Singapore is a prime location for some of the finest food in South East Asia be it $5 hawker food (street food), or a $500 fine dining experience. Owing to its multi-ethnic population, Singaporean cuisine has a whole slew of unique flavor and aroma ranging from the Peranakan Laksa to the Indian Fish head curry. However, one dish stands out as the pinnacle of Singaporean cuisine – Hainanese Chicken Rice.

Immigrants from the Hainan province in Southern China brought this dish with them and integrated it into the smorgasbord of cultures in Singapore. It has been a staple element of Singaporean cuisine ever since and even made it to CNN’s list of the 50 most delicious foods ever created. Chicken rice is relatively simple to make, but requires fastidiously painstaking perfection on all ends. This post will guide you through how to make the National Dish of Singapore without 50 years of hands on experience.

 

Poached Chicken

  • Prep Time:10 minutes
  • Cook Time:1 hour 20 minutes
  • Total Time:1 hour 40 minutes
  • Servings:4
  • Advanced Course

    Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • lots of kosher salt
  • 6 stalks of green onions
  • 1 cup ginger
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 1

Exfoliate the chicken by rubbing it with salt then rinsing it (this gets rid of excess feather and blood). Watch this video to learn more about it.

Step 2

Chop the green onions roughly.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 3

Peel and chop the ginger into slices.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 4

Stuff the chicken with green onions and ginger.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 5

Add the whole stuffed chicken into a pot of water, add salt, cover and bring to a boil.

Step 6

Let it boil for 10 minutes, turn down the heat and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.

Step 7

Turn the heat off and let it poach slowly for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 167°F or 75°C.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 8

Take the chicken out and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process immediately.

Step 9

Carve the chicken by first cutting around the breastbone and removing it.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 10

Next, chop the breast and thighs into similar sizes, but save the drumsticks (or cut them too if you want, there’s no real rule to this)

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Savory rice

  • Prep Time:15 minutes
  • Cook Time:1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time:1 hour 30 minutes
  • Servings:6
  • Easy

    Ingredients

  • 3 cup long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 cup chicken fat/chicken oil

Step 1

Wash and drain the rice.

Step 2

Gather chicken skin and fat from other chicken dishes (sometimes the butcher doesn’t carry them).

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 3

Render the chicken fat by boiling it in a water just enough to cover, then straining it out.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 4

Mince garlic and ginger (or you can choose to slice and fry them in chicken oil).

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 5

Add aromatics, oil and salt into the rice. If you don’t have enough chicken oil you can also supplement with sesame oil.

Step 6

Instead of adding water, add the cooking liquid from the poaching chicken. This will be the broth that we use to cook our rice in. Add roughly 2 times the amount of broth to rice or as per rice cooker instructions.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 7

Cook the rice as you usually would either in a rice cooker or over the stove.

Chili Sauce

  • Prep Time:2 minutes
  • Cook Time:1 minute
  • Total Time:3 minutes
  • Servings:8
  • Easy

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • 3 inches of ginger sliced
  • 8 chilis
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Salt to taste

Step 1

Combine the ingredients to make the chili sauce. It should have a bright orange color and taste hot and tangy. You can also make extra and store it to pair with other dishes.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

[Optional] Stewed bokchoy

  • Prep Time:1 minute
  • Cook Time:8 minutes
  • Total Time:10 minutes
  • Servings:4
  • Easy

    Ingredients

  • 20 stalks of bokchoy

Step 1

Prepare the bokchoy by separating, washing and then draining them.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 2

Cook the bokchoy in the liquid used to poach the chicken with the lid covered.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 3

After around 8 minutes on medium heat they should be glistening and infused with chicken flavor.

Final Assembly

  • Prep Time:1 minute
  • Cook Time:1 minute
  • Total Time:3 minutes or less
  • Servings:5
  • Easy

    Ingredients

  • 4 cucumbers
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 1

Peel the cucumber skins.

Step 2

Slice the cucumber.

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao

Step 3

Assemble the rice, chicken, cucumber, bokchoy and chili sauce and enjoy!

Photo by Ming-Ray Liao
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao