Updated: May 15
Seems like every culture has their own signature chicken and rice dish, but Hainanese chicken rice is my favorite! It originated in the Hainan province of southern China and became popular in southeast asian countries with Chinese immigrants such as Singapore and Malaysia. I started craving this dish after visiting Daniel in Portland and he took me to eat the Thai version called khao man gai. I would say the Thai version is very similar, but with a more tangy flavor. I couldn't find any restaurants in Jacksonville that sold it so I decided to make it myself! The three sauces in this recipe are really what make it classic Hainanese chicken rice and they can be saved for use with other recipes! Recipe adapted from Adam Liaw, The Woks of Life, Nyonya Cooking, and Angel Wong's Kitchen.
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: ★ ★★☆☆
Chicken and Rice
1 whole chicken (serves 4) or you can do half a chicken (serves 2)
2 cups Jasmine rice
4 green onion sticks (use 2 if only using 1/2 chicken)
4 knobs of ginger (1-2 inches long pieces) (use 2 knobs if only using 1/2 chicken)
1 chicken bouillon cube (1/2 a cube if only using 1/2 chicken)
Dark Soy Sauce
1/3 cup of chicken broth (the broth you made from boiling the chicken)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
Ginger Garlic Sauce
4-inch piece of ginger
1 clove of garlic
4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
pinch of salt
sprinkle of sliced green onions
Red Chili Sauce
6 red chili peppers
4 garlic cloves
2 inch piece of ginger
juice of 1 lime
4 teaspoons sugar
sugar and salt to taste
couple sprigs of cilantro
Bring out your stock pot. If you don't have a pot large enough to fit the whole chicken, you can cut the chicken in half or even cut into 3 pieces : leg, wing, and breast, so it fits. Cut the fat pad from the back end of the chicken and keep aside.
2. Cover the chicken skin with a generous amount of salt and start scrubbing the skin like you're giving it a massage.
3. After scrubbing, rinse off the salt. Fill your stock pot with water and add the bouillon cube, ginger knobs, and green onions cut in half. Once water is hot, slowly pour some hot water over the chicken skin to tighten it up. Then rinse chicken in cold water. Then add chicken to stock pot and bring to boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes.
4. While chicken is boiling, start making the sauces. A food processor is recommended, but a blender will work too. For the red chili sauce, simply blend all ingredients together and add more sugar and salt to taste. For the ginger garlic sauce, blend the ginger and garlic. Then heat the oil and pour the hot oil over the blended paste to tame the sharpness of the ginger. Then add a sprinkle of sliced green onions to the ginger garlic sauce.
5. Once chicken is done boiling, place in an ice bath for a few minutes and then remove and set chicken aside. Keep the broth!! You will use it to cook the rice and add to the dark soy sauce and keep some as a bowl of soup on the side while you eat.
6. Add the chicken fat pad to frying pan with a table spoon or 2 of oil. Let the fat render for a few seconds, then add the rice to the pan and stir for a few minutes. Optional to add a spoon of minced garlic to the frying. Careful to not burn the rice.
7. Then remove the fat pad and use rice cooker to cook the rice. I used a 1:2 ratio (1 cup of rice with 2 cups of chicken broth)
8. While rice is cooking, slice your chicken into pieces like shown below and brush the chicken skin with sesame oil. Then make the dark soy sauce. Combine dark soy sauce, chicken broth, and sugar. You can brush the dark sauce you made onto the chicken also or serve the chicken on a plate with a thin layer of the dark sauce on the bottom.
9. Garnish chicken with cucumber slices and cilantro. Best served with a bowl of the broth on the side! Then have fun rotating through all the sauces with each bite of chicken and rice!
A slightly time consuming process making this dish, but worth every minute! It's amazing how much flavor the rice absorbs from the chicken broth. You can even just eat the rice with seaweed and its absolutely delicious. A relatively simple list of ingredients makes a hearty and flavorful feel good dish. This dish turned out better than I expected, but of course it is not as tasty as eating it in southeast Asia! However, if you live in a city without a lot of Asian restaurants this will definitely satisfy the craving! The number of aprons I give this dish is...