Recipe: Hainanese chicken rice - Cơm gà Hải Nam

By Helen Le Published: February 3, 2018

  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Ready In: 2 hrs 30 mins

  • Yield: 4 Servings

Hainanese chicken rice isn’t just popular in China, Singapore and Malaysia. We in Vietnam love it, too. My first encounter with it wasn't the best, but I soon fell in love when I tried it at the right place.

  • Choose an average 1.5kg chicken. If you buy frozen chicken, defrost thoroughly to bring it back to room temperature. Rub with salt inside and out. Then rinse well and pat it dry. Into its cavity, add 3 slices ginger, 2 scallion, 3 shallots. These will infuse the chicken with a pleasant aroma as it boils.
  • Bring a large pot to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp chicken stock. If you add the chicken into the boiling water, the skin is most likely to tear because of temperature shock. Keep the water boiling for 5-7 minutes first. Skim off the foam. Then cover the lid, turn off the heat and leave for 45 minutes. Most Vietnamese prefer the chicken meat to be slightly chewy and not too soft.
  • Heat a pan on medium and add the chicken fat to render out the fat. Remove the rinds and Add 1tbsp each of minced garlic, shallot and ginger. Sautee till fragrant and toss in the rice which I have soaked for 1 hour and drained. Toss well so the rice is nice and fragrant. Then add to the rice cooker. We will use the broth we cook the chicken to cook the rice. It will make the rice more flavorsome and shiny. You’ll need about 400ml of the broth. Cook in a rice cooker as normal.
  • To make the orange sauce, blend the ingredients ( garlic, ginger, large chilli, bird-eye chilli, juice of 3 kumquats...) till smooth. Then mix with 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tsp sesame oil.
  • After 45 minutes, you can test the doneness by poking a toothpick into its thigh. If the water coming out runs clear, it should be cooked. Take out and soak in an ice water bowl to stop the cooking process and prevent darkening.
  • Standard chicken for Hainanese chicken rice has no color, but it looks too plain for my taste. So I sautee some pounded turmeric with the chicken fat to turn the oil yellow and brush all over it. Simply chop it up. You can debone if you wish.
  • In a small bowl, mix 4 tbsp of the broth with 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil and 2 tsp sugar. Drizzle over the chicken to make it extra juicy and fragrant
  • To serve, Fluff the rice, shape it in a cup and place on the plate. You also need some thick soy sauce to make it complete. Drizzle that sauce over the rice. It’s so fragrant and rich.