Hainan Chicken rice step-by-step

Hainan Chicken Rice step-by-step photo overview, for making Hainan Chicken Rice recipe click on the link. Buy fresh pandan leaves at Chinese supermarkets or frozen packages, if none available you can substitute with spring onion or young leeks. To handle the leaves for stuffing and cooking, tie 3-4 leaves into a knot as shown in the image here below.

Fresh pandan leaves, great fragrance and vibrant colour

For us a distinct Hainan Chicken Rice flavour is steeping the stock with Pandan leaves, it enhances characteristic fragrance. This is my home recipe for Singaporean style teaching my kids how-to,  albeit every Singaporean cook has its very own recipe. Suggestions for Chinese stock methods and variations or Hainan Chicken Rice – foodiechat trivia, click on the links. Luckily we all share one big secret ingredient.

“Love” to eat, create and share.

Preparing chickens; stuffing set

Preparing chickens; have everything set up and ready.


Don’t forget to remove the chicken fat at the rear side of the chicken

chicken fat

Remove chicken fat and set aside for use in stock or making past. Freeze if not using for later use.

Salt and rub allover the chicken, scrub vigourosly as you can see it exfoliates and smooth the skin

Rub chicken skin clean

Another characteristic for Hainan Chicken and Bai Ji preparation is having a smooth and glossy skin after a good rub.

Season the chicken in-and outside with pepper and salt

Season the chickens

Season the chickens

Stuff the whole garlic cloves, ginger slices first with pandan knots as last into the cavity. This ensures flavor development and prevent the stuffing from falling out. But if it happens in the stock, it is easily removed when done.

Stuff chicken with herbs in cavity

Stuff chicken with herbs in cavity

Tie up the chicken legs so it is easier to handle, submerging the chicken into the pot and removing when done.

tie up the chicken

Tie up the chicken with the packaged food elastic or butcher’s twine.

Chicken prepared, marinating time will do its work blending the flavors.

Marinate chicken 6-8 hours or overnight

Transfer the chicken into a container and marinate chicken in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Fry the chicken fat add ginger, garlic, Chinese wine, light soy sauce, dash of sesame oil. Then fill the pan with 4 liters of water bring it to a boil.

Recipe Hainan Chicken Rice; poaching stock

Preparing Chicken broth

After a rolling boil, keep the broth down to a simmer, once the chickens are both submerged into the liquid. With only a soft bubble breaking the surface no cooking.

Recipe Hainan Chicken Rice - whole chickens in stock

Whole chickens submerged in stock

Let the chicken poach in the stock for approximately 35-40 minutes, taste and add seasoning if needed. Put a lid on and turn of the heat. Let the chickens cool down in the poaching liquid

Hainan Chicken rice - plump rice kernels full of flavor

Hainan Chicken rice – plump rice kernels full of flavor

Method 1: Wash 6 cups of rice and standby, when the poaching stock has cooled down add this to the rice pan and cook the rice as usual. The final rice will have a light aroma.

Method 2: Fry chicken fat with 2 tablespoons of oil, smashed garlic and ginger till its golden brown and fragrant add the rice, constantly stirring around. Make sure to coat all the rice kernels with a thin layer of chicken fat oil. Add the rice wine while it sizzles and keep stirring, as soon as you smell the infused aroma than add the rest of the poaching liquid or stock and cook the rice.

Method 3: Is to make a paste with the chicken fat, ginger and garlic pounded together and seasoning, then fry the paste into 3-4 tablespoons of oil for 3-4 minutes. As soon as it releases a strong aroma add the rice, keep stirring to coat the rice and finally add the stock or water with pandan leaves to cook till the rice is ready.

In all three described methods, the rice should look fat and plump of absorbing all the liquid and full of flavor. When you smell a fragrant aroma and taste a good chicken flavor you have succeeded in cooking Hainan Chicken rice.

Hainan Chicken Rice almost ready

When removing the chicken from the poaching liquid make sure that the opening is towards the bottom and no liquid remains inside.

While the chicken has cooled down, you may opt to rub ½-1 tablespoon onto the skin for extra aroma and a nice gloss if you leave the skin on. Or you could opt to remove the skin entirely.  Fluff the rice pan and remove all the herbs from the rice. It is time to assemble the plate.

Cut the chicken in serving portions

Cut the chicken in serving portions

First remove the stuffing. As you can see I broke that rule, my chicken was still hot, so I decided to cut off the chicken legs on both sides first.

Cut away the thighs, remove stuffing

Cut away the thighs, remove stuffing

This way the cavity opened up more to remove the stuffing. Now cut off the chicken wings, cut away the backbone. Turnover and you can easily remove all the other bones for easier cutting (an advantage while the meat is still hot/warm).

Cut and remove the breasts

Cut and remove the breasts

With the breasts as last, cut through the middle, remove all the bones on the inside.

Slice the breasts in portions

Cut each breast horizontally lengthwise, making it thinner and easier to cut equal portions,

Cut the wings, remove the tip. Chop the legs or if you like to go the extra mile then de-bone first before cutting.

Dress the plate

Dress the plate

With all the cutting done, scoop the rice onto the plate add the garnish.

If at a restaurant or shop, sometimes you will be asked which meat cut

Place a combination of sliced chicken breast or chopped chicken wing or juicy leg onto the plate

Add condiments

Add condiments; dark soy sauce, chili hot-sour sauce (and minced ginger sauce).

Hainan Chicken Rice plate – Let’s jiak! – Time to makan-lah 🙂

As street food meal, big bottle of ice-cold beer makes a great combination. In refined dining setting pairing with wine, I would opt for a Viognier. Why? because its dry, medium-bodied with loads of fruit flavors.

What would you like to pair with this dish? Leave a comment of even better sent me a photo how you enjoy your meal. Cheers!!

  1. Chinese stock methods and variations
  2. Hainan Chicken rice – foodie chat trivia

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