- Gastropology 101
- 7 Great Things To Know About Free Range Chicken
7 Great Things To Know About Free Range Chicken
The Friedchillies gang hung out at an organic chicken farm just a stone's throw away from the city. Here's what we learned over at Uncle Rani's Chicken Farm.
The healthiest, happiest chickens in Malaysia.
Firstly there is a sweet little farm in the corner of Kuang that does free range chicken. I spent an idyllic afternoon there eating quite possibly the most delicious chicken I’ve ever had. It’s so good that you want to slurp all the juices at the bottom of the pan. The farm, Uncle Rani's Chicken Farm, does things a bit differnetly than normal intensively farmed chicken. Owner Uncle Rani began his project because he wanted to literally 'engineer' what is the best way to farm chicken. He took everything into account: animal husbandry, animal welfare and feed... all to make the chickens healthier, happier and in return, SO MUCH TASTIER. Here are some things we discovered hanging out there for the day.
Chicken farms can be clean. Lots of intensive chicken farms are ramshackle and look depressing, not to mention pretty dirty. Uncle Rani's farm, however, is as clean as a home garden with lots of natural vegetation. The chickens are happy and healthy in such a great living environment.
As spic and span as a farm can be.
The chickens eat better than us. Uncle Rani carefully composes their daily diet. It comprises of good vitamins from plants like duckweed, four angle beans and vegetables, roughage from rice kernels, protein from fishmeal and good bacteria for digestion from a fermentation process he came up with. Their diet is complete, full of nutrients and balanced. Most of us probably don’t take as much care with our own diets.
This is duckweed, which is incorporated as part of the feed.
Free range chickens don’t have to be sinewy and tough like kampung chicken. They can be fat and juicy. Again this is due to diet and the exercise. The flesh of the chicken here is firm, a little chewy but full flavoured. It's what chicken is supposed to taste like. Kampung chicken are usually left to their own devices but well cared for organic chicken has loads of flesh. They also have tons of calcium so you have to put on some muscle to cut through their bones. Unlike most supermarket chickens where you can cut their spines with scissors.
Lookit how healthy the chickens look.
Chickens need a good four months to be fully matured. Intensively farmed chickens hardly live for two months before they are slaughtered. But a good chicken reared from a chick needs at least 4 months to grow to fighting weight and ensures that they have enough nutrients to be worth your while cooking it.
This is what a 'real' chicken looks like up close!
Free range chicken needs very little flavouring. The roast chicken I was eating just needed a little oil and good salt. Like a really good steak or fresh seafood, you don’t need much embellishment to enjoy free range chicken. All you need is to bring out the natural flavours. In saying that, because they have such firm flesh, they are also incredible in a curry or rendang. The juices running out during cooking really gives an extra umami and 'chicken-ness' to your gravies and stews.
Uncle Rani. He sure knows his chickens.
It's better for you in every way too. As mentioned above, most chickens you buy in the market are probably less than 2 months old because the farms need to keep up with demand. As a result, they're fed growth enhancers and hormones that could have a harmful effect to the people that eat them. At Uncle Rani's farm, no artificial enhancer or weird chemicals go into the birds. The chickens grow at a natural rate and are given time to fully develop. Better birds all around.
Free birds = better eating!
It’s expensive and so it should be. Yes it’s not cheap but think about it. We are not meant to eat meat all the time. Secondly meat should be more expensive than vegetables. When you can buy chicken for less money than broccoli than perhaps you have the world upside down. Meat should be cherished and a treat. Spending a little more money for it also means you are less likely to waste. Those bones will make an incredible stock. The feet can be stewed. Livers and hearts can be transformed into terrines and pates.
Uncle Rani showed us how to properly hold 'em.
You can visit Uncle Rani's Chicken Farm at the address below. His chickens are for sale!:
Uncle Rani's Chicken Farm
Lot 1280, Lorong Dato Abu Bakar, Kg Gombak Batu 20, Kuang, Selangor