Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe

What you’ll learn:

  • Choosing the right chicken for your Hainanese Chicken Rice
  • How to cook the perfect Hainanese Chicken
  • The best way to prepare Hainanese Rice
  • Preparing Chilli dipping sauce for Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hi there! Please welcome guest writer (and Steamy Kitchen intern) Jess from  Jess’s Many Mini Adventures in Food and Farming. She’s an amazing, passionate gal who loves food as much as I do. She’s here to share her family’s Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe.


Hey all,

Jess here, Steamy Kitchen’s new intern. That’s me chewing on a mango in my tiny kitchen preparing for a meal at Synergy Farm (a farm on an island!) where I intern at. I’m actually in my kitchen right now on my lunch break, looking out at the barn and the carrots in the north garden, IMG_2877munching on a quesadilla with beet greens and feeling amazed all over again at how I ended up here, on a farm, writing to all of you wonderful readers!

I’ve been here since late March, just after my 24th birthday. Before that, I was living in Cambodia helping girls get an education; before Cambodia, I was working at Google, and waaaaaay back before then (well not so long ago, actually) I ran an afterschool program in the bay area. I love adventure, and I love to consider the small ways I can change the world for the better, and over the past few years, I’ve become convinced that my way of making my world better is through food.

Growing up in Orange County, California, I never thought much about where my In-N-Out Burger or spicy tuna roll came from. Every since I was 4 years old perched on a kitchen stool, stirring up Betty Crocker, I’ve always been in love with food: cooking it, eating it, playing with it. I love cooking with friends; chopping veggies gives me a high like no other; but it was only recently that I’ve become fascinated with how our food is grown, processed and distributed to us and also how it affects our health, our environment and our communities. I figured it made sense to get down in the dirt and learn more about these issues firsthand, so I became an apprentice on a small organic farm in the beautiful San Juan Islands.

So what’s all this got to do with blogging? The food blogging community has been a way for me to connect with other people who think and care about food as much as I do. I’m completely inspired by all the amazing folks out there sharing their recipes and opinions and lives. Jaden’s agreed to transmit some of her samurai skills in cooking and food writing to me so I can join in the fun.

All this food love had to come from somewhere, and I tend to attribute a lot of it to good genes. My mum’s side of the family is Singaporean and I grew up in a whirlwind of popiah, freshly baked curry puffs, and beef rendang. Though I’m open to all kinds of cuisines, I hold a special place in my heart for a good plate of chili crab or chicken satay.

When I was small my family made many trips to my grandparents’ house back in Singapore. Early in the mornings, before it got unbearably hot, my grandpa would head down to the local hawker center (a food court with lots of different stalls) to pick up breakfast. He would come back to the house with a bag full of packets wrapped in banana leaves, still hot, shiny with oil, and intensely fragrant. We’d each carefully unwrap our packet, uncover the pieces of tender, perfectly steamed chicken on top of savory rice. We’d tuck in to the fragrant ginger-garlic-chickeny heaven, topped in our favorite combinations of magical sauces and eat till we were ready to face the sticky tropical day.

These days you can still find Hainanese chicken rice in hawker centers across the island for a couple of dollars a plate, and also in high-end restaurants serving up authentic cuisine. This is what a hawker center looks like — like a mall food court, only with mee goreng and peanut soup instead of Sbarro!

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Singaporean Hawker

Hainanese Chicken Rice often called Singapore’s national dish. When I was a kid and my family would go back to visit Singapore, I had three loves: fried bananas, paratha, and chicken rice. When I was visiting family last November, it was one of the first things they took me to eat — the carcasses in the stall beckoned to me with the promise of super-fresh tender chicken — some things just don’t change.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Singaporean Hawker

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Authentic Singaporean Dish

Though Hainanese Chicken Rice gets its name from its origins in Hainan, China, it was really when overseas Chinese brought the dish to Singapore that it got a new personality and became famous.

According to my mom, this recipe is really only authentic when made with a “kampong” chicken, which means basically, a chicken from the village: the kind that roam around in the sun and eat whatever grubs and grass and scraps of rice are available. These kinds of chickens look pretty skinny by our standards, but they have an amazing flavor that I can only describe as “extremely chickeny.”

Here on the farm, we raise the closest equivalent to a “kampong” chicken that you’ll likely find in the US — not as scrawny, but pretty much as delicious. Our chickens are organically fed and pasture-raised, which means they get to spend their days outside, hanging out in the sun, roam in the grass, pecking at greens and grubs. We raise about 120 in each batch and they take about 8 weeks to go from chick to chicken rice. As my mentor, Farmer Susan likes to say, these chickens live a really really good life and then have one really bad day. They are ridiculously good just boiled plain in a pot of water and salted slightly.


All that good care makes these chickens more pricey than your average bird and on a farmer’s salary, it’s tough to afford them, but thankfully in our chicken processing just a couple weeks ago, I was able to snag a couple of tiny 2-pounders that we wouldn’t be able to sell, that were just perfect for chicken rice.

Hello guys and gals, it’s Jaden back again – Jess gave me her recipe for Hainanese Chicken Rice and I made it to show you step by step instructions! It’s a multi-step recipe, with 4 components:

1) Chicken
2) Rice
3) Chili Dipping Sauce

oh yes, the soup too, but you don’t really have to do much other ladle into the bowls.

So, let’s start with the CHICKEN.

How to cook Hainanese Chicken

This is an organic supermarket chicken (I wish we were all as lucky as Jess to be able to have fresh chicken!) Here’s the deal about the chicken. You gotta buy the best. Because this Hainanese Chicken Rice dish is all about the pure taste of the chicken, you really want to go with organic. It’s worth the money for your health, the environment and taste buds.

When you buy a whole chicken and are cooking it skin-on, and ESPECIALLY if you’re steaming or poaching the thing, you want to make sure you get the “nasties” off.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Step by step photos

I’m sure by looking at this photo you know what I mean. What I’m after is smooth, unblemished skin.

So I give my guy a facial.

Yes, I’m totally serious!

I exfoliate my chicken.

Wow, I can’t believe I just confessed to you that I give my chickens a spa treatment. Please don’t think I’m strange! Please tell me that you do this too!??????

Start with a small handful of kosher salt. Regular table salt is too fine to use to exfoliate. Sea salt is too expensive. Just use kosher salt. Oh and even if you don’t have that loose skin on your chicken, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to exfoliate — there’s still hidden guck and yuck that is trapped in that chicken skin. TRUST ME. Your chicken will look and taste better this way.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Rub chicken with salt


Be gone wrinkles!

Be gone trapped guck!

Be gone dead skin! <- yes, I know that sounded ridiculous on so many levels.

Work those pores!

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Rub chicken with salt

Rinse, pat dry and ta-da!!!







Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Step by step photos

Check those lovely pores.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Step by step photos

Season the inside and outside the chicken with salt and stuff the bird with ginger and green onions. Remember, you are not only seasoning the chicken, but also the poaching water too, so be generous with the salt. I generally double the amount of salt that I would normally use on a chicken. I’ll show you how much water we’re adding in a sec.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Stuff chicken with ginger and green onions

Put it in a big pot and fill with water to just cover by 1 inch. Note that some of the stuffing might fall out. Which is totally okay. Don’t worry.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Put chicken in big pot and fill with water

Bring that baby to a boil and then immediately turn the heat to low to keep a simmer. You’ll begin to see some of that scum. Now hey, if we didn’t exfoliate our chicken, I bet that scum would be a lot browner. I have a handy dandy scum skimmer. If you don’t have a scum skimmer, buy one, it’s only $2!

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Boil chicken with stuffings

After simmering on the lowest heat (just enough for little tiny bubbles to break surface) and your chicken reaches the correct temp (take the chicken temperature at the thickest part of the thigh that’s not touching bone, it should read 170F). This is is done!

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Boil chicken with stuffings

Prepare an ice bath and immediately lift the chicken out of the pot with 2 big slotted spoons or 2 big fat spatulas.

Here’s a tip. Don’t try to grab the chicken legs to pull the chicken out. You’ll end up tearing the skin and heh, maybe even tearing the drumsticks outta the chicken which results in you standing there holding two drumsticks and the rest of the chicken plopping back into the boiling hot broth which then splashes back on your arms and face. Speaking from experience, of course.

Oh, and don’t even THINK about pouring that clean, delicious broth down the sink! We’ll be using that to cook the rice, prepare the sauce and to drink as soup! So, remember, gently lift the chicken out from under and try not to disturb its delicate (and exfoliated!) skin.

My pot of ice water wasn’t big enough, but it worked, I just turned the chicken over a few times to make sure both sides were cooled. Why are we doing this, you ask!? Ha! I thought you’d never ask. Well let me tell ya. Plunging in an ice bath stops the cooking process immediately AND tightens the skin, making it springy and firm. The quality of the chicken skin is important in this dish! It’s all about the skin texture.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Plunge chicken in ice bath

See here? That’s your soup! Season with salt if necessary.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Step by step photos

How to cook Hainanese Rice

I use Jasmine rice, or long grained rice. Of course, feel free to sub with whatever rice you want, but I prefer Jasmine white rice. I’m using 2 cups of rice. Rinse the rice grains several times in water to get rid of excess starch and other rice cling-ons. Then let the rice soak in water for 10 minutes.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Hainanese Rice

Drain the rice completely, as much as possible.

Grab a pot and saute the garlic and the ginger. Mmmm…can you smell that??

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Hainanese Rice

Add the drained rice to the pot.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Hainanese Rice

Fry the rice grains for a couple of minutes…this gives the rice SO much flavor! I like to add a bit of salt to the rice if the broth isn’t already salted.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Hainanese Rice

Remember that broth? Well, pour 2 cups of this into the pot. Normally when cooking rice, I’d go with a ratio of 1 cup rice : 1.25 cups water/broth. But since we’ve already soaked the rice and the rice has absorbed some of the water, I’m going with 1:1. Bring the rice to a boil, then immediately turn the heat to low, cover tightly and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest (still covered! no peeking!) for 5-10 more minutes. Done.

Oh, if you have a rice cooker, even better! After sauteing the garlic, ginger, rice – just add that into your rice cooker with the broth.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Hainanese Rice

Perfect rice.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Hainanese Rice

Chili Sauce for Hainanese Chicken Rice

If you’re a fan of sriracha chili sauce, this will knock your socks off. Jess puts sriracha, lime, sugar, salt, couple tablespoons of that lovely chicken broth, garlic and ginger into a blender and wheeeeeee:

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Chilli Sauce

Voila….Jess’s Hainanese Chicken Rice:

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe - Garnish with cucumber and cilantro


Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe


Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour

While your chicken is cooking, it helps to prepare the ingredients for your chili sauce and rice. Both of these are usually assembled after the chicken is done because they require the chicken broth, but you can get started washing and soaking the rice, chopping the garlic and ginger before then. In this recipe, all of the poaching broth is reserved -- some is used in the rice, a small amount is used in the chili sauce, and the remainder is saved to be heated and served as a simple soup to accompany the chicken.


1 whole chicken (3.5 lbs, 1.8kg), preferably organic
kosher salt
4'' section of fresh ginger, in 1/4'' slices
2 stalks green onions, cut into 1" sections (both the green and white parts)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoon chicken fat or 2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1'' section of ginger, finely minced
2 cups long-grain uncooked rice, washed and soaked in cool water for 10 min or longer
2 cups reserved chicken poaching broth
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoon reserved chicken poaching broth
2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce
4 cloves garlic
1'' ginger
a generous pinch of salt, to taste

1/4 cup dark soy sauce
Few sprigs cilantro
1 cucumber, thinly sliced or cut into bite-sized chunks


1. To clean the chicken, with a small handful of kosher salt, rub the chicken all over, getting rid of any loose skin and dirt. Rinse chicken well, inside and outside. Season generously with salt inside and outside. Stuff the chicken with the ginger slices and the green onion. Place the chicken in a large stockpot and fill with cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then immediately turn the heat to low to keep a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes more (less if you're using a smaller chicken). Check for doneness by sticking a chopstick into the flesh under the leg and see if the juices run clear or insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone. It should read 170F.

2. When the chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Immediately lift and transfer the chicken into a bath of ice water to cool and discard the ginger and green onion. Don't forget to reserve the poaching broth for your rice, your sauce, and the accompanying soup. The quick cooling will stop the cooking process, keeping the meat soft and tender, and giving the skin a lovely firm texture.

3. To cook the rice: Drain the rice. In a wok or sauce pan (use a medium sauce pan if you plan on cooking the rice on the stove top), heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the ginger and the garlic and fry until your kitchen smells like heaven. Be careful not to burn the aromatics! Add in your drained rice and stir to coat, cook for 2 minutes. Add the sesame oil, mix well.

To make the rice on the stove: In the same sauce pan, add 2 cups of your reserved poaching broth, add salt and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit (with lid still on) for 5-10 minutes more.

To cook rice in a rice cooker: Pour aromatics and rice (after frying) into your rice cooker, add 2 1/2 cups of your reserved poaching broth and salt. Follow the instructions for your model (usually this will just mean "turn it on!")

4. While your rice is cooking, remove the chicken from the ice bath and rub the outside of the chicken with the sesame oil. Carve the chicken for serving.

5. To make the chili sauce: Blend your chili sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth and bright red.

6. To make the soup: You should have six or seven cups of the reserved poaching broth left over to serve as soup. Just before serving, heat up the soup, taste and season with salt as necessary.

Serve the chicken rice with chili sauce, dark soy sauce, cucumber slices, and a bowl of hot broth garnished with cilantro or scallions

More Recipes to Explore:

Chinese Boiled Peanuts Recipe (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe (Steamy Kitchen)

Aged Sriracha Hot Sauce Recipe (Steamy Kitchen)

Sichuan Red Oil Wontons (Rasa Malaysia)

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Comments 295

  1. Pitza

    Just made this tOnight and it turned out great! Hard work but certainly worth it! Thanks for the post! This reminds me of Singapore when we got stranded during the icelandic volcano erupted in 2010.

  2. joy

    i’m a malaysian student in the states and just tried this last week. it tasted GLORIOUS. thanks so much for sharing! it was very comforting to taste home food 🙂 i mixed some soy sauce, honey and sesame oil to create a sauce and covered it all over the chicken, as mentioned by a previous commenter. adding this recipe on pinterest and hoping this spreads. 🙂

  3. NerdsWithFood

    That looks amazing! And I love the little salt exfoliation you gave the chicken. 🙂 My grandfather used to take any fatty chicken bits and toss it in with the ginger and garlic during the browning process. He used to tell me that a little oily “sheen” on the rice was a good thing. I will have to try your recipe sometime soon!

  4. Vincent

    This is an awesome recipe! I’ve used it like 4 times now and it still surprises me everytime. Gotta go… going to make this recipe again!

  5. Carol Wan

    This is my husband’s favorite dish, and he made this tonight for me/us – I’m pregnant. I was so impressed by how it came out. I see my husband in a whole new light now! Your recipe is certainly a keeper.

  6. tomaculum

    Hi, Jess, thanks for these recipe and the lovely direction. I’ll try to cook it this week end with my daughter.
    Regards, from Germany,

  7. Phong Nguyen

    This was an amazing recipe! Some friends who recently visited Singapore just gave their approval

  8. Clem

    There is no such thing as Hainan chicken in Hainan. I have been to the island 6 times and Wenchang is one of the counties in Hainan, the north east corner, near Haikou, the provincial capital.

    Wenchang version is considered the best in cooking chicken and Wenchang is where majority of the Hainanese in Singapore and Malaysia came from – Their ancestoral home about 90% of them.

    The township of Tan-niu is where the best bred chicken suitable for the cooking so called the Hainan Chicken. In Haikou, I have umpteen pictures about eateries selling Wenchang chickens, and Tanniu chickens but no Hainan chicken, If you see Tanniu, the the price goes up, for real or not. The name Tanniu fetches a higher price

  9. Amber

    Absolutely delicious, the sauce was wonderful and the instructions were foul proof. I trim some of the excess skin from the chicken’s rear to sautée which created instant chicken oil for the rice 🙂

  10. Jane

    So impressed by your post. As i read on is like also following along with the process. Liked!!!

  11. Patty

    Spot on! I bought some chicken rice soy sauce last time I was in Singapore so that I could try this recipe when I got home. Followed the recipe as written and everything came out just right. Thanks!

  12. snow white 88

    Hi Jess, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this recipe. I’m pregnant and living away from asia so it was very difficult for me to get a pack of chicken rice when the craving starts! Love the recipe, great work and thank you for sharing it!!



    I thank you for your sharing of the Chicken Rice Recipe.

    However, may I ask, how long do you immerse the chicken in the ice-water bath, please? Then, do you serve the chicken cold or you reheat the chicken? If so, how do you do that?

    I hope to hear from you soon. Once again, thank you very much!

    GOD BLESS!! ORA Et. Labora!

  14. Renny

    Hi – we just tried to make this recipe but the time you put on (30 minutes) to poach the chicken was completely wrong. It looks like it will have needed more like an hour to be cooked through. We used a small chicken so we don’t know why it didn’t cook through at all. Renny

  15. Shaun

    Hi! I just wanted to say that I have been using this recipe often for about a year. I tweak it sometimes and change up the sauces but your core explanation of techniques rocks! I have quite literally changed peoples whole perspectives on what flavors and textures they thought they liked in multiple countries because of this recipe. So I guess that means that you did that too. Good job and thanks a bunch!

  16. joann

    This recipe is great, delicious, and authentic. Really brought me back to my time in Singapore. The chili sauce is especially good – just like the stuff at the hawker centers. Thanks!

  17. Parry Nauman

    I would like to share this recipe to my mother in law, i am staying in pakistan with my husband’s family,my husband and me want to serve simple and nice chinese foods for them, thanks for share.. because i was thinking which type of food can find the ingredients easity here, thanks god here can find sesame oil, but light soya sauce dont have taste sell here… but might be i can try to cook in pakistan here

  18. LJensen

    Nice! I was in Singapore last summer and had Hainanese Chicken Rice at Tian Tian’s in the Maxwell food court. It tasted amazing!!!
    I noticed when I had it, and it is also visible on one of the pictures in this article, that there was a light brown, slightly thick, and very pleasant sort-of-gravy over the chicken. Not much, but it added to the experience.
    I do not see that address here in your article/recipe.

    I followed your recipe and method described here and it came out delicious and just as tender and juicy as I remember the chicken (and flavorful rice) when I had it at Tian Tian’s.
    I did two modifications, though, one of them to address the gravy I mentioned above:

    a) I cut off a little bit of fat from the chicken and preserved it. I used it to fry the rice in before adding the broth (naturally, I melted the fat in the pan before adding the rice).

    b) To make the gravy (you need very little), I scooped out a couple of laddles of the broth into a sauce pan and brought it to a simmer. I then added to the broth about 1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water. This made it have the right thickness ala gravy (although not very thick!). To give it a better and more appetizing color (plus, enhanced flavor), I gave it a few drops of dark soy sauce, and whisked it well.
    This really came out to resemble what I had in Singapore, whether I made it the right way or not…

    I live in Orange County, California, and for the chicken I went to Dakao Poultry Store in Westminster (Little Saigon area), they have fresh (!!!) chicken there and they taste so much better than regular supermarket bought chicken.

    Thanks for a great article!!!

  19. Kayla

    Wow, this recipe is absolutely delicious and authentic! I tried a previous recipe with store-bought chicken broth and it just wasn’t the same. Chicken rice should have an oily sheen to it, which this one did :). It’s crucial to render down some chicken fat to fry the rice grains in. We followed the recipe exactly, except for the chili sauce – instead we opted to make a sauce from minced green onion, minced ginger, salt, and hot oil (yum!). Also, we ended up leaving the chicken in the ice bath too long, and it wasn’t very warm afterwards … so we microwaved it right before serving. In the future, I think a minute in the ice bath will do.

  20. Su-Chong Lim

    Hey Jess!
    Love your post. I left Singapore in the mid-70s and have lived in Calgary in Canada since, otherwise I could well be your Grandpa!! You got the whole ambience of the Hawker food shopping and the tender unwrapping of the bought food at home just right!! Love your recipe, although I have been using variants of that theme, myself, for years. For those having never experienced the original, it might be worth mentioning that the chicken doesn’t have to be hot, or even warm; cold from the ice-bath would be too much, I guess, but room temperature is ok or slightly warmer than that, maybe. The real warmth comes from the hot rice. Secondly, the instructions say “carve” the chicken for serving. Well, I guess that’s probably recommended for white guys — my wife can’t stand bones in her mouth — but for me, (if you recall the true Singapore version) nothing beats the way they did/do it there, chop the chicken up neatly into standard sections, then chop the sections up into bite sized pieces right through the bones and all. And you never mentioned the body parts — liver, heart, gizzards, which I love. Particularly, I bet they don’t sell the chicken intestines in Singapore any more, too gross, and certainly not in Canada and USA!! lol.

  21. Riana

    I made this tonight, it was absolutely flavourful yet simple. It reminds me of a true village style dish. I’ve never been to Singapore, but my partner loves any Asian food, he is Indonesian. His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when I served this up to him tonight. Lovely, thank you for the delicious homestyle and authentic recipe, I enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed eating it! Will definitely be making this more often 🙂 I might have to go and have the Kampong chicken in Singapore.

  22. bazzabuzz

    A note to the author. Great stuff and thank you for helping spread the news about Singapore’s ‘national dish’.

    Have a recommendation about the chilli…I used to work in a chicken rice stall back in the day. Here’s what I used to do and still do when making Hainanese Chicken Rice Chilli Sauce.

    5 Large Chillies
    1 Chilli Padi (for punch)
    Ginger the size of 3 thumbs
    4 – 5 cloves of Garlic
    2 – 3 Green Limes (the little ones you find in Asia…not Kaffir lime though)
    Chicken Stock you kept from boiling the chicken

    Skin the ginger, take out the garlic from its ‘skin’, squeeze the lime juice ensuring no seeds and just slice of the green parts on top of the chillies (large and small). Put it all into a blender and blitz it to a pulp…it’s quite thick at this point. Then add in the chicken stock slowly until it becomes a semi-watery consistency. Shouldn’t be too watery but then it shouldn’t be too much of a paste either.

    The portions are just a guide and feel free to adjust according to individual preferences.

    Hope someone will try this out and let me know if this has given your chicken rice a booster.


    1. Jessica

      hey, ive tried your recipe before and it really reallly nice! but i overly put the chilli paddy so very spicy. However, it is really nice to eat it with the chicken rice. nyum nyum.. Now im going to cook this recipe again and do the same chili again.. Hopefully this time it works! Thanks!

      1. bazzabuzz

        Hi Jessica,
        thanks for your comments. Glad you tried out the chilli and hopefully it lived up to expectations 🙂

        The one you made was too spicy coz of chilli padis eh? No worries, that happens coz of the varying degrees of heat the chilli padis give out. Instead of just throwing it out, what we do is we pare it down by making a whole new portion but this time, remove the chillis altogether and halve all the other ingredients. When done, we then combine the original spicy version with the non chilli version. Still the same effect we get.

  23. siti

    Omg… I made this for lunch and it tasted amazing!! Better than some hawker stall selling chicken rice in sg. I used the rice cooker to cook the chicken and it came very tender and juicy!!! Other than that i followed the exact recipe given.. Two thumbs up!!!

  24. anon

    Awesome! I made this tonight and my whole family loved it. We have our favorite restaurants that have this dish and this was just as good. Thanks!

  25. Dex

    This is a great article with all the pictures to eliminate guess work.
    Keep up the good work.

    (Malaysian here, but living in America with some backyard meat chickens)
    One comment though, kampung chicken are brown feathered chickens which are smaller because they take a longer time to grow. The chickens in your pictures are a Cornish Hen Variety which are the cheap chickens in Asia. They take about 5-6 weeks to grow to maturity age. Yeah that fast. So their meat is softer. (Pak Jum Kai-Cantonese). Only way to get real true kampung chicken is to raise one your self. Those take 4-6 months to mature.

  26. Su-Chong Lim


    I live in Suburban Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Nice idea, but I checked, Calgary Bye-Law specifically has addressed the issue of raising chickens within city limits. Sorry, no ayam. Not even if you call them pets lol. Too bad. Gotta depend on Safeway, as usual, for quick-grow chicken, no doubt laced with steroids and growth hormones.

  27. Jean Bateson

    I used to live in Singapore and my favourite place to have chicken rice was The Mandarin Hotel. I now live back in Yorkshire UK, but have many happy memories of eating in the food courts and resaurants on the fibulas island of Singapore

  28. nomad

    To Bazzabuzz: I tried your chicken rice chilli recipe. It was ON POINT! Tasted just like any hawker center chilli, almost better. Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

  29. Amy

    This is an amazing recipe! I used it often when my family was living in Luxembourg, and my children really missed their favourite food 🙂 but now that we are back in Singapore, where chicken rice is so easily available, I find that this dish still wows when I cook it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  30. Su-Chong Lim

    Just curious — I am impressed that your home cooked chicken rice matches the taste of the “professionally cooked” sellers. I am trying to get my own version up to par. But why bother in Singapore, if the hawkers are so conveniently available (unlike for us in North America, for example)?

  31. Rich

    Can anybody tell me, is the chicken served cold (after being plunged), or is it reheated in anyway?

  32. Rich

    Thank you for the reply. I’ve just tried it today and I, and my wife, wasn’t disappointed. Very nice indeed.
    I’m guessing there’s variations on this dish?

  33. Bazzabuzz

    Typically, the chickens are plunged into extremely cold water and left there for about 15 minutes to stop the continued cooking from the residual heat. This also helps firm up the skin so that during the process of de-boning, the skin stays in tact for a better presentation. After 15 minutes, the chicken is then taken out of the ice bath, hung and left to return to room temperature. It is normally only cut up and de-boned prior to serving. That is the most authentic way to do Hainanese Chicken Rice. The chicken is almost never served warm – only the rice – which tends to warm up the room temperature chicken a little if placed on top of the rice.

  34. Bazzabuzz

    Yes there is another variation to this dish but it won’t be called Hainanese Chicken anymore. It is drunken chicken. Preparation is pretty much the same for the chicken. But once you are done with the chicken and have de-boned, carved it up, set it in a deep bowl. Mix 1/4 a cup of Shaoxing wine, 1/8 cup of rice wine, 1/4 cup of chicken soup, 1/4 cup of regular soya sauce (not the dark one). Double the amount if required. Once done, pour over the chicken to make sure it covers all the chicken meat. Cover the container with clingwrap and put into refrigerator – this is so the cooked chicken soaks in the marinade. Let it sit and best overnight. If you don’t have luxury of time, make sure it sits marinating for at least 4 hours so prepare way in advance. When serving, just add a few sprigs of spring onions, cilantro (or chinese parseley) and red chilli strips.

  35. bill

    My fb friend from Singapore said this is her FAVORITE Spore dish. She now lives in Japan but still fixes dishes from home.

  36. yalexis

    Hey there! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe! Just tried it out earlier.. dinner was awesome and everyone wanted more! The rice is perfectly packed with fragrance… Usually I will steam the chicken.. but poaching seems to have it cooked better as a whole.. very succulent and tastefull!! Thank you so much!!

  37. chiew

    hi! i wanted to say thank you for this wonderful recipe! i tried it today and it turned out awesome! i did put a little too much salt in each component so when I eat those together it’s a little bit too salty. but that’s my first try, i’ll make it better next time. Anyway, i’m surprised that making this hainan chicken rice isn’t so hard. thank you for your recipe, i’ll definitely make this again!

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