Hainanese Chicken Rice

Toby and I have been watching Masterchef Australia 2020 religiously for the past couple months. Our favourite contestant Sarah Tiong just got eliminated but it also happens that her cookbook was also recently released so naturally I bought it! This recipe was adapted from one of hers. We’ve always loved Hainanese chicken rice and decided to give it a go. It turned out AMAZINGLY and surprisingly so easy!

Servings: 4-5 people


  • 1 whole chicken (~1.6kg)
  • 2 pieces (~4cm) of ginger, unpeeled & crushed
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
  • 8 spring onions, cut into 7cm pieces
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 4 Tbsps (56g) rendered chicken fat *
    • You can make it yourself by chopping 112g of raw chicken fat and skin in a small pan and heating it over low heat until all the fat has rendered out and the solids shrink to crispy and golden (~20-30mins).
    • Alternatively you can also buy rendered chicken fat called schmaltz
  • 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 pandan leaves, bruised and tied into knots (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • Cucumber slices to serve (optional)
  • Spring Onion and Ginger Oil Sauce
    • 1 Tbsp ginger, grated
    • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
    • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 cup (240ml) neutral oil (canola, vegetable…etc.)


  1. Optional step for if you are making your own rendered chicken fat: Remove the two pieces of chicken fat by from inside the chicken cavity at the entrance by gently pulling and then chop into small pieces and heat over low heat in a pan until the solids are crispy and golden.
  2. Place the whole chicken in a big pot and fill the pot with cold water until it just covers the chicken.
  3. Add the ginger, 5 cloves of garlic, spring onion, salt, and chicken stock cubes to the pot.
  4. Put a lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. After 15mins, turn off the heat and leave the chicken to poach in the soup for 20 minutes.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the spring onion and ginger oil sauce!
    1. In a bowl, mix together ginger, garlic, spring onion, salt, chicken stock powder. Set aside.
    2. In a skillet, heat the oil on med-high heat until it just starts to smoke. Turn off the heat and immediately add the rest of the ingredients set aside in step 1 to the skillet and stir thoroughly. Let the ingredients steep in the oil until cooled. Ready to use!
  6. After 20mins, carefully remove the chicken from the broth and rest it for 20mins (ideally hanging off a hook or propped up to let any juices drip off into a bowl).
  7. While the chicken is resting, make the rice by heating the rendered fat in a medium sized pot (big enough to cook the rice in) on med-high heat and add in the remaining 5 cloves of garlic and uncooked rice. Stir fry the rice for a couple minutes until it’s completely coated in the chicken fat.
  8. Cook the rice according to package instructions using the chicken broth instead of water. You can cook it in your rice cooker or cook it in the pan.
    • How I usually cook it in the same pot: add 3 cups of broth to the rice and cook the rice with a lid on over low-medium heat until the broth is absorbed. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, if the rice is still undercooked, add in half a cup of broth at a time and continue to cook with the lid on until cooked. Once rice is ready, turn off the heat and take off the lid and mix it around to fluff up the rice.
  9. Once the rice is cooked and the chicken has cooled, rub the chicken all over with sesame oil then carve it into pieces. Done! Serve with sliced cucumber, rice and the spring onion and ginger oil. Enjoy!
  10. Optional: you can serve the chicken broth as a side dish to take advantage of that delicious flavour! Bring it back to a boil and adjust with salt and pepper. If it’s too salty, add boiling water to dilute it. Alternatively, you can put the bones back into the broth from the leftover carcass/bones and simmer on low heat for several hours to create a rich chicken stock that can be used in any other recipes in the future or served as a basic stock. This stock can easily be frozen by straining out all the ingredients first.

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