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How To Make Hainanese Chicken Rice At Home

Updated: Mar 27

This is probably the most chicken-y chicken recipe on the planet. Although this originates from a dish in the Hainan region of China, Chicken Rice is one of the national dishes of Singapore. This is crazy delicious, and it's probably one of the most tender ways to eat a chicken.


4-5lb chicken

2 inch knob of ginger

6 cloves garlic

8 green onions

2 quarts of water

1 tbsp of salt

1 tbsp chicken better than bouillon

1 tbsp of soy sauce

sesame oil for skin


300g jasmine rice

4000ml Chicken Broth

5 cloves Garlic

1 small Shallot

Reserved chicken fat

Ginger scallion oil

20g grated ginger

30g green onion

60ml cooking oil (300f)

15ml sesame oil

4g sugar

2g salt

2g msg

Fried Shallots

2 large shallots (thinly sliced)

Oil for frying


Dark Soy Sauce

5ml Dark Soy

30g Sugar

5ml Chicken Broth

Step 1: Clean Chicken

Remove any excess fat from the bottom of a 4.5 lb chicken. Rub the skin with kosher salt to remove any blemishes and to create a smooth texture. Wash the salt off in cold water and set it aside, reserve any excess fat to use later in the rice.

Step 2: Prep Aromatic Broth

Slice a 2 inch knob of ginger (don't worry about peeling it), and set it in a bowl. Crush 6 cloves of garlic, remove the paper and set them with the ginger. Remove the roots and green tops from 6 green onions. Save the greens for later. Chop the whites into 3 inch pieces; set them with the ginger and garlic.

Step 3: Cooking The Chicken

To our Dutch oven, place your chicken in and then top with about 2.5 liters of water. This is just enough to almost completely cover the chicken. Add in all the aromatics along with 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of chicken better than bouillon and 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Turn your heat on to a medium and bring the broth up to a simmer. As it comes up to temp, you’ll notice some chicken scum come up to the surface of the water, you’ll want to remove that for a cleaner cooking liquid. Once it’s simmering, lower the heat to low and then cover the pot with a lid. Set a 50 minute timer and walk away. The broth is going to impart all of it’s beautiful aromatic flavor, and the chicken is going to turn the broth into supercharged chicken stock.

At around the 50 minute mark, your chicken should be done. I find the easiest way to tell is by pricking the area between the drumstick and breast with a knife. If the juices pour out pink, it still needs a little time. Fish your chicken out of the broth and place it into a large bowl with ice water. The cold water stops the cooking, helps tighten the skin, and sets the gelatinized texture. Once the chicken is cooled, remove it from the ice bath to rest. While it’s resting, rub a little bit of toasted sesame oil on the skin. This give a nice sheen and adds a ton of fragrance.

Step 4: Ginger Scallion Oil

Grate 20g of ginger and place that into a heat proof container, we’ll be pouring hot oil on this so don’t use plastic. Thinly slice 30g of green onion, and set these aside. Measure out 60ml of cooking oil and heat this in a small skillet until it’s 300f. This only takes a few minutes over medium low. Pour the hot oil over the ginger and then add in your green onion along with 15ml of sesame oil, 2g of salt, 4g of sugar, and 2g of msg. This sauce is sharp from the ginger, sweet from the green onion and sugar, and super seasoned from the sesame oil and msg.

Step 5: Fried Shallots

Peel 2 large shallots and slice them into thin rings. Don’t go paper thin or they will burn, but don’t go too thick or they won’t get crispy. Coat the bottom of a small skillet in oil, just enough to cover the shallots is good. Add your shallots to the cold oil and turn the heat to medium. Move these around until they just barely start to turn golden brown, around 8 minutes or so and then remove them from the pan and set them on a paper towel lined tray. Any more color than this and the shallots will taste very burnt. Season this with salt and set them aside while they cool and the excess oil is wicked away.

Step 6: Dark Soy

To a small saucepot, add 50ml of dark soy sauce, and 30g of white sugar. To that mix, add in 50ml of chicken broth then bring this up to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. This doesn’t need to thicken a ton, you just need the sugar to dissolve and for the soy/ chicken to combine into one cohesive flavor.

Step 7: Rice

To match the aromatics in the broth, mince 5 cloves of garlic along with 1 small shallot. Measure out 300g of jasmine rice and wash it till the water runs clear. Measure out 400ml of the chicken broth and set it aside. Try to get as much of the glistening fat from the top of the poaching liquid. At the stove, place a pot for your rice over medium heat and add in your chicken fat pieces from earlier . As the pan heats up, the chicken will release it’s fat and you should have enough fat to cook our aromatics. If you’re pieces aren’t giving you enough, you can always add a little cooking oil to help. Remove the pieces of fat from the pan and add in the minced shallot and garlic. Move these around and cook them for about a minute until you just start to see a little browning. Add in your washed rice and stir that to coat all of the granules in the seasoned chicken fat. Pour in your 400ml of chicken broth and season this with a large pinch of salt. Bring the liquid up to a simmer, pop on the lid and adjust the heat down to low. Set a 20 minute timer and once that's done, turn off your heat and leave it to steam for 5 minutes. This gives you perfectly cooked and perfectly fluffy rice.

Step 8: Break Down Chicken and Serve

Start by removing the whole leg quarter, which is easy to do if you make a small cut into the skin between the breast and the drumstick. There is a separating line that can easily be found by following that cut we made all the way to the back side of the chicken. Flip the chicken over and bend the leg outward, then make a simple cut at the joint where the thigh attaches to the back. If you do this correctly and gently, the whole leg quarter should be removed in one pieces with all the skin intact. Repeat this on the other side and then flip the chicken back over so it’s breast side is up. For the breasts, simply make a small cut slightly off center on one side of the breast bone. Slide your knife through that initial cut, and think of this as separating the breast from the breastbone by peeling the meat away, rather than sawing the meat off. If you let gravity help you, and you keep your pressed against that center breast bone, you can easily get the entire breast off with the wing attached. Use your knife to remove any points that are still attached. Repeat this process for the other side, but be aware that the first side you remove will probably look a little bit cleaner, because it’s easier to remove pieces when the chicken is larger.

Now you should have 2 whole breast, and 2 leg quarts that can be broken down further. I like to just separate the leg quarters into the drum and thigh. The joint where these connect is easy to find if you wiggle the drumstick. Make small cuts into where the joint is, and then use your fingers to locate the two bones and where there’s a little gap. Use your knife to cut in that little gap, and you should be able to slice through the joint without having to cut into the bones. For the breasts, remove the wing at the joint where it connects to the breast. Slice the breast into thin-ish pieces, being careful to keep the skin intact, and making sure each piece has a piece of skin on it. Don’t slice it too thin or that won’t be possible.

To plate the dish, place down a layer of that flavorful rice, and then top it with your sliced chicken. I like to just eat the dark meat off the bone, so I don’t bother chopping that up. Top the rice with a little of the fried shallot, and serve it alongside your ginger scallion oil. Sambal would be a classic spice pairing, but one of my friends makes a killer chili oil so I just use that. Keep that soy sauce we made handy, and a little sliced cucumber is traditional. You can also bowl up a little of the broth to go along with it, as you’ll definitely have a lot leftover. Be prepared to feast on this chicken rice, one of the great chicken dishes of the world.




Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

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