Monday, July 2, 2012

Chicken Long Rice

I’m not really sure why they call this dish “Long Rice” when it isn’t made with rice noodles.  Chicken long rice is made with bean threads (mung beans to be exact) that cook up clear and are extremely slippery.  Its still a mystery as to how to properly pick up these noodles without tossing all your manners out the window.  They slip and slide off your fork faster than you can get it to your mouth.  Its quite the challenge, but worth it.  So don’t confuse these noodles with rice noodles which are commonly used for pad thai.  They are completely different and are not a good substitute for this dish.

Chicken Long Rice clearly lacks eye appeal.  I say this because several years ago when I attended a very rainy luau in Oregon.  A man in the buffet line said to me, as he pointed at the chicken long rice, “Wow", that dish must have gotten rained on?  I smiled and said; “No", that’s exactly how it’s supposed to look and encouraged him to taste it.  He did with great hesitation and found himself pleasantly surprised as to how delicious it was.  I even saw him go back for seconds.  So don’t judge a book by its cover.

I used whole bone in chicken thighs with the skin to make this batch of long rice.  When I cook with whole pieces I either serve the pieces whole or toss out the skin and bones and shred the chicken into chunky pieces to mix in with the long rice.  In my opinion, using the whole chicken adds a lot of flavor to this simple dish.  But you can choose to use boneless skinless cut up chicken instead, which I have many times.
My mother-in-law turned me on to theses slightly thicker noodles, which I prefer.  But if you can’t find them, use the thinner noodles that are wrapped in the pink netting and only use 2 bunches (2oz. each), not 8 oz. or (3 bunches if you want more noodles with minimal broth)

2              pounds                 chicken thighs (about 4- 5), whole or cubed
1              med                       onion, sliced thin
1              clove                     garlic, smashed
1              thumb                  ginger, smashed
1              14 oz. can            chicken broth
1              14 oz. can            water (I use the can to measure)
8              oz. pk.                   bean thread noodles (long rice)
1              tsp.                        kosher salt  (½ to season chicken; ½ to season dish)
¼             tsp.                        black pepper
3              sprigs                    green onion, sliced small

Soak bean threads in tap water to soften, cut into 3 - 4 inch lengths. 
ü  The bean threads will be almost impossible to cut if not softened first and if you don’t cut them they will be unmanageable sliding off your fork every time you try to take a bite.

Heat a large sauce pan with a cover over med-high heat.  Season chicken with ½ the kosher salt. 
ü  If using whole thighs with the skin, place chicken in the pan skin side down.  This will render the fat from the skin and help flavor your broth.  If you get too much fat from this step, take some out before adding the ginger, garlic and onions.  TIP - to remove extra fat from pan, crumple up a paper towel and use it to dab the excess oil out of the pan, use a tong so you won't burn yourself.  When the skin is golden brown,  flip the chicken over to brown other side.
ü  If your using pieces, add about 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan and brown chicken.

Move the chicken to one side of the pan and add the smashed ginger, garlic and onions; cook for about 2 minutes or until fragrant (don’t brown).

Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

Add bean threads and cook for another 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.  Turn off stove and cover; let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.  This allows the noodles to swell and absorb most of the broth. TIP - if you use the thinner noodles in the pink netting; skip the additional (10 min.) cooking time, because these noodles will get mushy quickly.

Garnish with green onions.


  1. Looking forward to trying this out
    Thank you!!

  2. Thank you for posting this! Your's is the first recipe I've seen that recommends browning the chicken before cooking it in the broth. Excited to try this!

    1. Hi Elenis,
      Yes, I think browning adds a lot of flavor. I'm excited for you to try it.