All about Hainanese chicken rice (chicken with rice from Hainan)

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It is seen as the national dish of Singapore: chicken from Hainan, or – as you often find it on menus – Hainanese chicken rice. This classic consists of poached chicken, spiced rice, chili sauce and cucumber. Typically one of those dishes that you have to eat at least once in your life. Why? We explain that to you.

Hainanese chicken rice

Watch the video below and you will almost lick your screen. For Hainanese chicken rice, a whole chicken is usually poached, after which the broth that is created is added to the rice along with the fat from the chicken.

Other seasonings in the dish are pandan leaves , ginger and garlic. It’s not for nothing that they say that the most distinctive thing about this dish is not the chicken, but the rice. Also quite striking is the way in which the chicken is cut and served: namely in large pieces, on the bone.

The dish also includes a dipping sauce made from chili peppers and garlic, a bowl with soy sauce and some fresh cucumber.

Chinese immigrants

Anyone who has ever traveled through Southeast Asia will undoubtedly know the dish; almost every country with Chinese immigrants has its own variant. Think of Malaysia and Thailand. It is not so well known here in the Netherlands.

Hainanese chicken rice ended up in Singapore by immigrants from the Chinese province of Hainan, which also includes the island of the same name. It is located in southern China. They are said to have come up with a variation on Wenchang chicken, a popular dish in Hainan.

In Singapore, the popularity has gone so far that in 2000 a romantic comedy film was even launched: Chicken Rice War . Kind of like Romeo & Juliet, with the main characters working in rival food stalls serving the dish. 

Hainanese chicken rice

Make it yourself?

If you want to make chicken with rice from Hainan yourself, fill the chicken with pieces of ginger, spring onions and pandan leaves and/or garlic, as in the video at the top of this article.

Also make sure you serve the chicken at room temperature. Dipping the poached chicken in ice water also creates that characteristic soft skin that almost melts in your mouth.

Also recommended: the website I Am a Food Blog has a recipe that is made entirely in one pan, with chicken thighs on the bone. Super simple but just as tasty…

Source: Culy by
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