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Hainan Chicken

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Hainan chicken might just be the perfect, light meal.

Hainanese chicken rice, often simply referred to as Hainan chicken, is a popular dish in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Hainan, China, and Singapore. You might already be familiar with this dish which is famous for its easy preparation and simple presentation. 

One thing is for sure and that it Hainan chicken is a firm favourite around my house and I think you might just love it just as much. This is just one of many Chinese recipes I have coming your way. Are you ready to get started?

Hainan Chicken served with rice, chicken broth and dipping sauce.

What are the key ingredients for Hainan Chicken?

  1. Poached Chicken: The chicken is typically poached in a broth or stock made with ginger, garlic, and sometimes pandan leaves or other aromatics. The poaching process results in tender and succulent chicken with a delicate flavour.
  2. Fragrant Rice: The rice you serve with Hainan chicken is not your ordinary plain rice. It’s cooked using the chicken broth, which imparts a rich and savory flavor to the rice. Sometimes, additional ingredients like ginger, garlic, and pandan leaves are added during the cooking process to enhance the aroma.
  3. Condiments: Hainan chicken is often accompanied by several condiments that add layers of flavour. Common condiments include:
    • Chili Sauce: A spicy chili sauce, sometimes mixed with ginger and garlic, adds heat to the dish.
    • Ginger Paste: Finely chopped or pounded ginger, often served with a drizzle of sesame oil, provides a zesty and aromatic element.
    • Dark Soy Sauce or Light Soy Sauce: Some variations include a light soy sauce or dark soy sauce for dipping the chicken.
  4. Soup: The cooking liquid you make when you poach the chicken is the side soup. It’s a clear and flavourful broth that complements the chicken and rice.

How do you prepare the rice for Hainan Chicken and rice?

You could just us my jasmine rice recipe here. I recommend using some of the chicken broth you make when poaching the chicken instead of water. 

Are there other variations of Hainan Chicken?

Yes. Most South East Asian cuisines include a version of Hainan rice. They use popular, local ingredients to make this famous chicken dish their own. 

How long can you keep leftovers in the fridge?

This will keep in the fridge for at least 4 days if you used really fresh chicken. You can serve the chicken hot or cold but I usually warm it to the broth when I heat it back up.


Step by step photographs

Ingredients for Hainan chicken

Get all your ingredients together before starting. It’s much easier that way.

Chicken in a pot with aromatic ingredients, covered with water.

Put the chicken in a large pot and add the spring onions (scallions), ginger, coriander (cilantro) stems, black peppercorns and salt. Pour in just enough water to cover.

Simmering a chicken with aromatic ingredients.

Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Skimming foam off the broth as it comes to a simmer.

As the water comes to a simmer, foam will rise to the top. Skim that off for a clearer broth. Once all the foam has been removed, simmer the chicken for 40 minutes.

Getting the best results

After simmering your Hainan chicken for 40 minutes, you will have a cooked chicken and a delicious but light broth.

I recommend that you  turn off the heat and cover the pan. Allow it all to sit like this for a further 15 to 20 minutes.

Preparing a sesame, ginger and spring onion (scallion) dipping sauce.

While the chicken is sitting in the broth, you can prepare your sauces. This is the sesame oil sauce with ginger and spring onions (scallions)

Cutting the chicken into small pieces.

Remove the chicken from the broth and cut it into small pieces.

Serving the Hainan chicken at the table with dipping sauces, broth and rice.

Serve the chicken with the dipping sauces, rice and the chicken broth. Garnish the chicken broth with chopped spring onions (scallions).

While you’re here, you might like to try some of the Chinese restaurant favourites:

Egg Drop Soup

General Tso’s Chicken

Orange Chicken

Chinese Crispy Chili Oil

Black Pepper Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Mongolian Beef

Sweet and Sour Chicken


Have you tried this Hainan Chicken recipes?

If yes, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below and post a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.


Yield: 4

Hainan Chicken

Hainan Chicken

Hainan chicken is a delicious and simple poached chicken that is served with a light broth, rice and dipping sauces. You are going to love this and it makes the perfect, easy after work meal.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 x 1.5k (3 lb.) whole chicken
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), cut into 5cm (2 inch) pieces
  • 5 coriander(cilantro) stems
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 slices of ginger, lightly smashed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), thinly slice
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 red bird's eye chillies


  1. Remove any excess fat from inside the chicken and discard. Place the chicken in a large sauce pan and throw in the spring onions (scallions), ginger, coriander (cilantro) stems, ginger and peppercorns.
  2. Cover the chicken with water and bring to a boil over a high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pan.
  3. Allow the chicken to continue cooking and flavouring the stock for another 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken and cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. Keep warm. Then strain the stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Pour it all back into the pan and bring to a simmer.
  5. To prepare the first dipping sauce, heat the sesame oil over a medium-high heat and heat it until it begins to smoke. Take off the heat to cool a little and then stir in the spring onions (scallions) and ginger. Add salt to taste.
  6. To make the second dipping sauce, mix the soy sauce with the red chillies.
  7. Pour the chicken stock into soup bowls and garnish with finely chopped spring onions (scallions). Serve the chicken with the stock and dipping sauces and rice.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 1704mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 9g

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