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Hainanese Chicken Rice

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Hainanese Chicken Rice

Rice & Noodles
Rice & Noodles


Total Time
Total Time
Prep 30 M / Cook 01 H 30 M

4 Servings

Grace Teo
Grace Teo   thegraceteo
Published on October 18, 2015

  Based on 6241 ratings  Watch Now


chicken meat
3 tbsp
light soy sauce  
7 cm
ice cubes
2 tbsp
sesame oil
1.5 tbsp
white pepper
1 tbsp
chicken fats
garlic clove(s)
pandan leaves  
600 g
1 tbsp
shaoxing wine  
1 tbsp
2 tbsp
chilli sauce (raw)
3 tbsp
chicken stock


A plate of Hainanese chicken rice is easy to prepare. Get to know the right techniques to prepare moist chicken with soft golden yellow skin, well flavoured chicken rice and most importantly, the chicken rice sauces. Accompanying the dish are different sauces like soy sauce and chili sauce. These contribute to the special flavour for which chicken rice is well known. The combination of refreshing cucumber slices, the tender chicken and aromatic rice teaming up with the chili and soy sauce makes every mouthful a delight.

Secrets to moist and tender chicken

Along with the supple skin which has a hint of golden yellowness to it, the perfect Hainanese chicken has to be moist in the inside. Hence, cooking the chicken according to the recommended time is important. The cooking process needs to be stopped immediately by transfering the chicken from the boiling pot of water to an ice bath. This is also create the delicious skin we all love with Hainanese chicken.

How to add colour to Hainanese chicken?

The combination of salt and sesame oil helps to add colour to Hainanese chicken. The mixture should be applied once chicken is removed from ice bath. Some stall vendors would mix turmeric powder and warm water to pour over the chicken before the ice bath. This also adds colour to the skin.

Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for Shaoxing wine?

No. Shaoxing wine is added for its sweetness. While most would advise some apple juice as substitute, I highly advise against it. Apple juice will spoil the taste of the dish, making it slightly tart in taste. If you do not want to have alcohol in this recipe, simply omit it as the main flavour in the gravy comes from the soy sauce and chicken broth. A teaspoon of oyster sauce can be added to better the flavours of the sauce.

Chicken rice soup

The soup is one of the key side dishes to a complete Hainanese chicken rice meal. To enhance the sweetness of the soup, you may add radish or carrots, or both. A dash of white pepper would make a whole lot of difference to the taste. Cook this awesome dish for your family and friends. They will appreciate your effort and be impressed.

Hainanese chicken rice for 2

If you are only cooking for one or two people, use chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken. Stuff the ginger and scallions between two chicken thighs and secure them with strings. Continue with the same cooking steps as below.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is also known as: Nasi Ayam Hainan海南鸡饭



Step 1/7

  • chicken meat
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce  
  • 5 cm ginger
  • 1 scallions

Lightly rub salt on the outer part of the chicken. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Pour soy sauce into the chicken and spread it evenly. Then, stuff chicken with ginger and scallions. Secure drumsticks with a string.


Step 2/7

  • water
  • 0.5 radish
  • 1 scallions

Boil chicken in a pot with enough water covering it. Add spring onion and radish. Once soup boils, turn the chicken over and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.


Step 3/7

  • water
  • ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • white pepper

Remove chicken from pot and dip in a bowl of iced water for 10 seconds. Set chicken aside. Mix sesame oil and 1/2 tablespoon of salt to glaze the skin of chicken. Meanwhile, the broth should continue simmering for at least another 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to the broth to taste.


Step 4/7

  • 1 tbsp chicken fats
  • 2 garlic clove(s)
  • 2 cm ginger
  • 1 shallot(s)  
  • 1 pandan leaves  

Render some chicken fats at medium heat in a pot. With the rendered chicken fats, sauté garlic, ginger and shallots until fragrant. Add pandan leaf and rice to the pot. Stir well.


Step 5/7

  • 600 g rice

Add broth (used to cook chicken earlier) to the pot of rice. The ratio of rice to water should be 2:1. Then, cook over high heat. Once it boils, reduce heat to the minimum and simmer until rice is cooked. It should take about 20 minutes.


Step 6/7

  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine  
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce  
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chilli sauce (raw)
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock

To prepare soy sauce, mix sugar, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of chicken stock (from broth) together. As for chili sauce, mix Cili Garam (raw chili sauce) with 1 tablespoon of chicken stock.


Step 7/7

Chop chicken into bite-size pieces. Pour soy sauce mixture over them. Serve rice and chicken along with the prepared chili sauce. Garnish with some fresh slices of cucumber.

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