Greg's Hainan chicken rice
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Hainan Chicken Rice is an interesting dish: the chicken is cooked below 100°. That makes it an ideal choice for cooking sous-vide. I tried it like that on 9 July 2014, based on two recipes, a traditional one from Wendy Hutton's “Singapore Food”, and a sous-vide one from the Codlo cookbook.

The link to the Codlo cookbook has atrophied. I think that this might be the same recipe.

The results were acceptable, but due to the bag, the broth didn't come out the way I expected.

So on 16 November 2014 I tried again, this time without a bag, and following some ideas from this recipe. And I did so again on 19 January 2020, after which I made more changes to the recipe. But somehow I've never been really happy with the results.


quantity       ingredient       step
2.5 kg       chicken       1
20 g       garlic       1
20 g       ginger       1
50 g       spring onion       1
1       pandan leaf       1
2 l       chicken stock or water       1
      water to fill cooker       1
5 l       ice cold water (see preparation)       2
400 g       rice       4
      stock from cooking chicken       4
      pandan leaf       4
      salt       4
      chicken fat or lard       4
20 ml       sesame oil       5
20 g       spring onions       6
      chili sauce       6
      dark soya sauce       6
20 ml       sesame oil       6


Time: 6 hours

  1. Place broth and water in the sous-vide cooker and heat to 70°. Chop garlic, ginger and spring onion coarsely. Put half inside the chicken and the other half in the broth. Add the chicken without a vacuum bag and cook for about 2 hours.

  2. Remove the chicken from the cooker. Raise temperature to 80°. Remove the legs and wings and put the rest of the chicken into ice water until cold. Place in a refrigerator.

    I'm not convinced by this “ice cold water”, and though it's in the recipe, I can't remember ever doing it. Clearly it works without.

  3. Put the legs and wings back into the cooker and cook for another hour. Remove and cool in ice cold water as before.

  4. Add broth, pandan leaf, fat and salt to the rice and cook.

  5. Cut the chicken into slices across the bone, and brush with sesame oil.

  6. Simmer the chicken broth with sliced ginger for about 30 minutes. Add salt and fat if the broth needs it.

  7. Add spring onions to the broth. Serve chicken with chili garlic sauce and a mixture of dark soya sauce and sesame oil (roughly 60:40) in saucers, and broth as side dish.


This recipe isn't really complete until I describe the sauces that get served with the chicken. I'll add to this some time.


On 15 April 2021 I found this article in the Singapore infopedia, which has a couple of interesting details, notably frying the rice in fat prior to cooking, and also steaming rather than poaching the chicken. It also doesn't mention daun pandan.

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