Hainanese Chicken Recipe

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Hainanese Chicken Recipe

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Hainanese Chicken Recipe

Authentic Hainanese Chicken Recipe

Hainanese Chicken Rice is a beloved dish that originated in Hainan, China, and has become a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Singapore and Malaysia. The recipe features tender poached chicken, fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth, and a trio of dipping sauces. Here’s how to make this delicious dish at home.


Chicken and Broth

  • 1 whole chicken (about 3-4 pounds)
  • 1 large piece of ginger, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2-3 stalks of scallions
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 10 cups of water


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

Chili Sauce

  • 5 red chilies, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt to taste

Ginger-Garlic Sauce

  • 1/4 cup of ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup of garlic, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Soy Sauce Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil


Preparing the Chicken and Broth

  1. Clean the Chicken: Remove any excess fat from the chicken. Rinse it thoroughly under cold water.
  2. Boil the Chicken: In a large pot, bring the water, ginger slices, garlic, scallions, and salt to a boil.
  3. Poach the Chicken: Gently lower the chicken into the boiling water, breast side down. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 40-50 minutes.
  4. Cool the Chicken: Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and place it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and keep the skin smooth and tender.
  5. Reserve the Broth: Strain the chicken broth and set aside.

Cooking the Rice

  1. Prepare Aromatics: In a large pan, heat the chicken fat or oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Cook the Rice: Add the rinsed jasmine rice to the pan, stirring to coat the rice with the aromatic oil. Cook for a few minutes until the rice is slightly translucent.
  3. Simmer: Pour in the reserved chicken broth and add salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.

Making the Sauces

  1. Chili Sauce: Blend the red chilies, garlic, ginger, lime juice, sugar, and salt until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  2. Ginger-Garlic Sauce: Heat the vegetable oil in a pan until hot. Pour it over the grated ginger and garlic, stirring to combine. Season with salt.
  3. Soy Sauce Dressing: Mix the soy sauce, chicken broth, and sesame oil in a small bowl.


  1. Cut the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the ice water and pat it dry. Chop it into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Arrange: Place the rice on a plate, topped with the chicken pieces. Drizzle with the soy sauce dressing.
  3. Accompaniments: Serve with the chili sauce, ginger-garlic sauce, and some cucumber slices on the side. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

Tips for the Perfect Hainanese Chicken Rice

  • Use Fresh Chicken: For the best flavor, use a fresh, free-range chicken.
  • Control the Poaching Temperature: Maintaining a gentle simmer is key to tender and juicy chicken.
  • Save the Broth: The chicken broth can be served as a light soup on the side or used in other recipes.
  • Customize the Sauces: Adjust the sauces to your taste preference by balancing the sweetness, acidity, and heat.


Making Hainanese Chicken Rice at home might seem daunting, but with a bit of patience and the right ingredients, you can enjoy this comforting and flavorful dish. Each element, from the tender chicken to the fragrant rice and the vibrant sauces, comes together to create a truly satisfying meal.