Hainanese Chicken Rice

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This is a dish normally included in any restaurant menu w/ southeast asian cuisine, very popular to Singaporeans that it is also known as singa rice. I’ve been very much interested in the recipe for quite sometime & this is the 1st time I tried it successfully. I did tried once following the tips given by a bruneian-chinese friend. It was edible yes but not how it’s supposed to taste. Lately I found the time to check out the net so my chicken rice now tastes as it should be… or maybe even better!

Ingredients for the steamed chicken:
2 large Chicken thighs (u may use 1 whole chiken)
2 tbsp of chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped ginger
salt & pepper
sesame oil

Ingredients for the condiment:
1 tbsp of chopped garlic
1 tbsp of chopped ginger
1 tbsp chicken oil (from steamed chicken)
dark soy sauce

Ingredients for the rice:
1/4 kilo chicken bones (mainly the ribs & neck)
2 cups of uncooked rice (thai rice if available)
1 tbsp of chopped garlic
1 tbsp of chopped ginger
1 tbsp of crushed garlic
about 1 in diameter of crushed ginger
2 tbsp of chicken fat (from the steam chicken)

Ingredients for the soup:
Chicken stock (chicken bones still included)
1 small onion, cut into 4 parts
1 potato, cut into wedges
cabbage, sliced
1/2 tsp of peppercorns

step by step

Start by boiling the chicken bones w/ water & little salt (u may add onions & pepper if u wish) to obtain chicken stock. Boil it long enough for the stock to be more concentrated. While this is in progress, you may start to prepare the chicken for steaming. Rub the chicken skin w/ salt, pepper, garlic & ginger & steam for about 20 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, let it cool down for few minutes, then sprinkle w/ sesame oil & set aside.

For the dip, just mix all ingredients as mentioned above except for the soy sauce.

I guess the most important part of this recipe is the rice so I pay more attention to this (steaming the chicken is piece of cake). Heat little oil in a wok, & fry the chopped garlic & ginger until fragrant & golden brown. Add about 2 tbsp of chicken fat obtained from steaming the chicken, then add the washed rice grains & continue frying w/ constant stirring over moderate heat until the color of the rice turned yellowish (not burned). Then transfer the rice into a rice cooker w/ the crushed garlic & ginger. Add in the chicken stock and continue to cook until rice is done.

In restaurants, the chicken is normally arranged w/ sliced cucumber over lettuce. Since I know for sure that i will be the only one eating cucumber, I just add onions, potatoes, peppercorns & salt to taste to the chicken stock left (don’t forget the chicken bones), plus some cabbage & we already have a delicious soup to match the dish.

Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook. – Chinese Proverbs

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

8 thoughts on “Hainanese Chicken Rice

  1. Hi Iska, thanks for sharing this coz I lost my recipe many moons ago. Me and my husband have always loved Hainanese chicken from the time we lived in HK.:-)

  2. yan naman pala iska, meron ka nang good hainanese chicken rice recipe. kung gusto mo papadalhan na lang kita ng more sauce recipes (or wait for my post:)) dami kasi iba-iba. my malaysian friend serves this with 6 different sauces (she’s single kaya may time magluto hahaha!).

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