Hainanese Chicken Rice is an iconic dish of Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine, influenced by Hainanese immigrants from China.

It originated among Hainanese immigrants from Hainan Province, China, who settled in Singapore and Malaysia. It is believed to have evolved from the traditional Hainanese dish known as Wenchang Chicken.

This meal is typically served on a large plate. The chicken, cut into pieces, is placed on a bed of steamed rice. It is served with slices of fresh cucumber and sometimes with chopped cilantro.

It is served with two main sauces:

    • Ginger sauce: Spicy and refreshing, made with fresh grated ginger, often mixed with sesame oil.
    • Sweet soy sauce: Used as an additional seasoning for chicken or mixed with rice.

To enjoy Hainanese Chicken Rice, it is common to mix a little of the ginger sauce with the sweet soy sauce in a small dish.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is very popular in Singapore and Malaysia, and is considered a national dish in both countries. Over the years, it has evolved to include variations such as Hainanese Roast Chicken or Hainanese Chicken Fried Rice, but the classic version remains the most loved.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

How to make Hainanese Chicken Rice at home


  • 1 whole medium-sized chicken (approximately 1.5 to 2 kg)
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (about 5 cm), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Sal
  • White pepper
  • 1 fresh cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

For the ginger sauce:

  • 1 piece fresh ginger (about 5 cm), peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  1. Cooking the chicken:
    • In a large pot, heat enough water to completely cover the chicken. Add salt to the water.
    • Submerge the whole chicken in the boiling water, breast side down.
    • Add slices of ginger and crushed garlic cloves to the water.
    • Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the chicken for about 45-50 minutes, or until cooked through. You can check for doneness by poking the thickest part of the thigh; if the juices run clear, the chicken is done.
    • Remove the chicken from the water and immediately submerge it in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking. This also helps the chicken skin become firmer and more pleasant to eat.
  2. Prepare the rice:
    • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
    • In a large pot, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add sliced ​​ginger and crushed garlic and sauté until fragrant.
    • Add the rice and stir to coat with oil and aromatics for a few minutes.
    • Transfer the rice to a rice cooker (preferably) or a large pot. Add the hot chicken broth (the amount of broth should be twice the amount of rice).
    • Cook rice according to your rice cooker’s instructions or over low heat until fully cooked and the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Prepare the ginger sauce:
    • In a small bowl, mix together the grated ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce. Taste and adjust the ingredients to your preference.
  4. Serve:
    • Cut the chicken into small pieces and serve on a bed of steamed rice.
    • Serve with fresh cucumber slices and fresh cilantro.
    • Serve the ginger sauce on a small plate as an accompaniment to the chicken and rice.

Source: https://reporteasia.com/cultura/cocina-asiatica/2024/07/04/hainanese-chicken-rice-clasico-singapur-malasia/

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