Singapore-Style Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe: One of Singapore’s most famous dishes that people all around the world must definitely try when they visit Singapore. Today I will teach you step-by-step how to make this at home, together with home-made chilli sauce and spring onion oil.
Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of Singapore’s most famous dishes that people all around the world must definitely try when they visit Singapore.
For many of my Thai friends, whenever they visit Singapore, the first thing on their to-do list is to head for Boon Tong Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice stall at Balestier Road. Even though they have ‘Khao Mun Kai’ (Thai version of Hainanese Chicken Rice) in Thailand, they really enjoy the Singapore version of chicken rice.
When I stayed in Thailand many years ago, I tried a few times to cook Singapore-style Hainanese chicken rice, but somehow it did not turn out as expected. Finally, I concluded that it was due to the different breed of chicken in Thailand. The meat of the chicken is too soft and it falls apart prior to cutting. Moreover, the skin is not as smooth as the chicken we get in Singapore, which gives Hainanese Chicken Rice chicken its signature smooth and gelatinous texture.
After many years of trial and error, I am pleased to say that I think I have finally found the best and ONLY Singapore-style Hainanese Chicken Rice recipe you ever need – so do keep this handy (or pin it to your Pinterest board) as you will probably need it one day!
Note: For Special Diets, please read the notes at the bottom for suggested modifications.
The Only Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe You Need
Hainanese Chicken Rice is a dish that all Singaporeans hold dear to our hearts.
INGREDIENTS FOR HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE RECIPE (serves 6)
- Rice (White Jasmine Rice), 3 cups
- Oil + chicken fats, 4-5 TBsp
- Chicken stock, 3 cups
- Grated Ginger, 1 thumb size ( about 1 1/2 TBsp)
- Chopped Garlic, 6 cloves (about 2 TBsp)
- Pandan Leaves, 8 leaves (fold into 2 bundles)
- Salt, 1- 1 1/2 tsp
- Dark Soya Sauce to serve with the rice
- Chicken, 1 (about 1-1.2 kg)
- Water, 3 litre ( or just enough water to submerge the whole chicken)
- Ginger, 5-6 Slices
- Pandan Leaves, 4
- Cucumber, 1
- Parsley, 1 bunch
- A basin of ice water
- Sesame Oil, 2 TBsp
Spring Onion Oil
- Spring Onions, 2 Bundles
- Oil, 10 TBsp
- Garlic, 6 cloves
- Ginger, 1 thumb size
- Chilli padi, 3
- Big red chilli, 6
- Salt, a pinch
- Vinegar, 1 tsp
- Sugar, 1 tsp
- Chicken Stock, 2 TBsp
- Ketchup, 1 tsp
- Lime, 1-2
Sauce to pour over the Hainanese Chicken (Optional)
- Sesame Oil, 1 TBsp
- Light Soya Sauce, 2 TBs
- Shaoxing Wine, 1 TBsp
- Sugar, 1 tsp
- Chicken stock, 2 TBsp
PREPARATION FOR HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE RECIPE (1 hr)
- Wash the rice and soak for 20 mins. Drain dry for another 20 mins and set aside.
- Remove all the innards from the cavity of the chicken. Remove any remnant feathers from the skin. Rub both the inside and outside of the chicken with coarse salt to exfoliate all the dead skin from the chicken (otherwise the chicken will smell). After that, wash the chicken thoroughly and set aside to drain.
- Cut out the fats from the chicken and set aside for later use.
- Peel the garlic (6 Cloves) and ginger ( 1 Thumb size) and blend them finely for the sauce.
- Cut 6 slices of ginger and set aside (to stuff into the chicken).
- Wash the pandan leaves and fold it up into 2 bundles.
- Wash the 2 bundles of spring onions. Cut off the white sections and set aside. Cut the green sections into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
- Insert the 6 slices of ginger, the white section of the spring onion and 1 bundle of pandan leaves into the cavity of the chicken. Use a few tooth picks to seal up the cavity to prevent the stuffing from falling out during cooking.
- Wash the cucumber. Cut off both ends. Use 1 of the cut parts to rub both ends of the cucumber in a circular motion until you see some milky stuff coming out. Cut off the both ends again.
- Slice the cucumber to use as garnishing and side salad, by using one of the two methods: 1) Use a fork to create furrows along the length of the cucumber for decoration, then slice the cucumber 2) Cut the cucumber lengthwise. Use a metal spoon to scoop out all the seeds. Wash it and slice it diagonally.
- Wash the parsley and cut it into 2″ lengths and set aside.
- For the chilli sauce:- Wash and blend the big chilli and chilli padi together with the ginger and garlic in a blender finely. Transfer into a small bowl. Add in 1 tsp of vinegar, 1 tsp sugar,1 tsp ketchup, 1 lime, 2 TBsp chicken stock and a pinch of salt to the chilli mixture and mix well.
COOKING METHOD FOR HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE RECIPE (1 1/2 hrs)
- In a pot, add the 3 litres of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, hold the chicken by the neck and immerse the whole chicken into the water and lift it up. Repeat this 3 times and finally immerse the whole chicken into the water completely. Before you immerse the chicken, fold the wings of the chicken backwards (see picture below). This enables you to lift the chicken from under the wings, without breaking the chicken skin.
- Cover the pot with a lid. Once the water is boiling (after about 5 mins), turn the heat to low and let the chicken simmer for another 10 mins. After that, switch off the heat and do not open the cover. Let it simmer in the water for another 35 mins.
- Meanwhile prepare a basin of ice water. Once the chicken is cooked, lift it up from under the wings using a pair of chopsticks and plunge it into the ice water for about 20 mins.
- Remove the chicken and transfer onto a plate. Rub the whole chicken with 2 TBsp sesame oil.
- In a wok add in 3 TBsp of oil and the chicken fats and fry till oil is extracted from the chicken fats. Discard the crispy chicken fats once it turns golden brown.
- Add in 1 1/2 TBsp of grated ginger, 2 TBsp chopped garlic and fry till aromatic but do not burn the garlic. Quickly add in the washed rice and mix well. Add in the 1-1 1/2 tsp salt to the rice and mix well.
- Transfer the rice mixture into the rice cooker. Pour in 3 cups of chicken stock. Place a bundle of pandan on top of the rice and cook.
- One the rice is cooked, remove the pandan leaves and loosen the rice with a pair of chopstick.
- In a sauce pan, heat up 10 TBsp of oil over high heat. Once it starts to smoke, pour it over all the spring onion evenly and you will hear a sizzling sound. That’s when the aromatic smell emerges from the spring onion.
- Remove the stuffing from the chicken and cut into bite size and arrange nicely on a serving plate. See my video of how to chop the chicken below! Pour in the chicken sauce seasoning. Garnish with parsley and cucumber. Voila! Hainanese Chicken Rice is ready to be served!
TOP TIPS FOR HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE RECIPE
- The chilli sauce can be prepared a day before.
- Use a slim and tall pot to cook the chicken so the the whole chicken can be immersed into water without using too much water. This way the stock will be sweeter and tastier. (The level of water should be about 1″ above the chicken)
- Make sure the chicken is thawed completely otherwise it will affect the cooking time.
- The water must be boiling before the chicken is dunked into the water 3 times, each time being completely immersed into the water. Why 3 times? 1) To seal the juices within the chicken to retain its sweetness. 2) The inside of the chicken is usually colder than the outside – plunging the chicken in a few times heats up the inside of the chicken, and ensures the water inside the cavity is at the same temperature as the outside, allowing the whole chicken can be cooked evenly.
- Why the need for an ice bath? Firstly, the ice water will stop the cooking process otherwise the chicken will continue to cook and the meat will become tough and dry. Secondly, the ice water will firm up the skin and at the same time coagulate the juices under the skin of the chicken to give it a smooth gelatin-like texture.
- Rub the chicken with sesame oil to prevent it from drying out, and to add flavour to it.
- To test whether the chicken is fully cooked, insert a long skewer or chopstick into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices come out clear, the chicken is cooked or if the tendon at the end part of the drumstick breaks, the chicken is cooked.
- The Hainanese Chicken Rice needs to be soaked for a while so that it will be easier to cook and the texture will be smoother. Once the rice cooked, use chopsticks to loosen it to prevent it from getting lumpy once it cools.
Watch my video to see how to effortlessly chop up the Hainanese Chicken for beautiful presentation
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Baby/Toddler-Friendly: Hainanese chicken is actually very healthy because it is boiled, yet it is a very tasty alternative to steamed fish. For younger babies, you can blend the chicken and serve it with plain rice porridge. For older babies and toddlers, you can remove the skin, shred the chicken and serve with it white rice as a healthier alternative to chicken rice.
- Child-Friendly: Serve Hainanese chicken with white rice as a healthier alternative to Hainanese chicken rice
- Egg-Free: No modifications required
- Fish-Free: No modifications required
- Gluten-Free: Skip the dark soya and the sauce to pour over the chicken
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications required