Hainan Chicken Rice Recipe

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Hainan Chicken Rice Recipe

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Hainan Chicken Rice Recipe

Hainan Chicken Rice Recipe: A Flavorful and Authentic Guide

Hainan Chicken Rice, also known as Hainanese Chicken Rice, is a renowned dish originating from Hainan, China. This dish has become a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine, especially in Singapore and Malaysia. It consists of poached chicken served with fragrant rice, accompanied by a variety of dipping sauces. Follow this recipe to create a delicious and authentic Hainan Chicken Rice at home.


For the Chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken (about 3-4 lbs)
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1 large piece of ginger, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • Water (enough to submerge the chicken)
  • Ice bath (for shocking the chicken)

For the Rice:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large piece of ginger, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (reserved from poaching the chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Dipping Sauces:

  • Ginger-Garlic Sauce:
    • 4 tablespoons grated ginger
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • Salt to taste
  • Soy Sauce:
    • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • Chili Sauce:
    • 3 red chilies, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon vinegar
    • Salt to taste


Poaching the Chicken:

  1. Prepare the Chicken:
    • Clean the chicken thoroughly and remove any excess fat.
    • Rub the chicken inside and out with 2 tablespoons of salt to exfoliate the skin. Rinse well under cold water.
  2. Boil and Simmer:
    • In a large pot, bring enough water to a boil to submerge the chicken.
    • Add green onions, ginger slices, and crushed garlic to the water.
    • Submerge the chicken in the boiling water, breast side down. Allow the water to return to a boil.
    • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
  3. Shock the Chicken:
    • Prepare an ice bath (a large bowl filled with ice water).
    • Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and immediately submerge it in the ice bath. This stops the cooking process and tightens the skin.
    • Let it cool for about 15-20 minutes, then remove and set aside.
  4. Chicken Broth:
    • Reserve the poaching liquid for cooking the rice and making soup.

Preparing the Rice:

  1. Rice Preparation:
    • Rinse the jasmine rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
    • In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of chicken fat or vegetable oil over medium heat.
  2. Fry Aromatics:
    • Add minced garlic and ginger to the pan. Fry until fragrant and golden brown.
  3. Cook the Rice:
    • Add the rinsed jasmine rice to the pan, stirring to coat the grains with the aromatic oil.
    • Transfer the rice mixture to a rice cooker.
    • Add 4 cups of the reserved chicken broth and 1 teaspoon of salt.
    • Cook the rice as per the rice cooker’s instructions.

Preparing the Dipping Sauces:

  1. Ginger-Garlic Sauce:
    • Heat vegetable oil in a small pan until hot but not smoking.
    • Pour the hot oil over the grated ginger and minced garlic in a heatproof bowl.
    • Add salt to taste and mix well.
  2. Soy Sauce:
    • In a small saucepan, combine soy sauces, sugar, and chicken broth.
    • Heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Chili Sauce:
    • Blend red chilies, garlic, ginger, lime juice, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a food processor until smooth.

Serving the Hainan Chicken Rice:

  1. Cut the Chicken:
    • Once cooled, chop the chicken into serving pieces. Traditionally, the chicken is served bone-in and skin-on.
  2. Plating:
    • Arrange the chicken pieces on a serving platter.
    • Serve the chicken with a side of fragrant rice, a bowl of clear chicken broth, and the three dipping sauces.
  3. Garnish:
    • Garnish with cucumber slices and fresh cilantro if desired.

Tips for Perfect Hainan Chicken Rice

  • Quality Chicken: Opt for a free-range or organic chicken for the best flavor and texture.
  • Poaching Temperature: Keep the water at a gentle simmer to ensure the chicken stays tender and juicy.
  • Resting Time: Letting the chicken rest in the ice bath helps achieve a firm, smooth skin.