Hainanese Chicken Rice

“You’re from Singapore? Do you know how to cook Hainanese Chicken rice?” is the question that I’m asked by avid fans of this dish. Hainanese chicken rice is a Singaporean favourite… In fact it is one of the few local delights that is served on Singapore Airlines (not that I’ve tried theirs yet though)! The last time we had chicken rice was with SM and J in Melbourne. Not having chicken rice readily accessible in Canberra, I try to cook this dish occasionally to remind us of the flavours that we love so much.

Honey was initially against the idea of me keeping chickens as she was worried that I’ll cook them into delectable dishes. If we ever get chickens, she said that she will name them to increase my attachment to them! I’m happy to report that this chicken is free-range and not a pet.

Even though Hainanese chicken rice is relatively easy  to to create, perfection is the difficult part. But for the home cook, the sky’s the limit. The poached chicken should be tender and juicy, the rice  so fragrant that salivary glands start working and your stomach start rumbling….I put some lettuce underneath the chicken to let the excess sauce fall on to it.

Fluffy rice that is packed with chicken flavour. There’s chicken fat in the rice, but heh, everything in moderation. Next comes the condiments that further completes this  dish… the chilli-vinegar sauce and ginger dipping sauce. The family was very happy with this meal.

honeyandsoy’s Hainanese Chicken Rice

Poached Chicken

1 Large free-range whole chicken (2 kg)

2 1/2 cm Ginger, bruised

2 cloves Garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons Sesame oil

1 teaspoon Light soy sauce

Fragrant Chicken Rice

600g Long grain rice (about 4 cups)

3 cloves Garlic, sliced

2 cm Ginger, sliced

1 tablespoon Vegetable oil

6 cups Chicken stock

small piece of chicken fat (1-2 tsp)(optional)

2 teaspoon Salt

2 teaspoon Sesame oil

Chilli-Vinegar sauce

6 Fresh red chillies, de-seeded

1 clove Garlic

2 cm Ginger

1 teaspoon Salt

2 teaspoons Sugar

1 teaspoon Vinegar or lime juice

2 teaspoons Chicken stock

Ginger dipping sauce

2cm knob ginger

some spring onions

3 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Method :

  • Boil the water in a large pot big enough to hold the chicken.
  • Clean the chicken.
  • Add in ginger and garlic to the chicken in the pot.
  • Carefully, put in the chicken into the boiling water.
  • To prevent the chicken from over cooking, do not cover the pot!
  • Let it immerse for 2-3 minutes.
  • Bring the water to the boil and simmer for 30 mins
  • Test for doneness by piercing the flesh with a toothpick. The juices should run clear.
  • When the chicken is cooked, take it out and plunge it into ice cold water
  • This process prevents overcooking and firms up the meat and creates a gelatinous layer between the skin and the flesh
  • Brush it with a mixture of sesame oil and soy sauce.
  • Reserve enough stock for rice and chilli sauce.
  • Season lightly with salt, pepper and spring onion.
  • Keep warm.

Fragrant Rice

  • Wash and drain rice well. Heat vegetable oil in a pot or rice cooker and fry garlic and ginger until golden brown.
  • Add drained rice and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 6 cups of stock, sesame oil, chicken fat and salt.
  • Cook until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Cover the pot tightly and reduce heat until the rice is cooked and fluffy.

Preparing Chilli sauce / Ginger sauce

  • Mix all ingredients in an electric blender and grind finely.
  • Add into the boiling chicken stock.
  • Put into a sauce bowl.

To Serve

  • Put some rice on a serving plate,
  • Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and arrange them on a separate plate lined with your favourite vegetable (e.g. lettuce, cucumber).
  • Pour some light soy sauce, chinese rice wine and sesame oil.
  • Best eaten with hot soup, chilli sauce and ginger sauce.

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  • http://www.michelle-chin.com Michelle Chin

    You know, when I saw the first picture, I thought I smelled chicken rice .The power of pictures!

  • mademoiselle delicieuse

    I’m not sure I’d be able to slaughter a chicken I owned either! But I could definitely make this Hainanese chicken rice from a bought one. I am, however, very bad at just eating the chicken-flavoured rice on its own!

  • http://figjamandlimecordial.com/ Celia

    Ooh yum! Slightly different from what we do – main thing being that we fry our rice in evil wicked chicken fat..hahaha

    I want chicken rice to eat right now! :)

  • Lollcakes

    This looks SO tasty, I could eat a whole bowl right now!!

  • http://twitter.com/wayfaringchoc Hannah Terry-Whyte

    I’ve never had Hainanese Chicken Rice, but everytime I see a blog post about it I think how good it looks and how I’m stupid for not trying it yet.

    And then I forget to try it for another few months.

  • Shantini

    BABES, your blog kills me lah. Everyday.

    I was actually thinking of cooking this for a long time and when my boyfriend volunteered to cook me something (he is not very kitchen/cooking-savvy), I instantly thought of this dish. But I think this will take him about 50 hours to do. So, next weekend, I’m going to cook this with him. Your photos and easy to understand recipe has motivated him. I shall report back!

    (I love the ginger sauce!)

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    ooo, your’s is more authentic even though it sound naughty;), but definitely worth the flavour 8)

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Thanks Faith, this is really a quick version ( Celia from figjamandlime.com fries her rice in chicken rice, which is the proper way)

  • http://anediblemosaic.com Faith

    It looks like you’ve mastered this dish! The chicken looks amazingly juicy and tender…perfect with the fluffy rice and flavorful condiments!

  • Anonymous

    Ooh the sauces! I love this dish and the secret is definetly the sauces. Or maybe the chicken. Or maybe the rice. Who am I kidding, It’s all good! Yumm…

  • Amabel Lim

    BABE…the food looks YUMMY!

  • MaryMoh

    Wow….looks like from the restaurant. The chicken looks so juicy, the rice so silky, the sauces look awesome….perfect in all ways. I miss chicken rice here. I need to cook, too. Thanks very much for sharing. MaryMoh at http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com

  • http://twitter.com/IronChefShellie Iron Chef Shellie

    I love this dish!! Haven’t made it at home though… might have to

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Lol, a picture is worth a thousand words 8). Being in Melbourne, you probably did smell it!

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    I know! It’s a bad habit of mine too! In fact, I have to remember to eat the vegs and the chicken too ;P

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    lol, too bad I can’t scan you some

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Lol Hannah, that is too funny, if you go to Asia, it’ll remind you to have it 8)

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Lol, Shantini, how much time do you have to cook this? I have another method of cooking the chicken that is super easy, you just need 1 whole day. But you bf will probably love the further simplicity of it. It’s simply boil the water in the morning put the chicken in, bring it to a simmer and turn it off. Leave it for the whole day ( do not open it! ) That way, the chicken will be 85% cooked, jelly in the middle and sooooo moist and tender. Love to hear how you guys went.

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Lol, that was soo what I was trying to convey, it’s when different components of the dish compliments each other. Sooo hard to choose which is the best part!

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Thanks Am! It’s been some time since I last cooked for you 8)

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Thanks Mary, I must admit that honey is pretty awesome at taking delicious shots. Hope you enjoy making your version of chicken rice 8)

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Ooo, it’s definitely time to ;)

  • http://footscrayfoodblog.blogspot.com/ Lauren aka Ms Baklover

    Oh my goodness, this is one of my favourite foods. I will have to give the recipe a try!

  • http://vondelicious.blogspot.com Von

    Mmm…I love Hainanese Chicken rice!! =) I’ve never tried making it at home though- but yours looks so good! Infact, it looks even better than some I’ve had at some restaurants =) Your chicken looks so smooth and tender! And the dipping sauces look so tasty!

  • Shantini

    Babe I made apple crumble the other day and asked him to help me peel, core and slice 6 apples. He took (I kid you not) an HOUR. Plus, he had to ask me HOW TO CORE AN APPLE. He’s also held up an onion and asked me how to start preparing it (as in, how to peel and chop it). He’s a darling though. He tries :) Slowly slowly he’ll learn lah. He makes his own mayonaise now! So proud of him!

    As for the chicken rice, I realised he has never had it in his life. So, I’m taking him for some next week so he knows what he will be cooking later on. Old Town Kopitiam in QV has the best in Melbourne, so far. But nothing like making your own at home. Babe, do you have the roast chicken recipe too (instead of poached chicken) for chicken rice?

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    8) hope you like this version

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Lol, thanks Von, if you try making it at home, I hope this recipe meets your standards 8)

  • http://www.honeyandsoy.com honeyandsoy

    Lol, that’s funny, not in a mean way, at least he’s trying 8)

    ooo..that roast chicken, the last time I made it was 5 years ago. I gave Honey a shock coz the chicken (after it’s been poached then bathed in a maltose solution, the chicken has to be hung to dry) was “hung” by me by sitting it over a wine bottle and I left it on the balcony. When Honey woke up, she saw a chicken (a la Mr Bean with the turkey head) suspended on the balcony, got a fright of her life, and boy, did I get a earful because of that!!!

    Anyway, you can try this recipe, it’s pretty close to the one I used. Chinese spices, just means five spice