Yummy Homemade Hainanese Chicken Rice

Good evening, dear friends ๐Ÿ˜€

On those days that I really don’t know what to cook, I would go for simple one-dish or one-pot type of meals. Hainanese Chicken Rice can be commonly found in almost every coffee shop and there is even a chain of restaurants specializing in sellingย Chicken Rice. So, I seldom cook this at home, unless I really ran out of ideas or motivation to plan a dinner menu.

Anyway, my kids love my home cooked version of Chicken Rice because mine is a bit different – they love the special black sauce and the green pea soup. I learned to cook this wonderful, yummy chicken rice from my late mother-in-law. ๐Ÿ˜€


A plate of fragrant chicken rice with coriander leaves and green onion curls as garnishing, and some cucumber and tomato slices on the side



A giant platter of perfectly cooked, moist “white cut chicken” or “pak cham gai” in Cantonese, garnished with some coriander leaves and green onion curls, and drizzled with ample fried golden shallot oil. Yummy! ๐Ÿ˜€



…with some homemade dark sauce and pounded ginger-garlic chilli as dips



… and a bowl of delicious green pea and chicken soup, with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and a few generous shakes of white pepper

The is a Chinese style of Chicken Rice that has its origins to a group of Hainanese migrants to South East Asia about 100 years ago. Hainan is an island located in the southern part of China. In Malaysia, most Hainanese ended up opening coffee shops which were popular due to their Hainanese style of brewing coffee and for their “yin-yeong” toasts. In addition to their famous Chicken Rice, Hainanese are very good cooks, often specializing in a fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine.

Here are the recipes to my version of Hainanese Chicken Rice. Please note that the portions here are huge as I like to cook ample servings of food. The leftovers can be eaten for lunch the following day. Alternative, the extra chicken pieces can be turned into “Salted Chicken” or “Harm Gai” for the next day. ๐Ÿ’ก

It is very tricky to get the timing just right for cooking the chicken for this dish. I have tried many methods such as steaming, boiling and in this recipe, I had used a combination of “dunking,” boiling and poaching to get the perfect texture and moistness of the chicken meat.

For this, you need a really fresh chicken (I bought mine from the wet market in the morning), the bird should be mature enough for full flavour (my chicken was about 2.3 kilos), and it should be at room temperature when cooking. ๐Ÿ’ก

Poached White Chicken or “White Cut Chicken” or “Pak Cham Gai” (serves 10 persons)

1 whole chicken & 3 whole chicken legs (cleaned and rubbed with 3 tbsps of salt)

Some chicken necks and bones (skin and fat removed) for stock

Enough water to immerse chicken in a fitting pot

* 2 tbsps salt

* 2 tbsps of sesame oil

5 tbsps of fried shallot oil

Some coriander leaves and green onion curls for garnishing

Method –

1) Boil the chicken bones in water to prepare the stock –ย  simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes long.

2) Meanwhile, tie a twine or thick string around the wings and body of the chicken.

3) Remove chicken bones, and bring heat back to high.

4) Holding the string, lower the chicken gently into the water, making sure that the whole chicken is well immersed into the stock.

5) After 1 minute, use the string to pull the chicken out of the chicken stock and wait for the stock to come to a boil again.

6) Repeat the chicken “dunking” steps 4 and 5 forย 6 times. The reason this is done is to ensure that the inside cavity of the chicken gets heated up properly by the hot stock. Else, we will end up with the inner thigh and backbone area sill partially uncooked while the rest of the chicken gets overdone.

7) Place the whole chicken into the stock together with the 3 whole chicken legs. Cover the pot.

8 ) Wait for the stock to come to a boil again. Be sure to check frequently for this. We don’t want to boil the chicken.

9) Immediately turn off the fire.

10) Leave the chicken to poach for 1 hour.

11) After one hour, gently remove whole chicken and chicken legs and immerse them into a large bowl of cold water. This step will produce a very smooth and silky texture to the chicken skin and meat. Yummy! ๐Ÿ˜€

12) Remove chickenย after 10 minutes. Let dry for 3 minutes.

13) Rub the sesame oil and salt all over chicken. Leave chicken for about 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on how long you can wait before wanting to eat it!) for it to cool down completely for easy chopping/cutting. Else, the meat will get “smashed up” or break apart.

14) Cut chicken up into bite sizes, drizzle with fried shallot oil and garnish with the coriander leaves and green onion curls.

Voila! Your very own homecooked “white cut” chicken, Hainese style! ๐Ÿ˜€



How to cook Hainanese Chicken Rice (for 10 persons)

6 cups fragrant or jasmine rice, rinsed clean

2 tbsps salt

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp white pepper

3 pandan leaves, tied into a know (or 1/2 tsp of bottled pandan essence)

Enough chicken stock to cook rice (skim off the layer of oil in the chicken stock for use in cooking the rice – this makes the rice more yummy. I know, it is oily but just drink ample cups of Chinese tea after this meal to wash the fats away! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Method –

1) Put all ingredients into an automatic rice cooker to cook.

2) Be sure to stir the ingredients at least 2 to 3 times during cooking.

3) Cook chicken rice while the chicken is poaching.



Green Pea Chicken Soup

Using the leftover chicken stock (reserve 2 cups for making homemade black dipping sauce), add one can of Ayam brand canned Green Peas and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Season to taste and garnish withย  chopped green onions and lots of white pepper. Yummy! ๐Ÿ˜€



Homemade Black Sauce for dipping chicken

In a pan, heat up 2 tbsps of oil, and then fry 2 tbsps of chopped garlic. Add in the 2 cups of reserved chicken stock, 5 to 6 tbsps of thick black soy sauceย and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes. Add in 2 tbsps of sugar (this sauce is sweetish) and then thicken with a cornstarch-water mixture.

Put into a bowl for serving. One of my kids love to pour this sauce over his rice. ๐Ÿ˜‰



Garlic-Ginger Chilli Sauce

10 red chilli

3-inch knob of fresh, young ginger, skin scrapped off

6 pips of garlic, skin removed

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp sugar

Juice of 6 to 8 calamansi limes (limau kasturi)

Pound chili, garlic and ginger in a peststle and mortar untul fine. Don’t blend – it just doesn’t taste as good as pounded chili. Add in salt, sugar and lime juice and you are now ready to eat your very own Hainanese Chicken Rice! ๐Ÿ˜€

Hope you will give this recipe a try and once you have tried your own homecooked Chicken Rice, you will find those sold outside somewhat lacking in taste!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking! ๐Ÿ˜€

choesf ๐Ÿ˜€


10 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Louise said,

    Oh Happy,
    This looks absolutely delicious. Your directions are impeccable. I keep saving all of your wonderful reccipes and can’t wait till I finally get to my new kitchen in January to try them all out. Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoy your posts.


  2. 2

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Thank you for your lovely comments, dear Louise. Hope you get to try this unique type of chicken rice – you can chicken legs (thigh and drumstick together) if you are cooking for few people. I have a yummy Sweet & Sour Pork pictorial recipe to recommend to you, too – it’s here –


    Have a lovely weekend!


    choesf ๐Ÿ˜€


  3. 3

    yen said,

    Hi choesf

    Wow, you really brought back sweet memories with this particular dish, my favourite! }: Very interesting to use a string to terih the chicken!}: hahaha! i cannot help laughing so loudl. ):

    take care


  4. 4

    sweetrosie said,

    I love your beautiful chicken rice post and pictures dear choesf ๐Ÿ™‚ You present everything do beautifully. Very lucky for us here in Australia – we can’t go out and get take-away so easily…

    Your recipe is immaculate and so detailed, I have learnt a lot and cannot wait to try it.

    Have a lovely week ahead dear xxxx


  5. 5

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Yes, this is one of my favourite recipes, too, my dear yen – I’m quite sure almost all Chinese famillies would have cooked this meal. Wah, looking back at this pictorial recipe is my mouth water – I think I will cook this again for this weekend! ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ˜†

    With love and hugs,

    choesf ๐Ÿ˜€


  6. 6

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Whooo…hooo, long time no see, my dear sweetrosie ๐Ÿ˜€ ….I’m glad to see you here – you were so busy with your work and uni.

    I remember I promised you my mother-in-law’s version of this recipe at your blog when you wrote about your Hainanese Chicken Rice that you had cooked in Australia. Hope you get to try this recipe out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have a blessed week, too!

    With love and hugs,

    choesf ๐Ÿ˜€


  7. 7

    Quinn said,

    I made my Hainanese Chicken rice and the dipping sauce was awesome, especially the black sauce. I’be posted mine here:


    And definitely did link you back!

    Thank you for the recipe and keep them coming in!


    • 8

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there, dear Quinn ๐Ÿ˜€

      I went to your website and wow, your Hainanese Chicken Rice meal was so beautifully presented. Ah, you have certainly put a lot of love into your meal. I bet it tasted delicious, too! Thank you for trying out and linking to my recipe here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Happy Cooking!

      With best wishes,

      choesf ๐Ÿ˜€


  8. 9

    Nels said,

    This is so good, especially the black dipping sauce. The chicken is also perfect in flavor and texture. Thank you so much for the lovely recipe ๐Ÿ™‚


    • 10

      Hi there, dear Nels ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thank you for your feedback in trying this recipe! I’m glad your Hainanese Chicken Rice turned out superb and you like the black dipping sauce! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      With best wishes,

      choesf ๐Ÿ˜€


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