Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Today I cooked Hainanese Chicken Rice, cooked the traditionally way. Both my children are at home today and my son though very western in his taste does enjoy chicken rice. So mummy is going to spoil everyone.

I have tried cooking and tasting this, with the chicken over rice steamed method but it is just not the same. The chicken is just not as smooth. The extra step of dunking the chicken in cold water does give the skin a smoother finish and a more enjoyable eat. I enjoy good food and it is not everyday I eat rice so it is a treat indeed!

As I have made some Loh Bak yesterday (Five-Spice Pork Roll), I decided to fry 2 rolls and served my Hainanese Chicken rice with them. My hubby is also a fan of garlic kai lan (broccoli shoots) but not cucumber, the norm vegetable served with chicken rice back home so we have that for our vegetable instead.

Hubby is a massive huge fan of the ginger dipping sauces both plain and chilli. He was making approving noises as he enjoyed his lunch.

I learned to cook this dish as a young teenager in Ipoh. My eldest Uncle came back from working in Holland after many years and he taught everyone how the place he worked make Hainanese Chicken Rice. He worked in a Chinese Restaurant there of course.

I listened to all his stories in awe. I remembered he said when the apartment he lived in had a fire drill or when a possession passes the street, the western ladies will ran out onto the street to watch naked!!! I am sure he enjoyed our shocked faces!

My TIP on the butter and the pinch of turmeric came from him of course. My Uncle chopped the chicken liver and gizzard and added to the rice when he fry them but here in UK chicken comes without either. So there is no choice for me.

We all enjoyed our lunch today but I did not give them any of the chicken broth as I am saving it for another special dish tomorrow.

Hainanese Chicken Rice


For the Chicken

  • 1 Corn fed chicken
  • Salt
  • Spring onions
  • Ginger
  • Rice wine
  • Sesame oil
  • Icy water and ice cubes

For the Chicken Rice

  • Rice washed and drained
  • Chicken fats from chicken and skin of the neck area
  • Garlic minced
  • Ginger minced
  • Butter
  • Light pinch of turmeric
  • Salt

For the Ginger dipping sauce.

  • Minced ginger
  • Minced garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Chicken broth

For the chilli dipping sauce.

  • Minced ginger
  • Minced garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Minced fresh red chillies
  • Chicken broth

For the oyster dipping sauce.

  • Oyster sauce
  • Chicken broth
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Shallot oil and crispy shallots


For the Chicken

  • Wash the chicken well and exfoliate with salt both inside and out. Pick out the feather bits, trimming away the fats by the opening (keep aside), trim the neck fats (keep aside)
  • Trim the bits on the parson's nose (look at pic) don't eat that!
  • Remove the skin from the feet area. Do not cook that! Save the feet bones to season your broth.
  • When cleaned, massage first the rice wine into the insides of the chicken then rub all over with sesame oil. Insert in the cavity the spring onions and ginger. Your chicken is now ready for the pot.
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil. Place your chicken breast side down and bring your water back to boil and let it boil for 10 minutes then turn heat off. leave the chicken to poach for 30 minutes. Then remove the chicken and dunk into icy cold water immediately. This is to tightens the pores on the skin, to stop the cooking process and in doing so your chicken skin will be having that special 'jelly crunch' texture.
  • Drain your chicken after about 10 minutes and rub all over with sesame oil. Set chicken aside ready for chopping later.

For the Chicken Rice

  • Fry the Chicken fats to get the oil out. Then add in butter. Then remove a tablespoon of the oil and keep aside.
  • Next add in the minced ginger and garlic. Fry till you can just smell the aroma and add in your rice.
  • Take your time frying the rice. Each grain of rice is to be coated and add in a light pinch of turmeric for the special colouring. You can add in a pinch of salt if you like. As you fry the rice you will feel that they become lighter. Only when the rice is light then you know they are ready for the rice cooker.
  • Place the rice into your rice cooker adding a few slices of ginger and pandan leaves tied in knots.
  • Skimmed the oil from your chicken broth and boil rice a per normal.
  • Fluff the rice when boiled and you should find each grain separate nicely and not stuck together in a lump. if they do not separately nicely give yourself an 'F' and then try again. kekekekekeke

Sauces Instructions

  • With the oil saved from frying the chicken fats and butter fry the ginger and garlic lightly just to remove the rawness. Then divide them into 2 portions and add in the rest. Add the vinegar and chillies to one. Then add in the hot stock, skimming the oil from your broth to both.
  • For the oyster dipping sauce, just mix all together to taste.

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