Hainanese Chicken Rice [A Must Eat Dish in Malaysia or Singapore]


Hainanese Chicken Rice (海南鸡饭) is a Southeast Asian dish which is very popular in both Malaysia and Singapore. A plate of delicious chicken rice is usually served with a bowl of soup and it is selling at around RM3.50 (the price stated here is just a guide, I find prices in Malaysia inflated really fast these days) at hawker centres in Malaysia.

I made Spring Onion Condiment, special chilli sauce for chicken rice, and soy sauce dip with garlic, ginger and sesame oil to go with it. The latter is similar to the one offered by Soup Restaurant in Singapore they served it with steamed chicken. By the way, spring onion condiment is something extra and not available in local hawkers. Ingredients used for this dish is straight forward the key point is to get a really fresh chicken.


Please bear with the ugly look chicken, I was in hurry as the little one was crying for mama. Had no extra time for deboning the chicken and plating for presentation.

Ingredients (6 servings):
1 whole chicken, about 2 kgs
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2" fresh ginger root, crushed
2 spring onions, chopped briefly
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil

3 cups long grain rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemongrass, crushed
2 screwpine leaves
4-5 cups chicken broth
Salt to taste

Chilli Sauce:
2-3 calamansi limes, seeded
2 tbsp chicken broth
2 tsp sugar
2-3 red chillies
4 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger

Cilantro sprigs
Spring onion
2 cucumbers, sliced
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced


  1. Cut any excess fats off and reserve for cooking rice IF DESIRED. Marinate chicken with salt for about 30 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil (enough to submerge the whole chicken), add in garlic, ginger and spring onion.
  3. Submerge the chicken into water, breast-side down, for few seconds then lift it up to drain all water in the chicken cavity. Repeat this step a few times so that the temperature in the chicken cavity will go up quickly.
  4. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat down to slow poach. Let it cook for 40 to 45 minutes, turning the chicken over half way through. If the heat is too high, leave the pot lid ajar.
  5. When chicken is cooked, remove and plunge immediately into a bath of icy cold water, submerging the chicken for about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from the water, drain well and set aside.
  6. RICE: Rinse rice till water is running clear, drain well.
  7. Heat wok on high, add in vegetable oil and sesame oil. If using chicken fat, add in reserved chicken fat and cook until the oil is rendered. Add in some vegetable oil if oil to make up 3 tablespoons of oil if chicken oil is insufficient.
  8. Add chopped garlic, stir-fry for a few seconds or till browned lightly. Add in raw rice, stir-fry till the rice grains start to look translucent.
  9. Transfer rice into an electrical rice cooker, add 5 to 6 cups chicken broth (up to level "3" in the rice cooker pot), pandan leaves and lemongrass. Add salt to taste if necessary and cook as if cooking plain rice.
  10. Once the rice is cooked, turn heat off and wait for 10 minutes before opening the lid. Steam inside will gently finish steaming the rice.
  11. Fluffy up the rice with a wooden spatula, discard pandan leaves and lemongrass.
  12. SAUCE: Put all ingredients in the blender and pause the blender a few times to make paste. It does not need to be very smooth.
  13. SERVING: Line a serving platter with sliced cucumber, arrange chicken pieces on top and drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil over, garnish and serve with rice, soup and chili dipping sauce.


Poached mung bean sprouts - a simple vegetable dish to complete this chicken rice meal.

Cook's Notes:

  1. For healthy version, do not use chicken fats for cooking the rice.
  2. I like to marinade the chicken with salt before cooking instead of adding salt into boiling water. I find that without marinating the chicken is not as tasty.
  3. You need a very sharp knife for chopping the chicken.
  4. Debone the chicken if desired, I deboned only big bones.
  5. The chicken can also be served with noodles.
  6. For different presentation, make rice balls while the rice still hot.

Comments :

7 comments to “Hainanese Chicken Rice [A Must Eat Dish in Malaysia or Singapore]”
Swee San said...

I think a plate of chicken rice is about RM 4 in hawker stalls now with just 1 type of meat.. Bean sprouts is a must and yours looks soooo inviting!!

Jess @ Bakericious said...

this is my family favourite dish, looks so delicious.

humaira said...

WAs the chicken only boiled and not fried?

Lydia said...

Swee San,
My place still got RM3 but serving is much smaller than in KL or JB. Went to KL few weeks ago, fried kueh tiao already selling at RM4. Here, still got RM2.50.

We love this too, especially with Kampung chicken.

Hainaese chicken is always boiled, but the rice is the same for fried/roasted chicken rice.

xan said...

OMG my mouth is watering! i was in Melaka just last week trying the chicken rice ball rice. the price they charged for the kampung chicken was really not worth eating. i would love to try this... but i dont know how to chop the chicken nicely. any chance you can show how u do it? TIA.

Sarah's Daddy and Mommy said...

I want some please...

Katrina said...

The best dish that i can imagine ever!..Can't wait to try this over the weekend. My kids will surely love this

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