Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hainanese Chicken Rice, in 5 Terrifyingly Easy Steps. No fuss. No kidding.


I'm a fan of Jamie Oliver and totally support his Food Revolution Day which happens to be today. But he put out this strange recipe on Daily Mail just 10 days ago on Singapore's iconic Hainanese Chicken Rice - here's the link to the article. I suspect you may end up with porridge instead of rice if you follow the recipe.

I have a much simpler solution for you. Here's calling all busy executives, lazy cooks, virgin cooks, and students living overseas who miss our beloved dish. I have combed the internet and found a short-cut way to make this fuss-free. But it gets better. My version is a short-cut of the short-cut I found. You can't find a shorter short-cut than this. It's called Extra Virgin Super Short-Cut, with very little compromise on authenticity and taste. The bonus is it's also a healthier version. Done in five terrifyingly easy steps. Check this out.

Step One: Prick chicken thighs with a fork and rub salt all over. Set aside.  

Step Two: Heat up empty rice cooker. Pour 2 Tbsp oil into cooker.

Step Three: Saute minced shallot, garlic and ginger in cooker till fragrant.

Step Four: Add rice and water as you would normally cook your rice.

Step Five: Place chicken thighs in a single layer on top of uncooked rice. Cover lid, and don't open till 10 minutes after rice is cooked. Done!

Recipe (heavily adapted from Lydia)
Serves 3

3 Free-range Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks
2 Cups Jasmine Rice with 2 Cups Water
1/2 tsp Salt to rub on meat
1-2 tsp each of Minced Shallot, Garlic and Ginger
2 Tbsp Oil
A Pinch of Turmeric Powder for colour (optional)

Method in more detail
1. Prick chicken with a fork and rub salt all over. Set aside for half an hour.
2. Wash and soak rice for 15 minutes.
3. Heat up empty cooker, pour oil in and saute minced shallot, garlic and ginger till fragrant.
4. Add rice and water. If you're using turmeric powder, mix it into the water.
5. Place chicken on top of uncooked rice in a single layer. Cover lid.
6. Don't open the lid so heat and moisture will not escape. Wait another 10 minutes after rice is cooked.
7. Remove chicken and fluff up rice gently so as not to break each grain.

Each grain is maintained whole here - gorgeous. Animal fat is released into the rice as the chicken cooks, giving it a deep flavour and aroma.

Chicken are cooked through and they taste soft and moist as if they are poached or steamed.

Serve this with a vegetable dish for more nutritional balance.

A must-try for anyone who can't cook or want to use only one pot for everything. It's much healthier than those on the streets since there is no MSG or other suspicious ingredients, and it may be the only free-range chicken rice you get.

Between Jamie Oliver and I on this dish, who will you choose to trust? Try both and tell me. Remember to give credit to my post if you like this.

P/S: I blogged about this before - check out the slightly longer version here. Some day, I'll post the super long very traditional and authentic full monty version.

See also how we learned to steam chicken leg, Chinese-style, in the culinary school.


  1. Ranj, is that you? Your new blog? Sounds like you're having great fun at work. Cheers.

  2. I am so excited! I love Hainanese chicken rice and if it can be done as easily as you say, Hallelujah!

  3. Yes, Phong Hong, do try it and let me know how it goes!

  4. I've never even thought about using my rice cooker like this! So innovative, I love it!

  5. Hi Cathleen, yes, I love it too! Am following your site now too.

  6. Hi, I named it lazy-man chicken rice !! You're smart by soaking the rice as it will cook faster. Try to use Planta if you have as it will make it more like Chicken Rice !! Fry the ginger, garlic but don't brown them !! The add in the rice and fry well only then add in the water !! My mom always cook this for dinner as we wanted to watch TV program 5-6 pm ages ago -- no time to cook !! Then she would cook veggie clear soup just using chicken stock powder, salt, pepper, some dong chai !!
    Serve with chili sauce – 180 gm --10 fresh chili blend with 4 garlic & 2 inches ginger, some ayam soup with some oil, salt to taste.
    Slice some cucumber, Chinese parsley to place on top of the chicken rice !!

    1. No, no, don't use Planta. Margarine is full of transfat, very bad!

  7. Great additional tips from Mrs Lee. Thank you!

  8. I'm going to take this recipe with me! I only cooked Hainanese chicken once though I love this dish so much only becoz my mother-in-law is a greater cook for this dish. She is a Hainanese. Your recipe sounds fantastic & I would love to try it in the near future. Will keep you updated!

  9. Replies
    1. Hi Caffeine Junkie (aka Twisted Soul!)

      Glad to hear you like it. It looks so tempting to try, doesn't it??

  10. I made this for dinner today and my family loved it! thanks for sharing. ;)

    1. Hi Celine, glad to hear your family loved it, and thankful that you came back here to let me know. I love that.

      Any pictures to show?

      P/S: You can't be serious about preferring washing the toilet to cooking!

    2. Yes, I took pictures. :) Will be blogging about it soon, hopefully this weekend.

      Oh, I was and is still certain of my choice ..... much prefer to scrub toilet than cooking.


    3. That is unbelievable!

      Ok, I look forward to reading your post then. Happy weekend.

  11. Hi! I cooked it yesterday, my son loved it. Thanks for your recepies. Carol.

    1. Hi Carol, I'm so happy to hear that, and thankful that you came back here to share. At the end of the day, it's the people closest to us who are blessed by all these efforts!

  12. Hebat luar biasa! Loved it.. I duno how to cook. I guess i knw how to cook now!!! Thx bro! U r genius!

  13. This is a life saver! I tried this after coming back from long day work and school. Delicious!

  14. Hi, nice recipe! where do you get your range free chicken from?

  15. I am SO excited. I live in the US and it makes it hard for me to get anything authentic. Can't wait to try it!!

    1. Stephanie, enjoy this home made chicken rice in the US!

  16. I just tried making this dish. It's delicious! I will definitely make it again and maybe add a little salt to the rice. Thank you for sharing this recipe. :) This is really easy to make.


  17. Hi, we went on a tour of Singapore last week, and loved this dish. When we came home, I remade the dish using this recipe and I gotta say it tastes like the real thing. Thank! :)

    1. That's so great to hear! And I hope you come back to Singapore again soon.

  18. Hi, I tried this recipe yesterday, out of desperation from time constraint. It's really too easy and really tasty (for the amount time and work I put in!). Even my non-chicken rice fan son said he wants to see more of it.
    The chillie sauce recipe from Mrs Lee goes very well with it. Since I did everything in the rice cooker, I steamed a large piece of the chicken skin with a very small amount of water and cooled it then mix into the chilli mixture, takes the edge off the raw chilli taste. Bravo for the shortcut!!


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