How to Make Hainanese Chicken Rice at Home

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HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE is a national dish in Singapore and Malaysia. It’s also very popular in Thailand and Indonesia. You can be sure that if you ask anyone who has visited these countries, they will tell you that this one particular takeaway meal was their favourite. If you’re ever in Asia and somehow miss tasting this unforgettable meal – don’t worry – many Asian grocery stores carry the pre-mixed ingredients for making Hainanese chicken rice at home.

What makes Hainanese chicken rice so special? This amazing recipe consists of only 5 simple steps: poach a whole free-range chicken; prepare delicious hot oil rice; whip up a sauce made from garlic, ginger, dried scallops, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce; slice the chicken and serve it together with the rice and side dishes.

These ingredients may sound quite common, yet this meal will definitely make your taste buds jump for joy. You could not resist trying this yummy dish just using these ingredients at an incredibly affordable price. It also tastes great if you keep some leftover rice in the fridge and just top it off with sliced chicken or even turnip/radish slices when you’re having lunch or dinner. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s start cookin’!

Ingredients: serves 4-6 people

  • 1 whole free-range chicken – 2 ½ – 3 lbs (1 – 1 ½ kg)
  • ½ cup light soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Chinese rice wine (preferably Shaoxing)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 cups fresh water
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, sliced thinly
  • 2 dried scallops
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in chicken and lower heat until water is simmering very softly. Poach the chicken for 20 minutes over low heat while occasionally skimming off any froth on top with a slotted spoon. Add more hot water if necessary to keep the chicken immersed.

  2. Remove the chicken with a pair of tongs, drain well and transfer to a plate to cool. Discard boiling water. Cut the cooled chicken into serving pieces. Prepare the sauce: Mix light soy sauce, sugar, Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing), sesame oil in a bowl; stir until salt is dissolved; set aside.

  3. Prepare the poached chicken: Heat up 4 cups of fresh water in a pot over high heat. Add vinegar and bring to a boil again; add ginger slices and scallops (if your scallops are not pre-soaked in water); blanch for 1 minute; drain in a colander or wire strainer; rinse under cold running water if desired.

  4. Heat up ¼ cup of cooking oil in a wok over medium-high heat until it starts to form bubbles. Stir fry ginger slices for about 15 seconds then add pressed or minced garlic and dried scallops; stir fry another 30 seconds then transfer the sauce mixture into the wok, stirring constantly for about 20 seconds. Season with salt and dark soy sauce, according to your own taste preference. Add blanched scallops back to wok together with poached chicken pieces, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and coats each piece of chicken well.

  5. Transfer onto a serving platter and serve immediately as a main dish over hot steamed rice or as part of a multi-course meal along with vegetable dishes or soup and rice.

Asian cuisine is some of the most diverse and delicious in the world, and Hainanese chicken rice is a perfect example. This easy-to-follow recipe will make your taste buds jump for joy, and it’s sure to become one of your go-to meals when you’re looking for something quick and satisfying. So, what are you waiting for? Give this amazing dish a try today!