KJ’s Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe

nasi ayam hainan kj
Mythical chicken rice!

My chicken rice is legendary, but to make it truly magnificent, I cook it so rarely that it is now of mythical proportions and tastes even better when I finally go in the kitchen to make it. If you want to create a legendary, mythical chicken rice like mine, do exactly as I say below. And remember, don’t cook it too often. You’ve got to make them want it!

For the chicken
  • 1.5kg whole fresh chicken (about 1 chicken)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Water
  • 4-5 cuts of 2” ginger, sliced thinly
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 pack of ice cubes (usually found in supermarkets)
For the chicken rice
  • Chicken fat, taken from the back cavity of the chicken
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups white Jasmine Rice, washed, rinsed and water removed
  • Chicken stock, liquids from boiling the chicken
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
For the bestintheworld chili sauce
  • 6 red chilies
  • 3” ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 kaffir lime, juice only
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock, liquids from boiling the chicken
For the darkandhandsome sweet soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup thick soy sauce
For the ‘kawkaw’ garlic sauce
  • 4” ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 tsp salt
For decoration
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp spring onions, sliced thin
Chicken preparation
  1. Clean the chicken. Just inside the cavity opening, you will find lumps of fat near/to the sides of the tail/bishop’s nose (not the actual bishop’s nose!). Remove this fat and reserve (for the rice).
  2. Put chicken inside a stockpot. Fill with water until it covers the entire chicken. The quantity of water needed will depend on the size of your pot. What’s important is that the chicken is fully submerged in water.
  3. Remove chicken and transfer it to a plate. Use paper towels to dab dry.
  4. Rub salt all over the outer surface/chicken skin. Put aside.
Cooking the chicken
  1. Add ginger and spring onions into the stockpot and bring to a boil on high heat.

kj's hainanese chicken rice

  1. Before transferring the chicken back into the stockpot, rinse it under running water to remove salt. Carefully place the chicken into the boiling water, with the breast facing upwards. If the water has reduced and no longer covers the chicken breast, add more water to ensure most of the chicken isn’t exposed and won’t become dry while cooking.

  1. Bring to a boil again. Carefully lift the chicken and remove unboiled water stuck inside the cavity. Put the chicken back into the pot carefully and bring it to a boil again.

  1. Cover stockpot with a lid. Turn off the heat and let it remain covered for 45 minutes. Use a timer and don’t guess! If you don’t have a timer, your handphone has one.
  2. When the 45 minutes are almost up, prepare an ice bath. Fill a large pot with cold water and ice.
  3. Check to see if your chicken is cooked. Poke a toothpick into the meatiest part of the drumstick. If the liquid is clear, it means the chicken is sufficiently cooked.
  4. Once chicken is cooked, lift it carefully and removing the hot liquid from its cavity into the stockpot. Transfer chicken to the ice bath. Be careful – you don’t want to damage the chicken skin. Leave for 15 minutes to cool the chicken down. The ice bath stops the cooking process and ensures a juicy chicken.
  1. Remove water and ice, and cover the pot with plastic wrap until the chicken is ready to be cut and served.
Chicken rice
  1. While the chicken cools, prepare your rice for cooking. Firstly, heat your wok.
  2. Add reserved chicken fat into the hot wok. Stir for 1 ½ minutes on medium heat until the oil starts to separate from the fat.
  3. Add garlic and fry. Keep an eye on the process as you want to cook the garlic until it’s aromatic, but not until it starts to burn or become crispy.

chicken rice

  1. Add washed, uncooked rice into the wok. Stir for 2 ½ minutes continuously.
  2. Turn off the heat. Transfer rice including chicken fat and garlic into a rice cooker.
  3. While we typically use water when cooking rice, this time we’ll be using chicken stock. Use 3 cups of chicken stock (as water replacement) to cook 3 cups of rice. Add 2 1/2 tsp salt, give it a stir, then close your rice cooker and cook as normal.
Bestintheworld chili sauce
  1. Blend chili, ginger and garlic in a blender or food processor until combined. If necessary, stop the blender to scrape down the sides.
  2. Add sesame oil, salt, kaffir lime juice and vinegar into your blender or food processor. Blend to mix thoroughly. It should still be a little rough and not smooth like a purée.
  3. Pour the sauce into a small bowl. Add chicken stock spoon by spoon, stirring it after each spoonful. The combination of chicken and stock and chili makes this the ‘bestinttheworld’.
Darkandhandsome sweet soy sauce
  1. Heat water and sugar in a small pot on medium heat. Stir continuously, until the sugar melts and dissolves and becomes a simple syrup. Turn off the heat.
  2. Add soy sauce and stir. That’s all you need to do. Transfer to a serving bowl.
‘Kawkaw’ ginger sauce
  1. Blend ginger and garlic until it becomes a fine paste.
  2. Heat oil in a small pan on medium low heat and fry the paste until aromatic. Do this carefully as the paste will darken slightly as you cook it, but you don’t want it crispy. Lightly caramelized is best. Add salt, stir for a bit, then transfer to a serving bowl. Don’t forget to turn off the heat.
Serving tips
  1. Before serving, quarter your chicken, and then cut each quarter diagonally. Use a sharp knife or cleaver as you will need to cut through the bones.
  2. The rice is best served hot, but the chicken is best at room temperature.
  3. Serve your chicken on a bed of diagonally sliced cucumbers. Just arrange your serving platter, and place the chicken over the cut cucumbers.
  4. Besides the three mandatory sauces above, the chicken stock can also be served as soup. It can either be served in individual bowls, or poured directly over the rice as gravy.
  5. I like it best when each mouthful of chicken rice is accompanied with a bit of chicken and all three sauces. This makes it really really good.

So? Will you take up the challenge of making my legendary mythical chicken rice? Don’t forget to tag me and #butterkicap too!

YB Brig Gen Khairy Jamaluddin

YB Brig Gen Khairy Jamaluddin is probably Malaysia’s most health and fitness-conscious Minister, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to enjoy a good meal. Having travelled the breadth and depth of our country on his many duties, KJ, as he is most fondly known, has always wanted to start a foodlogue chronicling his favourite eats. He’s also been known to step foot in the kitchen and flex his cooking muscles occasionally.

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