Hainanese Chicken Rice - Singaporean

  • 1 4-5 lb. whole chicken, preferably free-range/organic
  • 2-inch segment of ginger, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup white rice
  • sesame oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • dipping sauces


Slice off the flap of chicken fat/skin from the neck cavity of the chicken and set aside

Fill a large stockpot with enough cold water to submerge the entire chicken by at least 1 inch. Be sure to leave enough space for water displacement from the chicken. Add smashed garlic cloves, ginger, and the neckbone of the chicken (if included) to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Drop chicken into the boiling water and cover. Bring the liquid back to a boil as quickly as possible and boil vigorously until cooked through, approximately 25 minutes. Be sure to cook chicken thoroughly, but do not overboil. The best way to check for doneness is with a meat thermometer; the meat should be at 165 degrees F). Once chicken is cooked, remove from the pot and immediately place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Keep the pot of water at a boil to reduce by at least 25%.

In the meantime, slice the reserved flap of chicken fat into small pieces and render the fat in a skillet over medium heat to obtain 2 tablespoons of fat. Reserve. Once the chicken is done boiling, brown a bit of smashed ginger and some roughly chopped garlic together with sesame oil, and then stir in rice grains and lightly toast them in the fat over medium heat until the edges of the grains are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice to a rice cooker and use the cooking liquid from the stock pot to cook the rice.

While rice is cooking, add carrot and green onions to the pot containing the boiling chicken broth. Season broth with salt and pepper to taste, remembering that the broth should be mild in flavor (not salty!), with only a delicately fragrant hint of chicken and ginger. Once the carrot is cooked, serve the broth as a simple soup.

Once the chicken has cooled completely, remove the meat from the bone, trying to keep the skin intact. Slice thinly and dress with a light drizzle of sesame oil. The meat should be accompanied by kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper on the side, in addition to your own choice of dipping sauces. Serve with the steamed white rice, which should have a wafting fragrance of chicken imbued into each tender grain.

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