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Hainanese Chicken Rice

This much loved dish is found all over South East Asia. Malaysian and Singaporeans love this dish so much that is an unofficial Natioanl Dish. It is even listed on CNN as one of the top 50 best dishes in the world.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Malaysian, Singaporean
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 598kcal


  • 1 free range chicken about 1-2kg, organic if possible.
  • 100 g ginger peeled and thinly sliced
  • One bunch spring onions save 2 whole spring onion for garnish
  • 1 large cucumber scrape skin with a fork for design
  • 3 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 25 ml light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 420 g jasmine or basmati rice
  • Salt
  • A handful of coriander leaves for garnish optional


  • Prepare the chicken by removing any internal fat and cutting off excess skin. This will be used to cook the rice. Salt generously.
  • Using a big pot that will fit your chicken, bring a bit pot of water to boil, adding in the sliced ginger and spring onions.
  • Once boiled, rinse off the salt from the chicken and add the whole chicken into the pot and lower to a simmer. Simmer the chicken for about 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave the chicken in the broth for 45 minutes.

Cook the rice

  • Meanwhile cook to cook the rice, we start by rendering the chicken fat and excess chicken skin in a wok. I like to add in a few pieces of crushed ginger and whole cloves of garlic here. Fry this until it is slightly golden.
    How to Chicken Rice with chicken fat
  • Add the washed rice and stir fry until the grains are translucent.
  • Then add enough broth to cover the rice, using the first knuckle measuring technique. Season with salt to taste. Cook in your rice cooker or in a pot.
    How to Chicken Rice with chicken fat in a rice cooker

Make the sauces

  • Meanwhile, blend or pound the garlic and chilli to make the chilli sauce. Detailed instructions here.
    Chilli Sauce for Hainanese Chicken Rice Chilli Sauce
  • After 45 minutes, take the whole chicken out and dunk it into a bowl of ice water. This stops futher cooking and sets the gelationous fat under the skin which imporoves the texture.
  • Optional, you can add some carrots, onions and green vegetables like watercress, pak choi to make a soup.

Cut and present the chicken

  • When the chicken has cooled, you can chop it into pieces, Chinese style with a cleaver.
  • I start by removing the wings and the thighs and drumsticks. Then I cut off the breasts in one big piece and slice them into a smaller bit sized pieces. I arrange the whole chicken on a big platter with some sliced cucumbers, as per pic.
  • If you don't have a cleaver, you can break down the chicken into pieces in the European way, boned or deboned. The Chinese prefer to serve their chicken on the bone.
  • Serve the chicken with a bowl of the fragrant rice, a bowl of broth and all the sauces. Alternatively, you can serve individual portions on one plate with some rice, a few pieces of chicken and slices of cucumber.
    The Ultimate Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe


The way this chicken is cooked is similar to the way Cantonese white cut chicken (Pak cham kay) is made.