Hainanese Chicken Rice海南鸡饭hǎi nán jī fàn

cover3Nothing is more Singaporean than the chicken rice, the country’s unofficial national dish. Ask any foodie expats, adults or children, which dish they love the most from their time in Singapore. This poached chicken and seasoned rice is clearly the winner in their hearts.  The dish looks deceptively simple, but there are many components to a good plate of Chicken Rice, the fragrant rice, succulent meat and flavourful dipping sauces over it.

For the chicken

  • 1 whole chicken (about 1.3kg), preferably free-range chicken
  • 1 small thumb of ginger, smashed
  • 5 to 6 sprigs, spring onions
  • 1500ml chicken stock adjust accordingly
  • 4 blades of pandan leaves 斑兰叶
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2+1 teaspoons  salt
  • 1 cucumber peeled, halved and sliced diagonallyIMG_5102.jpg

 For the rice

  • 3 cups uncooked washed rice, Thai Jasmine rice preferred
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 and half, chicken stock
  • 4-6 blades of pandan leaves, tied into knots
  • 1 small thumb of ginger, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic and shallot oil (fry 3 cloves and 2 shallots in the cooking oil over low heat until fragrant.)
  • 1 teaspoon, salt to taste

Dipping sauce 1

  • 2 tablespoons  light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons  chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon  sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon   garlic and shallot oil, (fry 3 cloves and 2 shallots in the cooking oil over low heat until fragrant.)

Mix all the ingredients together.

 Dipping sauce 2 – the ginger sauce

  • 50 g peeled ginger for best results, use young ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of shallots and garlic oil
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons  chicken stock
  • 2 tsp sugarto taste
  • 1/8 tsp saltto taste

 Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blender the mixture into a smooth paste.


For the chicken

  1. Wash chicken, drain well, stuff ginger and spring onions into the chicken’s cavity. Using 2 teaspoons of salt as scrub, rub the salt all over the chicken for smooth looking skin.
  2. In a not too large stock pot which fits the chicken perfectly, boil the chicken stock (enough to cover the whole chicken) together with pandan leaves, carrot and 1 teaspoon of salt. Submerge the whole chicken, breast side down in the boiling water for 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken. Lower the heat to gentle simmer immediately.
  3. When chicken is cooked, remove chicken and plunge it into prepared iced water at once for 10 minutes. Keep the chicken stock for later use.
  4. Drain the chicken, discard ginger and scallion from the cavity and set it aside to cool before chopping it neatly into desired serving size.

For the rice

  1. Heat oil in wok, fry minced shallots and garlic till fragrant and golden in colour. Add rice and stir well. Transfer the rice mixture to rice cooker.
  2. Once transferred, add chicken stock, pandan leaves, ginger, garlic and shallot oil and salt into rice mixture. Cook according to rice cooker’s manual instruction.


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