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Ginger and sesame rice with poached chicken

The thing I find most interesting about this recipe is that it is at once punchy and fresh but also warming and hearty – an unusual mix. I rarely think of Chinese dishes as comforting or hearty – attributes you might usually associate with British cooking. Quick-cook stir fries, spicy noodle salads, steamed meat and fish dishes are light, fresh Chinese dishes.

But this simple, homely recipe by Bill Granger really does marry these two aspects together and it is the perfect weekday meal for any time of year. The rice absorbs the stock and flavours almost like a risotto becoming soft and delicious. But the raw spring onion and chilli scattered on at the end really add some zing.

It is also healthy and low-fat (not that I’m suddenly the health police, as many of my recipes show), but I think it’s always pleasing when a meal is both tasty and good for you – we all need to look after ourselves now don’t we?!

Serves 2 (very comfortably)

Recipe adapted from Bill Granger, Holiday

1tbsp sunflower

1tsp sesame oil

½ large white onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1tsp freshly grated ginger

200g Jasmine rice

400ml Light chicken stock (can use an organic stock cube)

2 small chicken breasts cut into thin fillets

2 very finely sliced spring onions

Some chopped red chilli

Soy sauce

Method

Heat the two oils in a large, deep frying pan (that has a tight fitting lid) over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook slowly for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Place the chicken pieces on the top of the rice in a single layer, cover again and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the rice is tender and chicken is cooked through. Use your watch and try to resist the temptation to keep lifting the lid and look – you will lose the steam and heat which poaches the chicken.

Remove from the heat, leave the lid on and allow to stand for a further five minutes. Serve sprinkled with spring onion and chilli and drizzle with a little soy sauce.

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