Monday, November 15, 2010

Hainanese Chicken Rice

This is a classic Singaporean Dish of poached chicken with rice infused with ginger & garlic. It was first sold here from immigrants from Hainan where mature chicken were used to maximize the amount of oil extracted. However, over the years, this recipe has evolved and today we use Kampong chicken (Free range chicken). It is not only more flavourful but more tender and juicy as well.

The ingredients you'll need are,

For the chicken

1 Whole chicken (Kampong/Free range preferably) Not too old as you want it to be tender and not too tough
1 thumb length ginger cut into 3 and slightly smashed
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
A bunch of spring onions
Chinese Rice wine (Shao Xing Jiu)

For the chicken Stock

Enough water to submerge the whole chicken
few cloves of garlic
one thumb size of ginger
a bunch of spring onions
A few Solomon's seal (Yuzhu)
A handful of wolf berries (Gou qi zhi)

For the rice

2 cups of rice
2 cups of chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
3/4 thumb size ginger
a bunch of pandan leaves (Screw pine leaf)
chicken fat - YES CHICKEN FAT....It's a MUST


5 large red chilli
3 chilli padi (bird's eye chilli, add more if you want it to be REALLLY spicy)
5 cloves of garlic
1 thumb size ginger
Zest from lime or kaffir leaves
some chicken stock
a dash of Sesame oil
pinch of salt depends on how salty you want it to be, adjust to your taste

Sauce for chicken

Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil

Method of cooking

Remove neck and "ass" fat from chicken and leave it aside. Rub the whole chicken with salt, give it a good massage and rub down, to clean the pores and remove all impurities on the chicken.

Rinse the salt off thoroughly. Rub the insides of the chicken with Chinese rice wine.

Stuff the cavity of chicken with ingredients for the chicken. Set it aside

In a pot, put enough water to submerge the whole chicken later. Put in some chicken bones/carcass, ginger, garlic and spring onions in the water and bring to boil. Keep it boiling for about 20mins to get the flavour of everything in the soup.

Put the whole chicken in, breast side down, keep it on a low boil for 5mins. Off the fire and leave it with lid on for 20-35mins. Poke a fork / chopstick through it, if it goes thru smoothly and comes out clear, chicken is ready.

Immediately submerge chicken in a big bowl of ice water (This is the stop the cooking process as well as give the skin of the chicken a better jelly texture) Leave it in the ice water for 10-15 mins.

Wash 2 cups of rice, drain the rice, ensure it's well drained.

Heat up a wok, throw in the chicken fat that you've set aside earlier. Fry it till the fat of the chicken has been extracted. Discard the remains of the chicken skin/fat.

Add mince ginger and garlic into the hot oil. Stir fry it on medium heat till it's fragrant. Do not brown it.

Add in the well-drained rice, stir fry till the rice grains turn opaque, sprinkle 2 pinch of salt to taste.

Transfer rice into a rice cooker, add the screw pine leaves and 2-2 1/2 cups of chicken stock. (Amount of water depends on how moist the rice grains were when you stir fry.  Cook the rice.

In the soup pot, you can now add in the wolf berries and solomon's seal. (This is something i added to add nutritional value to the soup.

Wolfberries is a natural supplement for improving eyesight especially if poor eyesight is caused by malnutrition, vessel expansion and inflammation. Consuming goji berries may help if you experience eye strain from staring at computer screens and documents for long periods of time. They are also beneficial for the liver. A healthy liver manifests in better looking eyes and vision. Traditional chinese medicine taught that any sickness in the liver can be observed from the eyes. For instance, people suffering from hepatitis or jaundice have very yellowish eyes.

Solomon's Seal It contains Vitamin A and is believed to be moisturizing and therefore an excellent herb for use in dry winters where skin tends to become very dry.  It is also used in the lowering of blood sugar levels and prevention of hardening of the arteries. Solomon's seal is believed to be excellent for alleviating a host of ills, including throat and lungs ailments. Excellent for diabetic patients suffering from thirst and dryness.

Optionally, you can just add in cabbage and fishballs into the soup too.

Wash and clean all the ingredients for the chilli,  put them in a blender, add in a dash of sesame oil and pinch of salt to taste, enough chicken stock to cover 1/3 of the ingredients in the blender.  Blend!  Voila...CHICKEN RICE CHILLI!!! :D

Remove chicken from ice water and let it air dry for about 30mins, you can do all these concurrently while you do the above.

Slice the chicken into your prefered thickness, you can choose to keep the bone or debone it.

In a bowl mix soy sauce with a dash of sesame oil and drizzle this sauce on the chicken.

Serve with chicken rice and a bowl of soup and of cos chilli sauce.

Stay tuned to our blog as we bring you more recipes later this week. :)

Bon appetit!
Monica Eng


  1. this chicken rice is like the most tender chicken I had. :P

  2. yummy looking....your photos are making me miss SG chicken rice! now....if i can just find the screwpine leaves....i think i can follow your recipe and make it over here! thanks for sharing!

  3. Actually, if you can't find screw pine leaves, you can just use some bay leaves instead. :D