Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore dates back to the 1950s. Loy Kee is believed to be the founder of chicken rice in Singapore. Hailing from Hainan and regarded as one of our forefathers, he came to Singapore with his wife for a living in the 1940s. Using the culinary skills that he had acquired as a seaman, he opened a small chicken porridge stall. To bring a new dimension to his business, in 1953, together with his wife, he created a unique chicken rice recipe. There was no turning back for them since then and to this day, it remains one of the best in town. The dish consists of poached cut chicken infused with aromatic ginger/garlic paste and spring onions served with chilli and ginger sauces.
In my first ever attempt at the chicken rice, I was too terrified to deal with the chicken as it looked just big and scary. I remember getting my best friend to cut the whole chicken each time I made curry and will disappear until he yelled out that it has been cut into pieces. Over time, I spoke myself out of this fear and now am able to deal with it. After all, the goodness of the dish lies in poaching the whole chicken.The recipe I have provided is from various sources: I follow Singaporean author Mrs Leong Yee Soo’s way of cooking the chicken, the rice and making the ginger sauce but have added my own style in, I follow Sherie from Maameemoomoo for the chilli sauce. Hope you like this Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe. =)
- The Chicken
- Chicken - 1.6 kg
- Garlic - 12 cloves, peeled and crushed
- Spring onions - 4 knotted and 2 sliced finely
- Water - 2 litres
- Cucumber - 2 pieces sliced thinly
- Coriander leaves - 2 sprigs, chopped finely
- Sesame Oil - 3 tbsp
- Ginger - 3cm knob, peeled and crushed
- The Rice
- Jasmine Rice - 3 cups, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
- Sesame Oil - 1 tbsp
- Chicken Stock - 3 cups
- Spring onions - 1 stalk chopped finely
- Pandan Leaves (Screwpine leaves) - 6 torn into halves and knotted
- Salt - To taste
- Chilli Sauce
- Red Chillies - 90 gm
- Garlic - 15 gm
- Ginger - 50 gm
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Chicken Stock - 50 ml
- Ginger Sauce
- Chicken Stock - 55 ml
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Sugar - 1/2 tsp
- Ginger - 40 gm, peeled and pound until fine
For the Chicken
- Rub salt all over the chicken and massage it. This is to smoothen the skin of the chicken.
- Put 3/4 of crushed garlic, crushed ginger and 1 chopped spring onion slices in the cavity of the chicken
- Heat a large saucepan large enough to fit the chicken with sesame oil.
- Stir fry the knotted and remaining sliced spring onion pieces and crushed garlic for a few seconds till the raw smell goes off.
- Add the chicken, water and let it simmer under medium heat for 1 hour.
- Once chicken is cooked, place it in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process. This also enhances the crispiness of the skin.
- Meanwhile, reserve set aside the required amount of stock for the rice and sauces. The rest can be used for your soup.
- Remove the chicken from the cold water, pat it dry and brush it over with cooking oil.
- You may cut the chicken to bite sizes ready to be served.
- Alternatively, if you would prefer to have roasted chicken, you may place the whole chicken into the oven (pre-heated at 180 Degrees Celsius) for 5-10 minutes. Remove it, cool it and cut it into eatable sizes. I prefer roasted chicken as the skin is just so tender and juicy.
For the Rice
- Heat a cooking pan with sesame oil.
- Stir fry the knotted pandan leaves and sliced spring onions.
- Add the soaked rice and give it one stir.
- Transfer the rice back to the rice cooker, add salt accordingly and chicken stock.
- Switch on your rice cooker and wait for the rice to absorb the chicken stock.
- Once rice is cooked, rake it with a fork and serve hot.
For the Chilli Sauce
- Scald the chillies in hot water. Remove and drain.
- Remove the stems from the chillies.
- Blend the chillies with the remaining ingredients till fine. Serve.
For the Ginger Sauce
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Serve.