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Singapore: Hainanese Chicken Rice

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Adjust Servings:
3 1/2 lbs whole chicken
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups uncooked basmati rice I used brown
1 medium Persian cucumber thinly sliced
4 green onions sliced
to taste salt and pepper
For the Sauce
4 tsp bean sauce
4 tsp Ginger Paste
6 cloves garlic
5 small chili peppers finely chopped
5 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar

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Singapore: Hainanese Chicken Rice

  • Serves 6
  • Medium


  • For the Sauce



Hainanese chicken rice is the national dish of Singapore, served everywhere from school cafeterias, to street vendors, to fancy restaurants, to Singapore Airlines.  The dish traces back to Chinese immigrants who came from the Hainan province and settled in different parts of what is now Southeast Asia. Although most often associated with Singapore, Hainanese chicken rice can also be found in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

A whole chicken is boiled and then the broth is used to cook the rice and also served as a soup alongside the meal. The chicken is served over the rice with a savory, spicy sauce.  A friend described this dish as “clean but flavorful,” which actually really resonated with me.  Other than the sauce, the individual components are all very simple, but together they are rich and comforting.

Recipe Source: Vatch’s South East Asian Cookbook



Place the chicken in a large dutch oven and just cover with cold water. Remove chicken and set aside. Add 4 cloves of garlic and 1/2 tsp salt to the water and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan and boil for 20 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on a rack to drain.


Place the rice in a medium pan and add enough of the chicken stock so that the chicken stock is 1" above the rice. Add the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, cover pan and bring to a boil. Uncover and stir, then return cover and turn heat to a simmer. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, at which point the rice should have absorbed the liquid and be fluffy. Cover and set aside.

*If you want to make the chicken at the same time that you prepare the rice, you can use store bought chicken broth to cook the rice.*


Prepare the sauce by whisking the ingredients together, or by combining in a mason jar and shaking well.


Carve the chicken and slice the cucumber.


Reheat the remaining stock if it has cooled. Ladle into individual soup bowls and add salt and pepper, to taste, plus sliced green onions to each bowl.


Spoon a generous portion of rice onto each plate. Top with chicken. Serve soup along side the chicken and rice; you can give everyone their own cucumbers and individual dish of sauce or serve family style. Soup may be slurped or poured over the rice.


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