Chicken Rice (海南鸡饭)

Chicken Rice2

Updated Oct 12th 2021

Recently, an Indonesian friend Farah told me she likes the Singapore dish Nasi Hainan. I was surprised that I have never heard of this dish even though I am born and bred in Singapore. After a few head scratching moments, I realized she was referring to Hainanese Chicken Rice! Updated this post with pictures for the various steps. I see the difference between then and now is that my knife skill has improved 😁 It’s a dish that is easy to prepare at home, and one chicken can feed the two of us and the dog for the whole week!

First Published Jan 18th, 2016

I have to believe Chicken Rice is the signature Singapore dish? or is it Chilli Crab, or, Singapore Satay, or, …? Anyway, cooking the chicken and the rice is fairly easy. When there is no access to the hawker center, this is as good as it gets …

  • Prep Time: 1/2 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 1 4-lb organic whole chicken
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 thumb size ginger, peeled and smashed
  • 4 stalks of green onion, tied into a knot
  • 4 pints water
  • sea salt


  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • sprigs of cilantro


  1. Wash and clean chicken, remove all the internals. Pat dry.
  2. Rub the chicken with some salt all over on the skin and on the inside of the chicken. Let chicken stand for at least half an hour at room temperature. If you leave the chicken in the refrigerator overnight, remember to remove it from the refrigerator at least an hour before cooking to let it come to room temperature. Otherwise, the chicken will not cook evenly.
  3. Stuff the chicken with the garlic, ginger, and green onions.
  4. Bring a deep stock pot with 4 pints of water to a rolling boil.
  5. Add the chicken, the water should just cover the chicken. Add more boiling water if needed. Leave the stock pot uncovered, and let the water return to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. Let the chicken simmer for 50 minutes.
  7. While chicken is boiling, fill another deep pot/container with ice cold water.
  8. When the chicken is ready, remove from the stock pot and immerse it in the ice water to stop the cooking. Let it stand in the water for 10 minutes.
  9. Transfer to chicken to a large plate and brush the chicken immediately with oil. Remove the stuffing.
  10. Cool the chicken completely before cutting it into pieces. Cutting the chicken is an art and requires a sharp knife and the guts to hack away. I have not attained that level of expertise and have resorted to debone the chicken instead.
  11. Arrange on a large serving plate and garnish with sliced cucumber, tomatoes and cilantro.
  12. Save the chicken stock for cooking the rice and soup.

Chicken Rice

I am lucky to have access to Chng Kee’s Chicken Rice mix here in the Chinese Grocery store. I follow the instructions and use the chicken stock instead of water to cook the rice. The results is fantastic.

Chicken Rice3


  • 4 cups jasmine rice
  • 4 Tbsp / half a bottle of Chng Kee’s Chicken Rice Seasoning Mix
  • 750 ml of chicken stock from boiling the chicken, adjust accordingly if cooking in rice cooker.


  1. Wash and rinse rice and add to rice cooker.
  2. Stir chicken rice seasoning mix well and add 4 Tbps to the rice.
  3. Add chicken stock to rice cooker. Adjust the amount according to instructions for the rice cooker.
  4. Stir well and cook.
  5. When the rice is ready, fluff the rice and keep warm until ready to serve.

Black Sauce

  • Mix 2 Tbsp of dark soy sauce with 1 Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee sweet soy sauce.

Chilli Sauce

  • Mix 2 Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee chilli saue with 1 Tbsp of chicken stock and juice of 1 lime. Add a pinch of salt. Stir.

Salt the chicken and refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature before boiling.

Add to boiling water, cover, simmer for 50 minutes

Transfer chicken to an ice water bath for 10 minutes

Brush the chicken with oil and cool before cutting. Cook Rice with broth and Chng Kee seasoning.

Keep an eye on the dog! He is eyeing the chicken too!

Enjoy with fragrant chicken rice, stir-fried salted mustard and bean sprouts, and onion fried eggs.


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