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Hainanese Chicken Rice 海南鸡饭 • Wenchang Chicken 文昌雞

Chicken rice is Singapore and Malaysia number one must try food, our national dish that could be easily found in every shopping mall.

Hainanese chicken rice originated from the Chinese island of Hainan, also known as Hainan chicken rice, 海南鸡饭, 海南雞飯, Wenchang chicken and 文昌雞. They are well-known for succulent and luscious savoury, consist of a simple poached chicken, rice, and condiment for flavour dips. The chicken rice is one of those simple dish that cooked with spice ingredients like garlic, ginger, shallot and spring onion. Basically the rice is cooked from chicken fats, adding a level of fragrant flavor and texture. Since fats are always a big no-no for healthy watcher, eat everything at moderation. I can say healthy is pulling out some important ingredients, like fragrant oil obtained from the chicken fats. Healthy or not, it is up to you to decide.

Hainanese Chicken Rice 海南鸡饭 • Wenchang Chicken 文昌雞

Origin Recipe Source: DiddyLove of Momma Kitchen
Yield: 3-4 servings
Cooking time: 45-60 minutes

Type: Boil, Stir-Fry, Steam Rice

Ingredients for filling

1.2 - 1.5 kg whole chicken
4 screw pine leaves, tied into a knot
100 g spring onion
3 x 3 inch ginger, skin intact lightly bashed
8 garlic cloves, , skin intact lightly bashed
5 whole shallots, peeled
1½ tsp salt + 1 tbsp extra coarse salt
2 litres water

2 litres ice water, for tender dipping
20 ice cubes
1 tbsp sesame oil (1½ tbsp *hawker version*)

Seasoning for chicken rice

300 g jasmine rice
400 ml poach stock
2 garlic cloves
2 shallot cloves
4 ginger slices
3 screw pine leaves
½ tps salt
1 tbsp fragrant oil*(obtained from fats, see directions)

Ingredients for sprinkle seasoning

½ tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp fragrant oil (*hawker version*)
1½ tbsp superior light Sauce (2½ tbsp *hawker version*)
1 tsp fish sauce

Optional • Toppings

1 cucumber, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 sprigs Chinese parsley, cut into pieces

Prepping the filling

  1. Drain soaked mung beans dry*(see notes). Add in filling seasoning and mix well and steam for 20-30 minutes, till cooked through and soft enough to mash. Leave it to cool for 15-20 minutes and letting it dry up slightly.


  1. Wash chicken, leaving no traces of feather, hair or yellow skin.
  2. Trim off fats and set fats aside for frying.
  3. Rub coarse salt all over chicken to polish skin, lightly rinse off salt and set aside.
  4. Heat stockpot, stir-fry fats over medium high heat until oil appears.
  5. Add ginger, garlic cloves, shallots and fry till fragrant.
  6. Dish out fragrant oil aside and seperate out the spices for stuffing.
  7. Pour in water, 1½ tsp salt, screw pine leaves into oiled stockpot and bring to boil.
  8. Stuff fried shallots, fried ginger, fried garlic and spring onion into cavity.
  9. Lower heat to gentle boil, removed and discard screw pine leaves.
  10. Slowly immerse chicken into pot with breast in first.
  11. Poach chicken for 20 minutes, turn chicken over and poach for another 10 minutes.
  12. Rinse jasmine rice and steam with rice seasoning.
  13. Prepare ice water with ice cubes in a wide basin.
  14. Immerse chicken into ice water basin and leave in for 5 minutes.
  15. Lower heat to simmer, remove chicken, drain and brush chicken with 1 tbsp sesame oil.
  16. Use heavy cleaver to chop chicken into bite size.
  17. Place chicken neatly over cucumber and tomato.
  18. Scattered seasoning sauce over chicken and garnish with Chinese parsley.
  19. Removed ginger and garlic when rice is cooked. Fluff rice up with chopsticks.
  20. Dish out rice, season stock with dash of salt and ready to be served.


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