Recipe for lip-smacking Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice. (Gerald Lee pic)

Nothing says “home” more than a plate of classic Hainanese Chicken Rice. Just like a family, all the components of the dish work together to create an exquisite combination of sweet, sour and heat.

This recipe is really only authentic when made with a “kampung” or free range chicken. You can experiment and see for yourself by trying out the recipe below.


Poached Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, salted, cleaned and washed
  • 2 stalks of spring onion
  • 6 slices of young ginger
  • 3 pieces of chicken stock cube, without MSG


  • 850 g Thai jasmine rice, washed
  • 40 g of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 2 bulbs of garlic – halved
  • 60 g of young ginger
  • 7–8 pandan leaves, knotted
  • 5 cups of poached chicken liquid

Seasoning liquid

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce

Ginger sauce

  • 3 shallots, remove skin and sliced thinly
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 60g of ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of concentrated chicken stock

Chilli sauce

  • 22 fresh red chillies, remove seeds and cut into 1 cm-pieces
  • 1 bulb of garlic, remove skin
  • 50 g of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • Juice from 15 calamansi
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of plum sauce


Poached Chicken

  • Make sure chicken is cleaned and the cavity at the neck are open to ensure the chicken stock flows through.
  • Stuff the spring onions and ginger into the chicken.
  • Seal the rear of the chicken with tooth picks.
  • Boil water with three pieces of chicken stock and chicken feet before immersing the whole chicken into the boiling water completely.
  • Bath the chicken with scoops of the boiling water. This process helps to shrink and tighten up the chicken skin.
  • Leave the chicken in the boiling stock for 20 minutes with the lid close.
  • Switch off the heat and leave the chicken inside for another 30 minutes with the lid off.
  • Prepare a pot of ice and cold water.
  • Gently scoop the chicken out from the hot stock and dip the chicken into the ice water till cool to touch. This step helps to keep the chicken moist and tender.
  • Scoop it out and leave it aside for 10 minutes.
  • Cut the whole chicken and arrange the pieces on a nice big plate.
  • Before serving, add the season liquid ( see recipe below).


  • Heat up the oil in the wok on medium heat.
  • Add in the garlic and ginger. Keep an eye on the process as you want to cook the garlic until it’s aromatic, but not until it starts to burn or become crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • In the rice cooker, add in the butter, the fried garlic and young ginger. Add in the rice as well as chicken stock.
  • Mix well and place the pandan leaves in.
  • Let the rice cook.

Ginger Sauce

  • Heat oil in a wok on medium heat and fry shallots till semi golden brown.
  • Add in ginger and fry till fragrant for five minutes.
  • Add in sugar, salt, sesame oil and concentrated chicken stock.
  • Fry till all are well combined.

Chilli Sauce

  • Add all ingredients into the blender.
  • Add in two tablespoons of water.
  • Blend all together till a paste is formed.

Serving Liquid

  • In a wok, add all the ingredients used in the serving liquid. Heat them on medium heat.
  • Stir continuously until boiling.

For more of Justine Lim’s recipes, go to her Instagram page or follow Butterkicap’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

This article first appeared in Butterkicap is a food and culture platform and community that enables anyone to experience Malaysia through stories of her people, food and places.