Hainan Chicken

After last week’s outing to the San Gabriel Valley eating Hainan chicken among other things, I was inspired to make the dish at home.  There are a few steps and I learned along the way but it is pretty simple.  I will most definitely make this again and again.

I made this with 2 chickens because we had a crew of people but here is the recipe for one chicken.

1 whole chicken

4 pieces of peeled ginger that are about 1/4″ thick and mashed down a bit

3 tsp. kosher salt

4 quarts water (I used homemade chicken broth from the local butcher to enhance the flavor mixed with water so about 3/4 broth and 1/4 water).

Bring the water/broth to boil with the salt/ginger.  Put the chicken in, breast side down, and bring the water back to boil with the pot covered.  Then bring the temperature down to simmer, partly cover the pot, and let this hang out for about 20-25 minutes.  Then remove this pot from the heat, cover the pot, and let this stand for about 20 minutes undisturbed.  I actually let it hang out a bit longer.

Then take out the chicken (just to make sure it is thoroughly cooked through you can put in a meat thermometer into the thigh and it should register 180).  Now take out the chicken and put it into a bowl of ice and cold water.  Reserve the broth in the pot.  Let the chicken cool, turning once.  Then take it out and cut into serving pieces.  I just took all the meat off the carcass, sliced it and then put on a platter.

RICE is the side and essential to the whole meal.

Saute 3 shallots in vegetable oil in a heavy saucepan for making rice.  Saute until browned.  Then add 1 1/2 cups rice and saute some more.  Then add in 3 cups of the broth and 1 tbsp. of butter.  Bring to a boil, then down to simmer, cover and let stand about 15 minutes until done.

CHILE sauce is another important element.  You can buy your own favorite sauce or make this one.

6 red Thai chiles or Serrano chiles

1 shallot, chopped

2 tbsp. fresh chopped ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

Put this all in a blender/food-processor and mix.  It is super spicy.


Take an English cucumber and shave long ribbons into cold water to set.  Mix together 2 tbsp. soy sauce and 4 tbsp. sesame oil to dribble over the chicken.  Chop fresh cilantro leaves to spread over the top too (optional)

Serve the chicken, the chile sauce, the rice and dig in.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Twain Twain

    Have you tried this with just a little bit of lemongrass crushed in with the ginger? It makes the dish sing.I also add a teensy bit of shrimp paste to the chili oil.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yum. Adding next time

      1. Twain Twain

        Have you read this? It explains the roots of sexism and racism in our democratic systems. It’s by Stephen Cave, Executive director and senior research fellow of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge, and it speaks to why it’s vital for AI to have more people from diverse backgrounds defining and shaping how AI works.* https://aeon.co/essays/on-t

        1. Gotham Gal

          big fan of aeon. get it daily. missed this one.