Hainanese Chicken Rice – Malaysian Hawker Favorite

5.0 from 1 vote

One of the most loved hawker dishes in Malaysia and probably the adopted national dish of Singapore, Hainanese Chicken Rice (more often called ‘chicken rice’). You will find this delicious dish in most, if not all, food courts and hawker centres.

The dish consists of succulent poached chicken served with richly flavored rice and accompanied by chicken broth, chilli garlic sauce and a thick and sticky sweet soy sauce. The combination of all these elements is what makes this dish complete.

Although predominant across Malaysia and Singapore you can find Hainanese Chicken Rice throughout South East Asia. Each country has its own version, but it is usually the accompanying dips, condiments or garnishes that differ.

What makes the chicken rice so special is its pure simplicity. No complicated techniques are needed to prepare it. The only thing really needed is time. Each item needs to be prepared separately. However the chicken needs to be prepared first because you will use some of the cooking broth in each of the remaining items.

This recipe I believe recreates a perfect hawker-style Hainanese Chicken Rice!

Hainanese Chicken Rice

5.0 from 1 vote
Recipe by HolisticJB Course: Entrees, Mains, Mild SpiceCuisine: Malaysian, Singaporean


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A classic Singaporean / Malaysian dish of succulent poached chicken and flavored rice served with chilli-garlic sauce, soy sauce and a clear chicken soup.

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  • For Cooking The Chicken And Broth
  • 4 Chicken Thighs

  • 1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce

  • 1 inch Ginger

  • 1 Green Onion

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • For The Ice Bath
  • Water

  • Ice Cubes

  • For The Glaze
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • For The Rice
  • 3/4 cup Rice

  • Chicken Fat

  • 1 Garlic Clove

  • 1/2 inch Ginger

  • 1 Shallot

  • 1 1/2 tsp Soy Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil

  • 1 Pandan / Screwpine Leaves

  • 1 1/3 cup Chicken Broth

  • For The Sweet Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar

  • 1 tsp Warm Water

  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce

  • 1 tsp Rice Vinegar

  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil

  • 2 tsp Chicken Broth

  • For The Chilli Garlic Sauce
  • 4 Red bird’s eye chilli pepper

  • 5 Garlic Cloves

  • 2 Inch Ginger

  • 2 tsp Rice Vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 1/2 tsp Sugar

  • 2 tsp Chicken Broth

  • To Serve
  • 1 Green Onion

  • 1 Cilantro

  • 1 Cucumber


  • To Cook The Chicken And Create The Broth
  • Rinse the clean the chicken pieces well. Remove any excess fat from the chicken and set it aside.rnLightly rub the chicken skin and flesh with a coarse sea salt. Keep rubbing until all the loose skin is removed and the chicken skin shines. Then rinse the chicken under running water to remove excess salt. Pat dry.
  • Fill a large saucepan or stockpot with water and add the chicken. Ensure there is enough water to cover the chicken. Add the green onions and ginger and bring to the boil. Once the water boils, turn the chicken over. Cover the pot and let the chicken and broth simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes prepare a large bowl of ice water. Remove the chicken from the saucepan or stockpot. Leave the broth gently simmering. rnPlace the chicken into the ice bath. Leave for 20 seconds, remove and prepare the glaze by mixing the sesame oil and salt.rnBrush the glaze onto the skin of the chicken.rnContinue simmering the broth for 40 minutes. The more you simmer the more tasty!rnAdd salt and pepper, if required.
  • To Cook The Rice
  • Wash rice and place a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chicken fat that you had kept aside. Render the fat until the oils are released and the solids start to turn brown and crispy. Remove the solids from the rendered chicken fat before they burn. Add the minced garlic, ginger and shallot to the chicken oils. Sauté in the chicken fat until fragrant. Add the washed rice and sauté for about a minute.
  • Add soy sauce, sesame oil and pandan to the rice. Mix well.rnPour the broth into the rice. Stir to mix and leave to cook over high heat.rnOnce the rice mixture boils, reduce the heat and simmer with the saucepan covered until cooked. Approximately 10 minutes.
  • To Make The Sweet Soy Sauce
  • Dissolve sugar in warm water. Then, add the remaining ingredients, mix well and your sauce is ready.
  • To Make The Chilli Garlic Sauce
  • Deseed the red chillis. Add the chilli peppers, garlic cloves, ginger and vinegar to a blender and grind until smooth. Add salt and sugar to taste. Add some of the cooled chicken broth to the sauce to gain your preferred consistency (I use 2 teaspoons)
  • Serving
  • On a plate add a serving of rice. Cut the poached chicken into thin long slices and place on top of rice. rnPour some of the sweet soy sauce over the chicken.rnWarm the broth, add to small soup bowls and garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro leaves.rnServe your Hainanese Chicken Rice at room temperature, with warm soup, cucumber slices, chilli garlic sauce and add a dipping bowl of sweet soy sauce on the side.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 389kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Fat: 21.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.3g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg
  • Sodium: 870mg
  • Potassium: 120mg
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Iron: 0mg

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After living in Malaysia and Brunei, and travelling throughout South East Asia, I fell in love with the countries, the people and the amazing cuisine. Now I want to share that passion through the recipes that deliver Hawker Style, authentic flavors of Asia.

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