Serves a Crowd

Hainanese Chicken Rice

September 27, 2018
7 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

Hainanese chicken rice, a classic $2 hawker stall dish in Malaysia and Singapore, elevates two humble ingredients—chicken and rice—into a cultural phenomenon worthy of a Michelin Bib Gourmand. —Jun

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Humble Chicken Rice Dish That's Changing What It Means to Get a Michelin Star. —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Hainanese Chicken Rice
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • Chicken and rice
  • 1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 three-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced into 5-6 pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch scallion
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 one-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed 2 to 3 times to rid it of its excess starch
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pandan leaves, optional
  • 1 cucumber, sliced, to garnish
  • 1 bunch cilantro, to garnish
  • Chili sauce
  • 5 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth, from above
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice, can be substituted by rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 one-inch piece of ginger
In This Recipe
  1. Trim any excess fat off the chicken, especially those around the nether-end. Reserve the fatty trimmings. Season the chicken with salt, making sure to season the cavity well. Stuff the chicken with the ginger, garlic, scallions, and star anise. Place the chicken in a large pot, and fill it with water until the chicken is completely submerged (around 4 quarts). When the water starts boiling, turn it down to a simmer, place the lid on the pot, and allow the chicken to cook for 20-25 minutes. (20 minutes is a good time for a 3-pound chicken in my experience.)
  2. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and transfer it to an ice bath. Leave it in the ice bath for 1 minute to halt the cooking process. Remove the chicken from the ice bath, and rub it all over with sesame oil. Let it rest while you prepare the rice and sauce.
  3. Meanwhile, add the ground white pepper into the chicken cooking broth, and boil until it has reduced by half.
  4. In a separate pot or saucepan, render the fat off any chicken trimmings you had from earlier by heating it over low heat for about 5 minutes. Then, discard the trimmings. Add in the vegetable oil, and sauté the minced shallots on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until aromatic, then add the minced garlic and ginger and continue sautéing for another minute or so, careful not to let the garlic burn. Then, add in the washed rice and give it a final sauté for a further 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and whole pandan leaves to the rice. Then, pour in the reduced chicken broth until the rice is submerged by ½ an inch of broth. Cook this over high heat until it boils, then turn it down to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or a little more if needed. When cooked, the rice should be glistening and fluffy, with the individual grains of rice still distinguishable. When done, let the rice sit uncovered for 5 minutes to let it steam, then season to taste.
  6. While waiting for your rice to cook, you can make the sauce by mixing together the sriracha, chicken broth, lime juice, minced garlic, and ginger. Prep the cucumber and cilantro garnishes and carve up the chicken at this point too.
  7. To serve the rice, you can go traditional and shape it into little mounds using a small Chinese bowl. Serve it with a few slices of chicken, the chilli dipping sauce, and garnish with cucumber slices and a few sprigs of cilantro. Oh, and don’t forget to serve up some of that aromatic chicken broth as a soup too!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mary-Ann
  • HungryJayne
  • Texas Ex
    Texas Ex
  • Susanna
  • Pkkell

9 Reviews

Mary-Ann October 18, 2019
I have made Hainanese Chicken using my sous vide equipment and have always been rewarded with tender juicy and flavorful chicken. I use the broth from a previous cooking to cook the rice. I did not realize star anise would go with this. I will try this next time I make hainanese chicken. I also like the idea is sautéing the rice first before transferring it to a rice cooker. Thank you for featuring this dish and for the helpful comments.
HungryJayne January 28, 2019
Delicious, and I doubled the recipe for a crowd and loved having leftover stock for future Hainanese rice. While I did follow step 4 for the rice, I did transfer and cook in the rice cooker for step 5, and it turned out just fine. I also paired this dish with Francis' Lam's ginger scallion sauce. Perhaps the only downside - although much of the time was passive - is that this was an all-day kitchen affair for me.
Texas E. January 4, 2019
We really enjoyed this dish. The chicken does cook quickly, so I'd say your directions are quite accurate. The chili sauce was perfect for this dish, and the broth was delicious as well. I might suggest using chicken broth instead of water for a deeper flavor. I used broth I had saved (and frozen) from another Hainanese chicken recipe, and the broth in this recipe was that much better.
Frederick S. December 11, 2018
This is a wonderful dish and I'm delighted that I took the time to make it...however there are two problems that can be problematic to finishing this dish. The first is to reorganize the recipe into three parts: sauce / chicken / rice. Keep them separate because I had a tendency to overlap the ingredients...I had trouble understanding whether the ingredients matched up phases of the cooking process. Secondly, I found redundancy in the directions (carving the chicken was mentioned twice in successive sentences) and there were no directions (other than an ice bath and coating the chicken with sesame oil) when the chicken finished cooking. My solution to serving cold (and delicious) chicken was to return items to the microwave. In the spirit of the recipe directions, I'd give this dish a "three thumbs up!"
Author Comment
Jun December 13, 2018
Thank you for your comments!! I really appreciate it; it really helps me write better recipes, heh! I've edited the directions to make it clearer.
Susanna November 2, 2018
I want to try this, but I’m pretty shocked that you say a whole chicken can cook through in 20 to 25 minutes? Really? I’d think a minimum of 45 minutes or an hour.
Author Comment
Jun November 2, 2018
Oh it does cook up pretty quickly though! Though my 3-pound chicken might be on the small side. But if you're using larger chickens, 25-30 minutes should do it!
Leah W. December 3, 2018
Since it's cooked in water, it cooks much faster than roasting a chicken. A chicken simmered for an hour would be very overcooked and sad. I've accidentally done that! This timing lines up with when I've brought a chicken to a boil then simmered until cooked through.
Pkkell October 29, 2018
Finally!!! This has been a lunchtime staple of my weekday diet for years.