Hainanese Chicken Rice

Nasi ayam plays a significant role in my life. Being a fussy and picky eater when I was small, I would not eat anything that doesn't please me. But somehow I found my comfort in nasi ayam and mee kolok. If anything else fails, offer me these two and I'll happily indulged.

The other night after running out ideas on menu for dinner, I suddenly thought of Hainanese Nasi Ayam and its succulent steamed chicken juice and savoury fluffy rice. There are hundred of thousands of such recipes on Google but after trying out for the first time back in my student years, this recipe is my favourite.

My husband prefers grilled over poached chicken so I made humble Ayam Panggang to accompany the chicken rice instead. I will share the recipe of the grilled chicken in another entry.


1 whole chicken [2½-3 lbs]
5-6 stalks fresh scallions
6 inch fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thick slices
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 additional stalks fresh scallions, chopped, for garnish [optional]
1 seedless cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced diagonally
a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, for garnishing
½ tsp white peppercorns

Ingredients for Chicken rice:

3 cups long grained rice, washed and drained
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tsp salt
2½ tbsp chicken fat or vegetable oil
6 cups, or more, chicken broth [from the cooking broth]
6 pandan leaves [screwpine leaves] [optional]

Ingredients for Special Chili Dipping Sauce:

1 tbsp kaffir lime juice [Substitute: lime or lemon juice]
1½-2 tbsp chicken broth [from the cooking broth]
2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp hot chili sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely ground or mashed
1 inch ginger, finely ground or grated

To Prepare Special Chili Dipping Sauce:

Mix hot chili sauce with lime juice, sugar, garlic, ginger, chicken broth [spooning some of the chicken fat oil] and salt to taste
Pour chili sauce into small condiment dishes, for each individual serving

Cook's Note : This meal can be made a low-fat diet dish. Skim and discard any residual fat/oil from the chicken broth before cooking the chicken rice. [Best if chilled in the fridge for easy removal of fat/oil]. You may also remove the skin from the cooked chicken before serving.

To Prepare Chicken:

  1. Cut off any excess fat, reserve for using to cook rice, wash chicken, drain well, stuff ginger slices and scallions stalks into the cavity of the chicken.
  2. In a large stockpot, add sufficient water [to cover the chicken], white peppercorns and about 2 tbsp salt, bring to a boil
  3. Submerge the whole chicken, breast-side down in the boiling water, and immediately reducing the heat to a slow poach
  4. Cover, poach chicken for about 45-50 mins, [check to make sure the water does not 'boil' the chicken]
  5. When chicken is cooked, remove and plunge immediately into a bath of icy cold water, submerging the chicken for about 10 mins
  6. Remove chicken from the ice bath, discard ginger slices and scallion stalks from the cavity, drain the chicken well, set aside - meanwhile cook the chicken rice
  7. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it neatly into serving size pieces [de-bone chicken, if you prefer]

To Prepare Chicken Rice:

  1. Wash rice till water runs clear, drain well
  2. Heat wok on high, add the reserved chicken fat, render into an oil to about 2½ tbsp [add vegetable oil if chicken fat oil is insufficient ]
  3. Add chopped garlic, stir-fry for a few seconds
  4. Add the raw rice, stir-fry till the rice grains start to look translucent, about 8-10 mins
  5. Transfer rice to a pot, add 6 cups chicken broth, salt and pandan leaves 
  6. [*Note: depending on the type of rice, use more or less of the chicken broth]
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered, until the chicken broth is absorbed by the rice [small 'bubble' holes start to appear on the rice]
  8. Reduce heat to very low, cover the rice with a tight-fitting lid, cook for a further 10-12 mins
  9. Turn off heat, DO NOT open the cover, wait for 10 mins before opening [steam inside will gently finish steaming the rice]
  10. Fluff up the rice with a fork [If rice is not fully cook, simply add a little chicken broth, cover and steam on very low heat for another 5 mins or so]
  11. Alternatively, 'fry' the raw rice in a wok until translucent, then transfer into an electric rice cooker and add sufficient chicken broth to cook
  12. Any leftover chicken broth after making the rice, can be served as a small side soup, garnished with some chopped cilantro
  13. Line a serving platter with cucumber slices, arrange chicken pieces on top, sprinkle with soy sauce, sesame oil, and garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro sprigs

Serve Hainan chicken [usually served at room temperature] with chicken rice, side soup - and special chili dipping sauce!


cik yaya said...

kenapalahh kau jauh sgt moose!


tp takpelahh..time ko blk aassim dah boleh mkn ns ayam muahaha (mak dia apatah lagi)

Moose said...

mak apak aassim la yang akan over makan tu kan? muahaha