Try this recipe for Hainan chicken rice, then discover our whole braised chicken (duruj kura), Machboos (Omani chicken one-pot rice) and chicken shawarma with advieh. Plus, try more Asian street food recipes.

Hainan chicken rice recipe


  • 4 free-range chicken legs
  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil, for the chicken skin oil
  • 1 spring onion, green part roughly chopped, white part finely chopped
  • piece of ginger, skin on
  • 2 lemongrass sticks, bashed
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Dark soy sauce

  • 40ml dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rock sugar

Ginger and spring onion roll

  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 60ml oil

Chilli sauce

  • 5 red chillies
  • 6 slices ginger (peeled)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp lime juice

Chicken rice

  • 2 tbsp chicken skin oil (see step 1)
  • small piece ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemongrass stick
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 375g fragrant rice

To serve

  • beansprouts
  • white pepper
  • cucumber, sliced
  • coriander sprigs


  • STEP 1

    Trim the excess skin off the chicken legs and cut into small pieces. Put the skin in a dry pan on a low heat and cook for 15 mins until the fat starts to render out and the skin shrivels. Add enough sunflower oil to make 2 tbsp in total and set aside for later.

  • STEP 2

    Pour 2 litres of water in a large pan on a high heat, add the white parts of the spring onion, ginger, lemongrass and salt, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to very low and add the chicken legs. Poach the chicken for 30-35 mins, then lift the legs out of the stock (setting the stock aside for later) and transfer to a large bowl of iced water for 5 mins to stop them cooking further. Remove from the iced water and drain well. Cut the meat from the chicken legs into pieces and rub the skin with sesame oil.

  • STEP 3

    While the chicken is cooking, make up the dark soy sauce by heating 40ml water with the rock sugar in a pan over a low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the liquid turns syrupy, then stir in the soy sauce.

  • STEP 4

    To make the ginger and spring onion oil, pound the ginger and salt to a rough paste using a pestle and mortar, or finely chop. Add the spring onions and pound lightly to combine everything. Heat the oil in a pan until smoking and pour onto the ginger mixture.

  • STEP 5

    Make the chilli sauce by blending the chillies, ginger, garlic, sugar and salt until smooth. Add the lime juice and mix.

  • STEP 6

    For the chicken rice, put the chicken skin oil in a small pan and add the ginger, garlic, lemongrass and turmeric, stir for 4-5 mins or until the garlic browns, then strain.

  • STEP 7

    Put the rice in a rice cooker or pan with a tightly fitting lid, add enough of the reserved chicken stock to come 1cm above the rice and the chicken oil. Cook following pack instructions or until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed.

  • STEP 8

    To serve, give everyone a small bowl of chicken stock seasoned with white pepper and the chopped green parts of the spring onion. Serve the chicken with the condiments you have made in bowls for dipping and spooning over, with cucumber, beansprouts and coriander.

Try more chicken recipes.

Chicken marbella on a bed of rice with a glass next to it


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