Hainanese Chicken Rice and Chili Sauce

This dish absolutely defines South East Asian Hainanese people (well, along with coffee and buttered bread with kaya jam). A bite of the yummy rice and juicy chicken dipped in the chili sauce guarantees a burst of flavors. The dish also includes a tasty bowl of soup to wash down this appetizing meal.

The Chicken


1 whole chicken (free range is preferred)- cleaned and fat trimmed, 1 small onion- sliced, 1 ginger knob- sliced, 4 cloves of garlic, 0.5 tsp ground black pepper, 2 tbs sesame oil, 1 scallion stalk, 1 cucumber, 1 tomato, 0.5 cup fresh parsley or coriander leaves, enough water to cover chicken in a large pot and salt to taste


1. In large pot of water over medium heat, add onion, ginger, garlic, black pepper and salt. Bring the water to boil

2. Gently place chicken into the pot and lower the heat. Cook for 30 to 45 mins or until the deepest part of the chicken (ie thighs) registers 170F or until juices run clear when pierced

3. Remove chicken and immerse it in a basin of cold water for 5 mins (You can opt to skip this step)

4. Reserve the cooking liquid. Skim any excess fat. Save to cook rice and make soup

5. Drain and set the chicken aside to rest

6. Slice scallion thinly

7. Slice cucumber and tomato thinly

8. Cut chicken to bite sizes

9. Pour sesame oil and 1 tbs of cooking liquid over the pieces. Sprinkle the scallion and coriander leaves

10. Serve chicken pieces with cucumber and tomato slices

The Soup


6 cups cooking liquid (from cooking the chicken), 5 Chinese cabbage leaves, 2 carrots, 1 daikon, 5 white mushroom, 1 tomato, 0.5 cup wolf berries, 1 tsp black pepper and salt to taste


1. Slice cabbage, carrots, daikon, mushroom and tomato to bite sizes

2. In a pot, bring cooking liquid to a boil over medium heat. Add vegetables, pepper and wolf berries. Stir to mix well

3. Cook for 20 to 30 mins or until the vegetables are tender

4. Season with salt and serve in small serving bowls

The Rice


3 cups Jasmine fragrant rice, 3.5 cups cooking liquid (from boiling the chicken), 1 small ginger knob, 2 garlic cloves, 2 pandan or screwpine leaves and salt to taste


1. Wash rice in several changes until the water runs clear and clean. Place in microwavable bowl or rice cooker

2. Smash ginger, garlic and screwpine leaves. Mix into rice

3. Add cooking liquid and salt. Stir to blend

4. For microwave, set to HIGH and cook for 15 mins or until rice is cooked and dry. For rice cooker, set to COOK until rice is cooked

5. Remove the leaves. Fluff the rice before serving

The Chili Sauce


6 Thai chili peppers, 4 fresh red chilies, 1 ginger knob, 4 garlic cloves, 1 small onion, 2 tbs cooking liquid (from boiling the chicken) and 1 lime. Sugar , soy sauce and salt to taste


1. Wear a pair of kitchen gloves and remove seeds from chili peppers

2. In a food processor, add chili peppers, ginger, garlic and onion. Chop the ingredients together while pouring cooking liquid in a stream

3. Remove sauce when the ingredients are chopped finely. Wash food processor immediately to avoid being stained

4. Roll the lime before slicing to release its juices. Slice the lime and squeeze over the sauce

5. Add sugar and salt to taste and stir to incorporate

6. Serve in a sauce plate with soy sauce

Note: Best to store chili sauce without soy sauce in the refrigerator

Chili sauce

Hainanese Chicken