Hainanese Chicken Rice

Walk into any Malaysian or Singaporean restaurant, you are sure to find this on the menu – Hainanese chicken rice. A very simple dish really, poached chicken with a mix of oil and soy sauce dressing, served on a special flavoured rice. In my opinion, the star of this dish is not the chicken. I mean it’s just poached chicken with soy sauce, almost impossible to mess up! It’s this amazing yellow-hued, slightly greasy, gingery fragrant rice that’s just perfect with  the chicken.

I am sure many have boasted that Hainanese chicken rice is really easy to prepare. “Just use the stock left over from poaching the chicken to cook your rice,” most will claim. Yes, this will add a hint of chicken stock flavour to the rice but not comparable to what the food stalls outside are selling. Not even close! And remember, the leftover stock the stalls are using is the product from poaching dozens of chicken not just one chicken or a few drumsticks.

Being typical Malaysians, when Terry and I craved for some Hainanese chicken rice, we bought a jar of commercial Hainanese chicken rice paste from the asian supermarket, mixed a few tablespoons to our rice and cooked it as usual in the rice cooker. One jar can make about 3-4 rounds of superb flavoured rice, exactly like how the stalls made it. Not very economical but definitely more affordable than eating out. Then when we were about to grab a new jar of paste at the supermarket, Terry had an idea.

He picked up a jar from the shelf and asked me to look at the ingredients. Guess what, I have everything listed on that label in my kitchen. We decided to make our very own Hainanese chicken rice paste at home! I experimented and went with my gut on the portion of each ingredient. The verdict: real authentic Hainanese chicken rice! It’s so good, I can eat it on its own 😉

Here goes….


  • 2-in bulb of ginger, peeled
  • 3 medium onions, peeled
  • 1 whole garlic, peeled
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 stalk pandan leaf

The method is really simple. Cut everything into small sizes suitable for blending in your blender or food processor. Blend everything with a little oil until it becomes a paste. Heat about half a cup of oil on the pan. Stir fry the paste on medium heat, stirring frequently until it turns into a fragrant golden brown paste. If the paste seem to be burning, add more oil, it’s meant to be oily. This will take about 20 minutes or longer. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt. This paste is to be mixed into your rice and water for cooking so don’t worry about over-seasoning it. It’s done! You may store this in an air-tight glass jar in the fridge for later use. I think this paste would be a perfect dip for poached chicken too.

To make Hainanese chicken rice, use one big tablespoon of paste with every cup of uncooked rice. Wash and measure water needed as usual in the rice cooker and mix the paste into it prior to cooking. Add in a few bulbs of crushed garlic and few slices of ginger too for extra flavour. Happy trying!


7 comments on “Hainanese Chicken Rice

  1. kenix says:

    I didn’t know can be such simple. (yet it’s not simple to me).
    hahaha…. You are brilliant!!

    • Tien says:

      Thanks Kenix! Well, it was Terry’s idea in the first place. It’s simplicity is highly subjective to whether you have a blender or not 😉

  2. Fariza says:

    you make me suddenly lapar lah! (have just finished a bowl of assam pedas snapper, but still hungry after reading your post! LOL)

    • Tien says:

      Hehehe….thanks kak Fariza! This is like a revenge for making me feel the same with your “hobby” album in Facebook!! LOL….

  3. […] mashed potatoes, steamed peas,corn and carrots with gravy. Or, in my case, I served chicken with Hainanese chicken rice. If you intend to roast a whole chicken, follow the same method but roast it for at least an hour […]

  4. […] loves his rice. I know if I make the chinese pork stew or my granny’s sambal paste or Hainanese chicken rice, he can eat up to 5 bowls of rice instead of the usual 1 or 2.  I shall attempt to up his rice […]

  5. […] I should’ve done the same thing and linked to my Hainanese Chicken Rice and Malaysian Chicken Satay recipes! Both made the list too……tsk! Advertisement […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s