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Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice (Hainanese Chicken Rice)
Chicken Rice (Hainanese Chicken Rice) pictures (1 of 5)

You know that someone is a serious and great cook when she tirelessly perfects her recipes even though it means that the family has to eat the same dish over and over again, Sherie of Maameemoomoo is just that with her Hainanese chicken rice recipe, a popular dish in Malaysia and Singapore. Maameemoomoo food blog is one of the finalists of Singapore Blog Award; it beckons with mouthwatering recipes and gorgeous photography, one that is sure to stir up your appetite. Please welcome Maameemoomoo to Rasa Malaysia with her perfect Hainanese chicken rice recipe. Enjoy!

Truth be told, I got to know about Rasa Malaysia quite sometime ago back in 2006 from one of my favourite food blogs then. All these years, I’ve been silently supporting Bee without her knowing but now, errrmmm… not so silently anymore aye? :)

When Bee invited me to do a guest post for her last month, I was elated but at the same time, a little worried…


Just take a look at the Bee’s recipe index. I doubt that there is any Malaysian/ Singaporean dish that has not been featured on Rasa Malaysia already. Fortunately, 1 out of 2 suggestions suggested got Bee thrilled and she was quick to agree to it because she hasn’t featured this particular dish, yet.

Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of Chinese origin most commonly associated with Hainanese Cuisine, Malaysian Cuisine and Singapore Cuisine. It is based on the well-known Hainanese dish called Wenchang chicken (文昌雞). Don’t be surprised though, if you find the chicken rice served in Hainan, China is different from what you can find in Southeast Asia. Over the years, adaption has been made by the Chinese Hainanese clan who migrated to Southeast Asia which resulted today’s Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore and Malaysia.

Being a Hainanese myself, I often eat this when I was growing up. My mother has this ultra soft-spot for this dish, perhaps, because it is the only Hainanese dish which she can whip up perfectly. Tee hee hee!

So, how do you define a good plate of chicken rice?

You might be shocked to know that each and every one of us defines it differently. While a bowl of kick-ass rice works for me, some may think it is the oh-so-tender-chicken pieces with its silky smooth skin, or some, it is the one-of-its-kind-chili sauce. I say, whatever works for you and that is that.

Before this, due to my non-existent chopping chicken skill, I usually cut the chicken into just 4 sections and let the children tear the meat off by themselves. However, ever since I promised Bee that I’ll produce a decent looking plate of chicken rice for her, my poor family had been consuming chicken rice for almost 5 weeks consecutively for the past month!

Thankfully on my 5th attempt, I managed to get a plate of OK-looking chicken pieces and i thought that was the end of my chicken rice meal for the next 3 months at least, but guess what? I’ve just been sent a request to cook this dish on Sunday for my partner’s family and his beloved sister who would be back from the States for a short holiday!

Guess it’s not that easy to get bored of Hainanese chicken rice eh?

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73 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

    • Hi there Jun,

      What i do usually is informing the chicken seller that i need some chicken fats and he will gladly pack some for me, for free!

      Otherwise, what you can do is, use the skin which usually comes with the fats and you dispose it later when the rice is cooked.

      Have fun!

    • sharon

      Hi, you may also get chicken fat from your local grocery store in the Jewish food aisle. It will be called, Schmaltz. It’s packed in a plastic container, usually in the ethnic food section. Good luck.

      Or what I would do is get a whole chicken, slowly simmer it in a deep pot, in low heat. As the chicken slowly cooks, skim the melted fat off of the surface, and save them n a sealed container. That’s always the best.

  1. This is my husband’s favorite rice! Whenever someone goes to LA (we live in SF), he asked for this Hainan Chicken Rice from some famous store (I’m not sure the name). He’ll be so happy to see this recipe! Beautiful recipe and pictures. :-)

  2. Pat

    I am Hainanese as well and its favourite dish to cook and eat when I head back to KL. Just like mum’s recipe but without the pandan leaves. Yummy…

    • sharon

      Yeah, i agree. I may have to try this recipe with pandan leaves. But it’s strange to read that the leaves are used. Otherwise, on my next try, I may have to omit it.

    • It is actually (in Singapore) but not all hawker stalls will include that though. I know we don’t have the habit of eating it hence, it doesn’t come with this recipe :)

  3. sharon

    I have made my own version of chicken rice, buy I have never used pandan leaves before. What style is that? I always thought pandan leaves are used mainly in nasi lemak recipes. Thanks.

    • Peter Pantry Raider

      Some chicken rice sellers put pandan leaf (tearing them into strips) to put in the rice. They also usually put all the chicken feet in the pot with peanuts to make tasty soup.

  4. Peter Pantry Raider

    This is another interesting way of preparing the chicken that I got from the internet.

    Poached Chicken

    1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Make sure the pot is deep enough to submerge the entire chicken with the lid on.
    2. Place garlic, scallions, peppercorns and goji berries into the cavity of the chicken.
    3. When the water has boiled, remove the pot from the heat and place the chicken into the water, neck first. Put the lid on and leave the chicken to stand for 1 hour.
    4. Then lift the chicken out of the water and set aside, as we need to boil the water again for its second bath.

    5. Bring the pot of water to the boil again. Remove the pot from the heat and put the chicken back in for another 30 minutes bath. The chicken should be cooked by now but sometimes the bone can be still bloody when cut up. If you prefer it to be fully cooked, add an extra 30 minutes for the second bath but the texture of the chicken might be slightly different.
    6. Act quickly, transfer the chicken to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Important! Do not discard the pot of water bath! It is now a perfect pot of chicken stock ready to be used for the noodle soup later.
    7. Once the chicken has cooled down, discard all the mixture in the cavity. Rub sesame oil and soy sauce all over the chicken and it is ready to be cut up. Garnish with chopped red chillies and scallions, and a good sprinkle of white pepper powder.

  5. yll

    Hi Rasa Malaysia,
    I do not have my mom’s full recipe, but she did tell me to steam the chicken, instead of boiling it. Therefore, the juice from steaming the chicken will be concentrated and great for cooking the rice, and if there is any leftover liquid, use that for soup. We do love to use the pandan leaves.
    Hope this helps.

  6. l c tan

    thanks for the recipe. to cook the chicken, we need 10 bowls chicken stock to boil. Do I need another chicken to cook to get the stock.

  7. Wow, this is ridiculously like the Vietnamese dish com ga (translated to chicken rice)… same cooking methods, slightly different ingredients.

    For instance, we also stir fry the wok, and boil the chicken, but we will season the chicken with fish sauce, sugar, scallions and no soy sauce nor sesame oil. The chicken is also simmered with ginger like this recipe.

    The main sauce is nuoc mam gung or a ginger fish sauce mixture… amazing how Asian cultures and recipes are the same, just treated with local ingredients.

    • hchan

      Not “Ridiculously”, my Indo-chinese counterpart. Shame on you! Vietnamese are Chinese in descent. Many Hainanese immigrants ended up in Vietnam. So it’s no wonder that Hainanese Chicken rice ended up in Vietnam. By the way; your last name and mine are the same, because they’re both “Chinese” in descent.
      Yes! Hainanese Chicken rice is great! I like it with the pandan.

  8. Sherie and Bee, thank you for collaborating on a post. Another thing the whole world can enjoy via Rasa Malaysia. Lucky me, I have pandan leaves!

    Thanks for sharing! I cannot wait to try this. This will be on the menu next week for sure!

  9. l c tan

    Did you use ready packed chicken stock which normally comes in 1 litre pack which is rather concentrated or do you use home made freshly boiled chicken stock.

  10. Chowhound

    I love, love, love Hainanese Chicken Rice!Thank you for sharing the recipe, I have tried making it twice already but it is never the same as what I’m used to and unfortunately I can never seem to find this in Chinese restaurants in town.

  11. The best thing about chicken rice is the soup… I wish it was easier to find here. You’ve reminded me that I haven’t cooked this in a while, now I’m craving for it (at midnight)! :P

  12. ILive2Fish

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first comment on rasamalaysia. I was searching the universe for a great chicken rice recipe and discovered this wonderful site, along with this splendid recipe, in the process. We’ve prepared this recipe six times in the past month and have been thrilled with each bite! At first glance the dish might seem so simple as to be boring. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I find this dish, and the rasamalaysia site to be emphatically addictive…!

    Thanks to all,


  13. cookingwife

    Love your website babe! prepared this for my husband and he LOVED IT! Used a Kenwood steamer for cooking the chicken though. Wonder whether it tastes the same boiling it in a pot?

  14. Danny

    Hi Bee
    It’s a great recipe. I tried and extremely happy with the result.
    However the photo of the chicken rice in your blog has a dark sauce on the chicken plate. The chicken also has some brown stuff over it. Can you tell us how to do this? Thanks

  15. lauren

    What is Garlic and Shallot oil? (Listed with sauce). Also, why are there two sauces, “for the sauce” and “for the chicken chilli saunce”

    thanks for the recipe and clarifications if you will.

  16. Lynn V

    Thank you for posting so many yummy recipes! I’ve tried 4-5 of them & my husband loves them! The only thing is I can’t find Maltose anywhere in Dubai :( thankfully I’ll be going back to Sabah soon so I’ll stock up as I can’t wait to try the Char Siu recipe..Keep up the good work! :)

  17. Guat-Lian

    In step 3, it says to cook the chicken in boiling water for 35-45 minutes and then to lower the heat to a gentle simmer immediately. Is this correct? Perhaps the heat should be lowered immediately and the chicken cooked for 35-45 minutes at a gentle simmer?

  18. Bekah

    Just wondering, if you could use chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken?

    I live alone, and would hate to have to waste a whole chicken, because no matter what I think, and no matter how good the chicken rice is, I could never eat it all by myself.

  19. JCT

    I made it tonight, my first attempt ever at Hainanese Chicken Rice. I want to say it is pretty darn close to the best ones I’ve eaten from Singapore hawker centres. I guess the pandan leave is the secret ingredient that makes it complete. Even the soup didn’t taste odd- I added Bak Choy (Napa) to the soup and fishballs. My American husband and 2 boys; 4 and 6 years old ate in and said they were good. Took me about 2 hrs to make it but it’s worth every min of it. Would definitely make it again…thank you for sharing this recipe!

  20. sha

    hi, iam thinking of trying this recipe. iam a big fan of chicken rice ever since i tried it from malaysia. i just want to ask for the sauce, is it ok to put normal soya sauce instead of light soya sauce? will that make a big difference in taste?or is there a way i can use the normal sauce so that its like the lighter version?

  21. Have made this recipe a few times. It is fairly easy for Singaporean style food, and the broth is the stuff dreams are made of. I use the broth as a seasoning with ramen noodles, and have an absolutely awesome lunch as well.

  22. Evie Lam

    Hi, I tried your recipe yesterday and am glad it turned out fabulous. My gal loved the chicken rice a lot. Will deginitely cook for my family again. Thanks a lot for all your wonderful recipes!

  23. Kay

    1) under for rice. Ingredients, is the finely chopped garlic + shallot used for garlic/shallot oil or used for frying before adding the rice?
    Thank you.

  24. Michelle

    I just tried this recipe last night and my husband loved it! I wasnt able to get screwpine leaves (no major asian supermarket in Idaho, unfortunately), but the taste was still very good! Thank you for sharing :-)

  25. Hi,
    Thanks for the recipe, I made my chicken rice base on your recipe (modified a little bit).
    I love chicken rice, since I live in Batam (Indonesia), near Singapore so that very easy to find chicken rice here. But I want to make my own chicken rice.
    After searching chicken rice recipes on the internet, I think your recipe very close with chicken rice usually I buy here. Glad to find rasa malaysia.
    Hey…just want to let you know, I posted my chicken rice recipe on my blog and link back to rasa malaysia.

    Thanks for sharing,

  26. Poyee Tung

    Dear Rasa, I have tried the penang chicken rice from Hawker stalls in Penang. I believe it is roast chicken but not steam chicken. Do you have the recipe for that dish? thanks


  27. Kei

    Hi love your recipe but i also like my chicken with the ginger paste. Wonder if you have any special recipe to that. Thanks

  28. Lynn

    I made this tonight with a chicken we got from our meat CSA. It was awesome. Not quite Fetty Loh’s (or Fatty Loh’s) but we still really enjoyed it. Thanks!!!!

  29. David

    I love this dish. Whenever I am in Malaysia, I never miss this. Thank you for this recipe, now I can make this myself. It is easy but need sometime to master it. I did not use pandan leave for my first try but still got the taste.

    For making the sauce, please make sure do not over cook the garlic when you prepare the oil. It will spoil the dish. I think with high heat when putting in the garlic and immediately off the stove and let the hot oil do the rest. This is my own observation.

    Thank you

  30. Tta D

    Tried it today and my daughter loves it. I put foo chook (dried beancurd) and shitake mushroom to the soup and small amount of salt. It’s yummy. Healthy

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