Hainanese Chicken Rice

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This recipe for Hainanese Chicken Rice is much better than takeout.


Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice is a dish adapted from early Chinese immigrants originally from Hainan province in southern China. It is considered one of the national dishes of Singapore.

Serve Hainanese Chicken Rice with Green Bean Stir-Fry, Longevity Noodles or some tasty Biang Biang Noodles.

  • Author: The Woks of Life
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 105


  • 1 whole fresh (or organic) chicken, 3-3½ pounds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1214 cups water
  • 45 slices ginger
  • 2 whole scallions
  • Ice

To cook the rice

  • Chicken fat, taken from the back cavity of the chicken
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of white rice, preferably jasmine rice, washed and drained
  • Chicken stock, from cooking the chicken
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. Wash the chicken clean and remember to set aside the piece of chicken fat at the back cavity. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly rub the chicken with the salt. This will give the chicken skin a nice sheen. Set it aside.
  2. Bring the water, along with the ginger and scallions, to a boil in a large stockpot. Before adding the chicken to the pot, rinse the chicken under running water to wash away the salt. Carefully lower the chicken into the boiling water, positioning the chicken breast-side up. Now is a good time to adjust the water level so the chicken breast just pokes above the water (so you aren’t left with dry white meat).
  3. Once the water boils, carefully lift the chicken out of the water to pour out the colder water that is trapped in the cavity. Carefully lower the chicken back into the pot. Bring the water to boil again, and cover the lid. Turn off the heat, and leave the pot, covered, on the stove for 45-50 minutes (set a timer). To check if the chicken is done, stick a toothpick into the thickest part of the drumstick; if the juices run clear, it’s cooked through.
  4. When the 45-minute timer (for the chicken) is almost up, prepare a large ice bath. Once the chicken is cooked, carefully lift the chicken out of the pot, drain the water from the cavity and lower it into the ice bath. Take care not to break the skin. After 15 minutes in the ice bath, the chicken should be cooled, drain completely and cover with clear plastic until ready to cut and serve. The ice bath stops the cooking process, locks in the juices, and gives the chicken skin better texture.
  5. While the chicken is cooling, make the rice. Heat a wok over medium heat. Add the chicken fat and render for about a minute. Stir in the minced garlic and fry briefly, making sure it doesn’t burn.
  6. Add the uncooked rice. Stir continuously for about two minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat. Scoop the rice into your rice cooker and add the appropriate amount of chicken stock (instead of the usual water. This amount may vary depending on your rice cooker) and salt. Close the lid and press START.
  8. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can follow these steps. When you wash your rice, let it soak for an additional 20 minutes. Then drain the rice and follow the same steps above, but instead of transferring the rice mixture to your rice cooker, transfer it to a medium/large pot. Add 3 cups of chicken stock and the salt, giving it a quick stir. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils, immediately turn down the heat to the lowest setting. Let the rice simmer and cook (covered) for 10-15 minutes until the rice is done.


  • Serving Size: 6
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