Hainanese Chicken

Happy Singapore Day!

In celebration of Singapore’s National Day,  I am reposting the recipe to Singapore’s Favorite and often considered national dish, Hainanese Chicken.

I posted this recipe on May last year.  As I mentioned in that post, this is my baby sister’s favorite dish.  Our family enjoys it and hope you do too.

The entire chicken is boiled in pork and chicken bone stock.  The traditional Hainanese way is using the broth over and over only adding more water when needed.  The stock is not used for the rice preparation.  But for this recipe since we are not using old stock, we are using it in preparing the rice.

This dish is served with several types of dips, including chili sauce, sweet soy sauce and ground ginger


1 whole chicken

2 stalks spring/green onion cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths

3 inch ginger sliced

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp salt

1/2 tsp white peppercorns

additional salt (to rub chicken)

To Prepare the Rice

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 c long grain rice

1 tbsp garlic, finely ground or mashed

1 inch ginger, grated


3 1/2 cups chicken broth (use more or less depending on type of rice)

pandan leaves (screwpine leaves) optional

Chili Sauce                                                                                                                                           

1 tsp lime or lemon juice

2 tbsp chicken broth

2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp hot chili sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, minced


Ginger Sauce

1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger

1/2 cup neutral oil, like canola or grape seed

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Sweet Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon light (regular) soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

11/2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon Asian chili sauce, such as Sriracha


To Prepare the Chicken

Remove excess fat from the chicken. Rub chicken with salt. Rinse chicken well.  Season with salt inside and out.  Stuff ginger slices and green onions into the cavity of the chicken.

Place the chicken in a large stockpot, breast side up and add enough cold water to cover the chicken.  Add the white peppercorns and 2 tbsp salt. Bring the pot to boil over high heat then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook for 45 minutes, or more if the chicken is big.  To check for doneness, poke the flesh under the leg with a skewer to see if the juices run clear.  If you have a thermometer, insert it to the thickest part of the chicken (without touching the bone) and should read 170F.

When chicken is done, remove and immediately submerge the chicken in an ice bath to cool (about 10 minutes).  Remove ginger and green onions. Drain the chicken well. Rub with sesame oil and let cool to room temperature.

To Prepare the Rice

Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for 10 minutes. Drain the rice completely and let stand for 30 minutes.

To cook rice on the stove

Heat pan on high and add oil.  Add the onion then the garlic. Saute for a few seconds.  Add the rice and stir fry until the rice turns translucent. This gives the rice more flavor,  Transfer rice to pot and add 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth, salt and pandan leaves.  Bring the water to boil then reduce to a simmer.  Leave the pot uncovered until all the broth is absorbed by the rice. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for another 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat but leave the pot uncovered for another 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork.

To cook rice in a rice cooker

Heat pan on high and add oil.  Add the onion then the garlic. Saute for a few seconds.  Add the rice and stir fry until the rice turns translucent. Transfer to a rice cooker and add enough broth to cook.

To prepare chili sauce

Mix all ingredients together and put in a blender.  transfer to a serving dish.

To prepare ginger sauce

Stir together the ginger, oil and salt in a bowl. The mixture should be quite strong; you can add more ginger, scallions or salt if you like.

To prepare Sweet Soy Sauce

Combine the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chili sauce in a dipping sauce container, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.


For Chicken

Make sure that the chicken is completely cover with during boiling.

Skim off the scum from the water to maintain a clean broth.

Submerge chicken in ice-cold water to stop the cooking and make the skin firm.

For Rice

Wash rice several times to remove excess starch.

Saute onions first because garlic burns fast.  Make sure you don’t burn the onions and garlic.  It leaves black specks on the rice and it tastes bitter.


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