Hainanese Chicken Rice 

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Ingredient

  • 2.5 to 3 lbs (1.1 to 1.4 kg) whole chicken (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 thumb ginger sliced
  • 3 green onions , cut into 6 cm (2.5 inch) long pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons homemade sweet soy sauce(or store-bought type) (Optional)
  • chopped cilantro for garnish (Optional)

Rice

  • 2 tablespoons butter and/or chicken fat from the chicken
  • 3 green onions , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 cups (480 ml / 16 oz) jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups chicken broth from boiling the chicken

Chili dipping sauce (Or Sriracha Sauce)

  • 3 fresh Thai chili peppers , chopped (seed the peppers for a less spicy sauce)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper , seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 small white onion , chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic , chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup lime juice or lemon juice

(Optional) Ginger soy dipping sauce (*Footnote 2)

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Instructions

Chicken

  • Remove the neck and innards from the chicken cavity and either reserve them for making stock or gravy or discard them. Remove the chicken fat from the cavity and set it aside for making the rice.
  • Place the whole chicken breast-side-up in a 5-quart pot or one that’s deep and wide enough to hold the chicken. Add water until it covers the chicken (about 8 cups of water in my case). Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Gently move the chicken with a spatula so it does not stick to the bottom. Skim the foam with a fine mesh strainer until the soup becomes clear, 5 minutes or so.
  • Turn to medium-low heat. Add the ginger, green onion, and salt. Carefully flip the chicken using a spatula and a pair of tongs. Simmer for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken again so the breast side is up. Continue to simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. Test the doneness by poking the joint between the thigh and the body with a paring knife. The chicken is cooked if the juice comes out clear. Or you can use a thermometer inserted into the same joint. It should register 165 degrees F (74 C).
  • Prepare a large ice bath when the chicken is almost done.
  • When the chicken is done, immediately remove it from the pot and plunge it into the ice bath to cool. This process will tighten the chicken skin and stop the cooking process to keep the meat tender. Once the chicken is mostly cooled, 3 to 4 minutes, drain and pat it dry with paper towels. Transfer to a cutting board to air dry.
  • Strain and save the chicken broth for cooking the rice and making chicken soup.

Rice

  • While the chicken is cooling, prepare the rice. Heat the reserved chicken fat in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir occasionally, until the oil renders. You should have about 2 tablespoons of oil in your pan. If there isn’t enough chicken fat, add some butter to the pan (I used 1 tablespoon of butter).
  • Add the ginger, garlic, and green onion to the skillet. Cook and stir until fragrant, 1 minute or so. Add the rice and continue stirring until the rice turns pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn to medium-low heat. Transfer 3 cups of chicken broth from the big pot you used to cook the chicken to the rice skillet. Cook, covered, for 12 minutes. Then remove the pan from the stove. Let rest, covered for another 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a spatula. Taste the rice. Add a bit more salt, if needed, and mix well.

Sauce

  • While cooking the rice, prepare the chicken and the sauce(s). Separate the chicken into legs, breasts, and wings.
  • Prepare chili dipping sauce: add all the ingredients into a mini-food processor or the chopping container included with your immersion blender. Chop everything into a coarse paste.

Serving

  • There are two ways to prepare the chicken for serving. You can rub either sesame oil or sweet soy sauce onto the skin. Read more about the two options in the blog post above. Once done, slice the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Transfer to a big plate and garnish with cilantro, if using.
  • Before you serve, you may want to reheat the chicken broth. Garnish the hot soup with cilantro and green onion. Serve the soup with the rice and chicken. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • You can use a larger chicken or chicken parts such as breasts or thighs. Read the blog post on this topic to determine the cooking time needed.
  • The chili sauce is the most authentic sauce to serve with the dish. The gingery sauce is a family favorite so I’ve added it here. You can also serve the chicken with Sriracha sauce.
The cooking time is largely based on the size of the chicken and the quantity of pieces, but here are some general guidelines:
  • Boneless skinless breast – 15 to 20 minutes
  • Bone-in skin-on breast – 20 to 30 minutes
  • Boneless skinless thigh – 15 to 20 minutes
  • Bone-in skin-on thigh – 20 to 30 minutes