Liam's Recipes

Hainanese Chicken Rice



30 minutes

active time

3 hours

total time


1 whole chicken (3-3.5 lbs, about 1.5 kg)

1 tbsp salt

12-14 cups water

4-5 slices ginger

2 whole scallions


4 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups uncooked white rice (jasmine, washed and drained)

Chicken stock (from the chicken)

2 tsp salt

Ginger Garlic Sauce

4-inch piece ginger, rough chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbsp oil

Sweet Dark Soy Sauce

⅓ cup water

3 tbsp sugar

⅓ cup dark soy sauce

Chili Sauce

6 fresh red chilies, sliced thin

3-inch piece ginger

3 cloves garlic

½ tsp sesame oil

1 tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

Juice of a small lime

1 tsp rice vinegar

3-5 tbsp chicken broth


Remove any bagged items from within the chicken and set aside the piece of fat at the back cavity. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, then lightly rub the surface with salt. Set it aside for now.

Bring the water up to a boil, along with the ginger and scallions. Brush off any salt still remaining on the chicken, and carefully lower it into the boiling water, breast side up. Adjust the water level now as needed so that chicken breast just pokes above the water (to not overcook the white meat). Return the pot to a boil.

Carefully lift the chicken out of the water to pour out the cold water that is trapped in the inner cavity, careful not to splash yourself. Lower the chicken back into the pot and return it to a boil. Cover the lid, turn off the heat, and leave the pot covered on the stove for 45-50 minutes. When you stick a toothpick into the thickest part of the drumstick, the juices should run clear.

When the chicken is almost ready, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Once the chicken is fully cooked, carefully remove it from the stockpot, drain the excess water, then place it in the ice bath for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Heat a pan over medium feet and add the reserved chicken fat in. Allow it to render for 1-2 minutes, then remove the remaining solid pieces. Stir in the 4 cloves of minced garlic and fry until aromatic. Add the uncooked rice and toast it in the oil, stirring continuously for about two minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the rice-garlic mixture into your rice cooker and add the appropriate amount of chicken stock (the one that we just made), along with 2 tsp of salt. Press ‘start’ and allow the rice cooker to do its thing.

For the ginger garlic sauce:

Grate the 4 inch piece of ginger and 1 clove of garlic in a food processor until a paste forms

Fry the mixture in 3 tbsp oil / chicken fat in a pan until aromatic and lightly caramelized. Add a pinch of salt and set aside

For the sweet dark soy sauce:

Heat ⅓ cup of water and 3 tbsp rock sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is fully dissolved

Add the ⅓ cup of dark soy sauce and stir to combine.

For the chili sauce:

Grind the chilis, ginger, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, scraping down the sides between blends as needed.

Add the ½ tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt, lime juice, and rice vinegar and pulse to combine.

Transfer to a separate bowl and add chicken broth 1 tbsp at a time until the desired texture is reached.

Serve the cooked rice with the desired cuts of chicken and the sauces of your choice.


Originating from Hainan, a tropical island in the southern tip of China, this humble chicken and rice dish is vastly popular all over Asia, even being named the national dish of Singapore. This dish consists of using almost all the parts of the chicken, making a light chicken broth with it, then serving it with the rice. The rice, the star of the show, is cooked with the chicken fat and stock. This dish takes a while to make, but is worth the effort every once in a while. Three common accompanying sauces are also included here. This recipe makes more broth than you’ll need for this dish, so use the rest for other dishes.



30 minutes

active time

3 hours

total time
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