How to Make Hainanese Roast Chicken Rice

picture of assembled hainanese roast chicken rice

I prefer my Hainanese Chicken Rice with roast rather than “white” chicken, though my recipe actually calls for it to be deep-fried, since it produces a crispier skin (it’s a personal preference, folks, I know that’s not how most people make it). Here’s my take on Hainanese “roast” chicken rice; I’ll post a new update down the track, especially if I have the chance to try roasting it in an oven.

Hainanese Roast Chicken Rice


1 whole chicken, about 1.6kg
3L water
2 TBSP Thick Soya Sauce (aka Cooking Caramel)
2 TBSP chicken powder
2-inch knob of ginger
150ml thin soya sauce
Oil for deep-frying

½ cup white vinegar
2 TBSP maltose

2-inch piece of ginger
10 cloves garlic
½ brown onion
1 Tbsp chicken powder or ½ Tbsp salt
⅓ cup oil
3 cups jasmine rice
5 cups chicken stock (approximate)

⅓ cup ginger pieces
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsps oil

5 large chillies
2-inch piece of ginger
¼ cup water
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

3 Tbsps sesame oil
3 Tbsps oyster sauce
4 Tbsps soya sauce
⅔ Tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken powder



  • Combine water, thick soya sauce, thin soya sauce, chicken stock powder & ginger in a stock pot and bring to a boil.
  • Lower whole chicken in the water; make sure it’s fully submerged.
  • Reduce the heat to a very low simmer for 10 minutes, with lid closed.
  • Turn off the heat and leave chicken in covered pot for 20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken, drain and place on an airing rack (I use a poultry roasting rack to get 360’ air circulation on it) with a tray underneath to catch any juices.


  • In a saucepan, dissolve the maltose in vinegar over low heat. Ladle the mixture over the chicken evenly.
  • Repeat with the same mixture 2 more times (ie. pour the sauce from the tray back into the saucepan and ladle it on the chicken).
  • Allow the chicken to air-dry for at least 3 hours.
  • Heat enough oil to submerge the chicken to about 170’C in a tall pot.
  • Tie chicken securely with string and tie the other end to a wooden spoon that can straddle the width of the pot. Gently lower chicken in the oil, and suspend it with the wooden spoon. Fry for about 10 minutes or until evenly browned and skin is crispy. Remove and allow to cool, then cut into pieces or fillet it.
image of fried crispy chicken for chicken rice


  • Mince ginger, garlic and onion in food processor.
  • Fry with oil until aromatic.
  • Season with chicken powder.
  • Add rinsed rice and mix well.
  • Transfer into rice cooker or saucepan. Add chicken stock and/or water to cover rice to about 2-3cm above its surface. Cook until done. I used an Optimum Induction Pressure Cook Pro and cooked it for 18 minutes on the rice setting.


  • Mince ginger in food processor.
  • Saute with oil and season with salt.
  • Allow to cool before storing in jar.


  • Combine chilli, ginger, water, salt and sugar in blender.
  • Blend until fine.
  • Store in refrigerator for up to one week or in freezer for 3 months.


  • Combine all sauce ingredients in saucepan.
  • Simmer until sugar and chicken powder are dissolved.
  • To serve, assemble rice and cucumber slices on plate, drizzle sauce on chicken and serve with ginger relish and chilli sauce, plus some chicken broth (lightly seasoned with chicken powder and white pepper, and sprinkled with coriander and green onion), on the side.


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