top of page

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Such a simple dish that is easy to make and SO delicious! The chicken is simply poached in water, ginger and scallions which then makes a delicious broth which you use to cook the rice. The 3 sauces of ginger/scallion oil, chili oil, and sweet dark soy just...mic drop.

I've been seeing recipes for this dish a lot lately. Maybe because Chinese New Year is coming up. I've been wanting to try it and when I did, I couldn't believe how easy it was to make and how surprisingly delicious it was. So simple but the chicken is so soft, juicy and delicate, skin springy and it all comes together with the sauces and rice. Oh the rice!!!

Try all the sauces, even mixed together but be sparing on the chili oil. It is spicy! Make sure to eat it with a bite of chicken and rice together. Yum!

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Ingredients (serves 4-5)


1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs)

water, enough to cover chicken

ginger, 2" fresh cut into 1/4" coins

scallions, 5 stalks cut in half


3 cups rice, jasmine

4 cups chicken cooking broth

chicken fat, removed from end of chicken (or 2 Tablespoons vegetable, peanut or canola oil)

4 cloves garlic, minced


Sauce #1 Ginger and scallion oil (makes 1/3 cup)

3 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated

2 stalks scallions, finely sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup oil, vegetable, peanut or canola

Sauce #2 Chili oil (makes 1/3 cup)

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

3 Tablespoons spicy fresh red chilies, finely chopped (I used Thai bird chilies)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar (or white vinegar)

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1 Tablespoon garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup oil, vegetable, peanut or canola

Sauce #3 Sweet Soy (makes 1/3 cup)

2 Tablespoons sugar (or a couple small chunks of rock sugar)

3 Tablespoons water

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbs dark soy sauce


Prepare chicken. Clean and rinse chicken inside and out. Fill a large pot (tall and narrow is better than wider) half way with water. Gently lower chicken breast side up into pot. Add more water if needed to cover chicken by about 3/4". Carefully remove chicken, pouring liquid from cavity back into pot, and place on a plate. Add ginger and scallions to pot of water and bring up to a boil over medium high heat.

Use paper towels to pat chicken dry and sprinkle inside and outside of chicken with a generous amount of salt. When the water comes up to a boil, rinse the salt off the chicken and carefully lower chicken, breast side up, into the pot. Adjust water level if necessary, making sure chicken is fully submerged. Bring the pot back up to a boil.

When the water comes back up to a boil, carefully lift chicken and pour water from cavity back into pot. Be careful not to break the skin. I used a long wooden spoon inserted into the bottom opening of the chicken and gently tipped the chicken to pour out water back into the pot. Carefully lower the chicken back into the pot and bring back up to a boil. The reason for this step is to make sure all the water is hot to cook the chicken. The water in the cavity is cooler than the water outside. Boil covered on medium high for 2-3 minutes, then turn off heat. Leave covered. Set timer for 50 minutes. Do not remove cover!

Prepare sauces.

Sauce #1. In a small heatproof bowl, add and mix together ginger, scallions and salt. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, heat 1/4 cup oil. When the oil gets shimmery, about 2-3 minutes, carefully pour over ginger and scallion mixture. Be careful because it may bubble up a bit. Mix and set aside to cool until needed.

Sauce #2. In a small heatproof bowl, add and mix together garlic, ginger, chilies, salt, sugar and sesame oil. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, heat 1/3 cup of oil. When the oil gets shimmery, about 2-3 minutes, add minced garlic and stir until fragrant, no more than 30 seconds. Do not burn. Immediately pour over chili mixture. Be careful because it may bubble up a bit. Mix and set aside to cool until needed. This sauce is great right away but even better if made the 1-2 days in advance. If making ahead, store in refrigerator and remove 1-2 hours before serving.

Sauce #3. In a small saucepan mix sugar and water. Heat on medium low and stir constantly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add soy sauces and mix to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and serve.

When there is about 5 minutes left on the timer, prepare ice bath. Fill a large pot or mixing bowl 1/3 with ice. Add enough cold water to about halfway.

When timer goes off, check on chicken. Chicken is cooked if juices in thigh run clear or a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F. Don't worry if chicken is still the barest pink as it retains some of this color from being gently poached. If chicken is not cooked through, bring back up to a boil then simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Carefully remove chicken, pouring broth from cavity back into pot before plunging into ice bath. Add more ice and water to fully submerge chicken. This will stop the cooking. Leave in ice bath about 20 minutes then remove to a clean cutting board. Cover until ready to cut up and serve.

Prepare rice. Heat a wok or large skillet on medium high. Add the reserved piece of chicken fat (or oil). Render chicken fat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove solid remains. Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add rice and stir constantly until grains are coated, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a rice cooker and add appropriate amount of chicken broth from poaching chicken. Press start. If cooking rice in a pot, transfer rice mixture to a medium saucepan and add 4 cups of chicken broth. Bring up to a boil then lower heat to low and simmer covered for about 20 minutes until rice is cooked.

While rice is almost done cooking, cut chicken and arrange on a platter. Garnish with green onions or cilantro if desired. Serve with rice and 3 prepared sauces. Enjoy!

CHRIS' TIP: You will have a pot full of flavorful chicken broth leftover. What do you do with it? Do not throw it out. AND when you cut the chicken, save the carcass/bones from the breast and back. Go to the Mix & Match section for ideas.

28 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page