Recipe: Hainanese Chicken Rice


Here's how to make Hainanese chicken rice, a Chinese recipe that's famously popular in Singapore and Malaysia. There's literally no translation for the word that explains how silky and smooth the chicken tastes. It's an easy recipe but does require slow cooking for maximum flavour so set aside time.


Hainanese Chicken Rice

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 4 spring onions
  • A bunch of coriander stalks
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 20 g garlic, peeled
  • 40 g root ginger, peeled
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or chicken fat, if you have some)
  • 300 g Thai fragrant rice


  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 100 g bean sprouts
  • 50 ml soy sauce
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Your favourite chilli sauce
  • A spoonful of ginger paste
Poach the Chicken

Step 1

Poach The Chicken

Place the chicken into a large pan with the spring onions, leek, onion, coriander stalks and black pepper. Cover with cold water. Heat to a boil and turn down to the gentleness of simmers for 45 minutes. Remove the bird and check it’s cooked through by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and making sure the juices that run out are clear. If not, return to the water for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat up and boil the stock for 30 minutes at a rapid boil to concentrate the flavour. Whilst the stock reduces, wash the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, then soak in cold water for 15 minutes.

Make the Rice

Step 2

Make The Rice

Blitz the peeled garlic and ginger to a paste with a little water and fry in the chicken fat or oil in a fairly large pan (that has a lid... you'll need it later) for a couple of minutes. Add in any loose and excessive chicken skin from around the cavity that would have rendered down whilst simmering. Drain the rice, then add to the pan with the oil and ginger paste to fry for 2-3 minutes until it smells fragrant and the grains are semi translucent.

Finish It Off

Step 3

Finish It Off

Strain the reduced stock through a fine sieve. Measure out 400ml and add to the pan. Stir, put the lid on the pan and turn the heat down to cook very gently for 10 minutes. Warm 50ml of light soy sauce with a pinch of sugar and 50ml of water for a minute so that it just heats up and the sugar dissolves. Remove the rice from the heat, take off the lid and stir once, then leave for a minute or so before serving.

Serve It Up

Step 4

Serve It Up

Wash and slice the cucumber and serve on the plate with beansprouts, three dip pots of ginger paste, cooked soy and a chilli sauce of your choosing. Place a portion of rice on one side and slice up the boiled chicken (keeping the skin on) to go beside the rice. Drizzle over a little of the cooked soy and serve.

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