Hainanese Chicken


  • 1 ea. 3- to 4-pound Whole Chicken
  • 7 slices Ginger, peeled, divided use
  • 1 bunch Green Onion, trimmed
  • 8 ea. Shallots, divided use
  • 4 T Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1-in. piece Ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 c Jasmine Rice, rinsed
  • 5 ea. Pandan Leaves
  • 2 T Powdered Chicken Bouillon
  • Hainan Soy Sauce; recipe follows
  • Hainan Chili Sauce; recipe follows
  • Cilantro, to garnish
  • Sliced Cucumber, to garnish
  • Minced Ginger Garnish; recipe follows
  • Carrots, spiralized, to garnish
  • Kosher Salt, as needed


Rub chicken with salt, and rinse. Season again with salt, and rest for 30 minutes. Bring water to a boil in a pot, and add 6 slices of ginger, green onion and 3 shallots, halved. Add chicken, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and let the chicken poach for another 20 minutes. Cool in liquid, and debone with skin intact. Reserve stock.

Heat sesame oil, and sauté remaining 5 shallots (chopped) and garlic until golden. Transfer to a rice cooker and add rice, 2 cups of reserved stock, pandan leaves, bouillon powder and remaining ginger slices. Cook, adjusting stock to rice cooker.

Arrange chicken on a platter. Serve with soy sauce, chili sauce, cilantro and sliced cucumber, along with a bowl of heated broth. Mound rice, and top with the ginger garnish and carrot.

To make Hainan Soy Sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to sauté 2 shallots, 6 slices of ginger and 4 minced cloves garlic until golden brown. Add ½ cup of chicken stock, 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine and 2 tablespoons of dark caramel soy sauce and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Strain and transfer to a bowl.

To make Hainan Chili Sauce: Combine 3 or 4 red chili peppers, 6 slices of peeled ginger, 3 cloves of minced garlic, ¼ cup of sugar, 1 cup of chicken stock and juice from 2 limes in a blender. Pulse until the mixture reaches a chunky consistency; add salt to taste, and set aside in a small bowl.

To make minced ginger topping: Heat 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil and 3 tablespoons of oil until smoking hot, and sauté 3-inch piece of peeled and minced ginger until golden. Cool and stir in 1 bunch green onion, mostly white part (minced) and salt to taste.

Chef Salil Mehta Singapura, New York City