Hainanese Chicken

I was feeling pretty healthy a a couple of weeks ago today after swimming many lengths of a pool, the gym is right next door to my favourite Malaysian restaurant and instead of my usual weakness for Roti Canai I went for my second favourite Malaysian treat. A couple of weeks on I decided to try it at home. This amazing chicken dish is suprisingly delicious. There are a few processes to go through. But don’t be put off, none are too stressful. The resulting dish is equally as delicious as the restaurant’s offering. Clever me.


1 whole chicken (1.5kg)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic (peeled and bruised with the side of a knife)
4 slices fresh ginger
4 spring onions (trimmed and cleaned)
2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 cups long-grain rice
2 tablespoons peanut oil
5 shallots (very finely chopped)
5 cloves garlic (very finely chopped)
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 small cucumber (sliced)
1 tomato (sliced)
Fresh coriander
Malaysian chilli sauce

Wash and dry the chicken inside and out. Stuff the ginger, garlic and spring onions into the cavity. Place in a large saucepan, breast side down. Pour over 3 litres of water and season with salt. Bring to a boil over a moderate heat then turn down to very gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat then plunge the bird into a large bowl of ice water to stop it cooking. Keep the cooking liquid. When cooled, pat the chicken dry, then rub the sesame oil all over and leave covered to come to room temperature.

To make the rice, wash and drain until the water runs clear then leave to dry a little. Heat a saucepan with the oil and fry the shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes over a moderate heat. Add the rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to coat thoroughly. Add 4 cups of the chicken cooking liquid and the salt. Bring to a boil over a high heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until air holes appear on the surface. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for 30 minutes without stirring until the rice is cooked. Leave for 10 minutes before serving.

Remove the skin and cut the chicken into large chunks. Serve a few chunks of chicken on a plate alongside a little mound of rice add a few slices of cucumber and tomatoes and a sprinkle of fresh coriander and maybe even some asian crispy onions. If you like, you can also serve some of the hot chicken broth with a little chinese greens in as a simple soup to accompany.

Photo courtesy of user:Leo Lie at Flickr under Creative Commons Licence


One Response

  1. This is great! I love Hainanese Chicken Rice, especially if it’s made with a kampung chicken.

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