Hainan Chicken Rice my version

  • Yield : 1kg +
  • Servings : 4
  • Prep Time : 20m
  • Cook Time : 40m
  • Ready In : 60m


  • 4 chicken Maryland (1kg)
  • 30g fresh coriander roots – reserve leaves for garnish
  • 20g fresh ginger
  • 30g spring onion base
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1.5lt water

Ingredients for rice & garnish & seasoning:

  • 2 dessertspoons sesame oil
  • 2 dessertspoons light soy sauce
  • cucumber slices
  • 2 small red chilies
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 dessertspoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup long grain rice – washed
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock (reserved from boiling the chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1 chicken stock cube (optional)


In a large pan bring chicken pieces and 1.5lt water,  coriander roots, spring onions, salt, pepper and ginger to boil then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes and now let the chicken  rest in the stock without heat for 10 minutes further then remove the chicken and bring the stock to boil once more and simmer for further ten minutes. Strain the stock and reserve it to cook the rice and remainder as clear broth accompanying the completed dish when serving.

Preheat the oven on 200 c for 10 minutes and during this time brush the chicken pieces with sesame and soy combined. Place the pieces in a baking dish or on a rack then bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes to crisp it and to brown the skin slightly. During this time in a rice cooker mix the washed rice grains with 1.5 cups of the reserved chicken stock, crumble one chicken stock cube and add the garlic granules. Switch it on to cook.

While the chicken and the rice is cooking make a dressing of chili vinegar by combining in a pestle and mortar the chilies, sugar, salt and garlic till roughly to well ground then add the vinegar and check for seasoning. If not hot enough add more chili and same with sugar. Slice cucumber and chop some fresh coriander leaves for garnish. When the chicken is ready with a large clever chop the pieces with bones to roughly 4 to 5 pieces each. Divide the cooked rice into 4 place it on plates with the chopped chicken pieces per serve on top of the rice or beside it garnished with cucumber, chopped coriander and sprinkling of additional soy if preferred. Place vinegar dressing in little bowls per plate and divide the remainder stock as broth equally,  garnished with coriander, wedges of tomato and soy (optional) and serve.

Variations and My Story

I have no doubt that an international student coming from any parts of Asia/ South East Asia will find this recipe a delight to the point of warming their hearts. This recipe may look lengthy but trust me once you know the procedure you’ll master the easy technique very quickly. Even though this is a chicken dish of Hainan in Sanya, China when Stephen was invited to a work there he was usually taken to the popular seafood restaurants which promoted seafood dishes over other meat dishes. Stephen says that he may have caused a bit of a stir, or perhaps even an offence, when he asked for a chicken dish at one particularly popular seafood restaurant!  He did receive a chicken dish, eventually, which had been sub-contracted from a neighbouring restaurant. We apologise to the folks for his request because Stephen isn’t really a seafood lover, unlike me.

When my nephews from Malaysia visited me recently for the very first time I had to apologise that I couldn’t produce one of my nephew’s favourite dish in time as they only came for a short visit. This dish which is a favourite of Malaysians and is also a particular favourite of my nephew.  When I had visited him in Malaysia when he was a little boy he asked for it all the time, sometimes he created quite a fuss when his request of ‘chicken rice’ wasn’t met! After a few visits to restaurant with him it became apparent to me that his passion for his favourite ‘chicken rice’ was so obvious that it was pointless to try ordering anything else for him. I saw my brother fulfilling his son’s demand, tears and loud cries ensured until he got his favourite dish. I admire my brother for such love for his son where nothing was too much trouble and he would seek out this dish for him no matter where we traveled in Malaysia. I couldn’t help but replay some of my observations of my nephew’s childhood emphatic moments when ever I thought of him of course he is an adult now.   I hope my nephew likes my version of Hainan Chicken Rice.

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