I’ve been craving for Hainanese Chicken Rice (海南雞飯) for the longest time when I was undergoing chemo, but we never got a chance to go eat it. So I got the idea of making it myself after studying several recipes. There seem to be two ways of cooking the chicken, steaming or poaching. I opted for the poaching method, which gives me the chicken broth to cook the rice with. This recipe has quite a few components but they are all easy to make. Remember to not over cook the chicken and have the ice bath ready. The cooling process helps keep the chicken moist and make the skin firmer. If you debone your chicken for serving, save the bones for chicken congee.
Recipe adapted from Steamy Kitchen
Ingredients for the Hainanese Chicken:
- 1 whole chicken about 3-3.5 lb
- 4″ piece of ginger, sliced into 1/4″ slices
- 3 stalks of green onion, cut into 1.5″ sections
- 2 pandan leafs, tied into a knot (optional)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- kosher salt
Ingredients for the Rice:
- 2 cups of uncooked rice
- 2 tbsp of chicken fat or vegetable oil
- 1.5 tbsp of finely minced garlic, (about 3-4 cloves of garlic)
- 1.5 tbsp of finely minced ginger (1″ piece of ginger)
- reserved chicken poaching liquid (enough to cook the rice with)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
Ingredients for the Chili Sauce:
- 4 tbsp sriracha chili sauce
- 2 tbsp reserved chicken poaching liquid
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1″ piece of ginger, roughly chopped
- salt to taste
Ingredients for the Ginger Scallion Sauce:
- 5-6 tbsp of finely chopped ginger (approx. 4-5″ piece of ginger)
- 1 tbsp of minced garlic
- 2-3 stalks of green onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 tbsp of vegetable oil
- salt to taste
Instructions for the Hainanese Chicken:
- Clean the chicken by rubbing it all over with a small handful of kosher salt. Rinse the chicken well, pat dry, then generously salt both the inside and outside of the chicken. Stuff the chicken with the ginger slices and green onion.
- Place the chicken in a large stock pot with breast side facing up and fill it with cold water until the water almost cover the chicken. The chicken breasts should just barely poke above the water. Some of the ginger or green onion might float out of the chicken and that’s fine. Add the pandan leafs in the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, immediately turn the heat down to maintain a low simmer. Cook the chicken for about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken. To test if the chicken is cooked, insert a toothpick in the thickness part of the drumstick and see if the juices run clear. Or use a thermometer at the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone. If it registers 170F then the chicken is done.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove the pot from heat and lift the chicken carefully out of the water. Place the chicken in an ice bath, and remove the ginger and green onion from the cavity. Let the chicken cool in the ice bath for 15-20 minutes or until lukewarm.
- Do not throw away the chicken poaching liquid, but discard the pandan leafs, ginger slices and green onion. We will use this to cook the rice and make the chili sauce.
Instructions for the Rice:
- While the chicken is poaching, prepare the rice by washing the uncooked rice and then soaking it in water for 10 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside.
- In a pan, heat the chicken fat or vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in the drained rice and stir to coat the rice with the ginger and garlic. Add in the sesame oil and mix well.
- Remove the rice from heat and add it to your rice cooker. Add enough water to cook 2 cups of rice according to your rice cooker’s instructions. Turn on the rice cooker and you’re done!
Instructions for the Chili Sauce:
- Put all the chili sauce ingredients in the food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Instructions for the Ginger Scallion Sauce:
- In a small pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the ginger and garlic, and stir fry until fragrant. Add a pinch or two of salt and mix well. Remove from heat.
- Place the green onion in a bowl, pour in the hot oil with garlic and ginger. Mix well. Give it a taste to see if you need more salt.
- Cut the chicken into pieces or debone the chicken, leaving skin intact. Serve the chicken at room temperature with the rice and sauces on the side. Garnish with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and/or carrots.