Hainanese chicken rice is a dish adapted from early Chinese immigrants originally from Hainan province in southern China. It is considered one of the national dishes of Singapore. Hainanese chicken rice is most commonly associated with Singaporean, Malaysian and Hainanese cuisines, although it is also popular in Thailand and Vietnam. It is based on a well-known Hainanese dish called Wenchang chicken, due to its adoption by the Hainanese overseas Chinese population in the Nanyang area (present-day Southeast Asia).
Catherine Ling of CNN describes Hainanese chicken rice as one of the “40 Singapore foods we can’t live without”. It also listed at number 45 on World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011. In Malaysia, as in Singapore, chicken rice is available in many Chinese coffee shops, restaurants and street hawker stalls, and also in chain restaurants such as The Chicken Rice Shop and OldTown White Coffee.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
- 1 1/2 kg whole chicken
- 7 spring onions
- 6 cm ginger (sliced thick, skin on)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 cups rice
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 pandan leaves (tied into a knot)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoon sambal oelek
- 1 can pineapple pieces (drained)
- 4 chicken stock cubes
- 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/2 cucumber (peeled and sliced)
- 4 sprigs of coriander leaves (chopped)
- 2 tomatoes (cored and wedged)
Chicken and Broth
- Pack the cavity of chicken with the ginger and along with 5 spring onions.
- Boil water (enough to cover the chicken) with 2 stock cubes, peppercorns and about 1½ teaspoons of salt.
- When water is boiled, turn down low and poach the chicken, breast down, for 50 minutes until cooked.
- Soak in chilled water for ten minutes, empty the cavity then joint and cut into smaller pieces.
- Place on a serving tray skin up and surround with the cucumber.
- Slice the remaining two spring onions and scatter over the top of the chicken.
- Mix the soy, sesame oil and ½ cup of the broth in a bowl. Pour it over the chicken pieces.
- Fry the garlic in oil on medium heat for two minutes.
- Add the rice and continue frying for five minutes, continuously stirring.
- Add 3 cups of the chicken broth, a teaspoon of salt, two stock cubes and pandan leaves. Bring to the boil then turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes until the rice is ready.
- Uncover and allow the steam to escape for five minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Skim a tablespoon from the surface of the broth and mix with the chilli, sugar and vinegar until the sugar dissolves.
Toss the tomatoes, pineapple and three quarters of the coriander to combine.
Serve rice, chicken, salad and chilli sauce along with small bowls of broth garnished with a remaining coriander leaves.
Pandanus amaryllifolius is a tropical plant in the Pandanus (screwpine) genus, which is commonly known as pandan leaves and is used widely in South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking as a flavouring. It is readily available at most Asian grocery stores.