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Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice

A recipe for Hainanese Chicken Rice from the cookbook, The Malaysian Kitchen, written by Christina Arokiasamy.
Course Main
Cuisine Malaysian
Keyword chicken, Malaysia, Malaysian, meat, poultry, rice, Singapore
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 Servings



  • 1 small whole chicken (3 1/2 pounds) cleaned
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger peeled and smashed
  • 6 green onions folded in half
  • 3 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 8 cups water


  • 3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat or peanut oil
  • 3 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger peeled and sliced
  • 1 pandan leaf (optional) fresh or frozen

Seasoning Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Chili Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons Sambal Ulek
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For serving:

  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • 2 green onions (white and green parts) sliced


Poach the chicken:

  • Begin by trimming the fat surrounding the inner part of the chicken cavity and set it aside for the rice. Place the chicken into a stockpot that is tall enough to allow the chicken to be covered with water.
  • Insert the garlic, ginger, and green onions into the cavity of the chicken. Next pour the rice wine, soy sauce vinegar, and fish sauce into the cavity, then secure the opening with a short bamboo skewer.
  • Add the water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour or so. The chicken thigh joint will easily pull away from the body when the meat is done. While the chicken cooks, skim any froth from the surface of the broth.

Make the rice:

  • Cook the reserved chicken fat in a 3 quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the solids have shrunk considerably. Discard the solids.
  • While waiting for the fat to break down in the pan, wash the rice by gently rubbing it with your fingers in a bowl filled with water. When the water becomes cloudy, drain the water and repeat the process until the water is clear. Drain well.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and panda leaf (if using) to the chicken fat and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and carefully mix until the grains are well coated with the fat.
  • Add 4 1/4 cups of the broth from the chicken pot to the rice and bring to a boil (keep the remaining broth to serve with the chicken). Boil until the liquid on the surface is evaporated and small bubbles appear from holes in the rice, 3-4 minutes.
  • Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is tender and the rest of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered and undisturbed, for about 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and cover. Alternatively, you can cook the rice and broth in a rice cooker.

While the rice is cooking, make the seasoning sauce and chili sauce:

  • Mix the soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl; set the seasoning sauce aside. Blend the chili sauce ingredients in a mini food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl for serving and set aside.

To serve:

  • Once the chicken is cooked, carefully lift the chicken and allow the broth to drain from the cavity into the pot. Strain the broth into a clean pot and reserve to serve with the chicken. Allow the chicken to cool slightly on a plate before cutting. De-bone the chicken (the bones will easily come off since the chicken will be very tender) and slice into 3-inch pieces, then arrange on a serving platter. Place the cucumber on the platter.
  • Drizzle the seasoning sauce over the sliced chicken and cucumber. Set the bowl of chili sauce on the table. Pour the broth into individual bowls and sprinkle with the green onions. Serve the rice on individual plates. Enjoy while still warm.