating the mushrooms
1 cup jasmine rice (I’ve also used Basmati and short grain rice)
1¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
3 packed cups baby spinach (I use a 12 oz bag)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Freshly ground black pepper
Reconstitute the dried mushrooms in hot water - about 10 minutes depending on the size of the mushrooms. When hydrated, remove mushrooms to a cutting board but reserve the liquid. Cut off and discard the hard, woody stems then cut the caps into ⅛" slices.
Measure out ¾ cup of the mushroom soaking liquid. Add more hot water if needed. Dissolve the bouillon in the hot water.
In a rice cooker, combine the rice with the chicken, mushrooms, and ginger. Add black pepper to taste. Arrange the spinach on top. Pour the coconut milk and bouillon broth into the cooker and season lightly with salt - you don't need much because of the bouillon. Turn the rice cooker on; the dish should be done in about 40 minutes (when the cooker turns itself off).
Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a rice paddle, spoon into bowls and serve.