How To Cook Vegan Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls

If I had to pick one dish from all the ones I made in Street Food Journeys: Malaysia Plant-Based Edition(ie.Series 3), this would be it – the Vegan Hainanese “Chicken” Rice Balls. It looks and tastes virtually identical to the non-vegan version except for the texture of the king oyster mushroom stems, and it’s a lot less finnicky to prepare. I speak as someone whose non-vegan Hainanese Chicken Rice was one of the most in-demand dishes on my restaurant menu back in the day, so I’ve made and eaten more Hainanese Chicken Rice than the average bear.

Watch the replay of Street Food Journeys: Malaysia Plant-Based Edition Episode 2 here (Melaka); my Vegan Hainanese Chicken Rice segment is at the start of the episode –

Vegan Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls


3 cups king oyster mushroom stems, halved
4 cups water
2 TBSP sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄4 onion, minced
3 TBSP oil

Garlic Rice:
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄4 onion, minced
1⁄3 cup oil
1 1⁄2 TBSP mushroom seasoning or 1⁄2 TBSP salt
3 cups jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
3-4 cups water (approximate)

Chilli Dip:
5 large chillies
2-inch piece of ginger
1⁄4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp sugar (optional)

3 TBSP sesame oil
5 TBSP soya sauce
1 TBSP cooking caramel (aka thick soya sauce)
2⁄3 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP mushroom seasoning
1⁄4 cup water

Crispy fried shallots
Fresh coriander
Spring onion, sliced
Sesame oil
Cucumber, thinly-sliced


  1. To cook the mushrooms, heat oil in pan, then saute onion and garlic until aromatic. Add mushrooms,water and seasoning and simmer until mushroom stems are cooked through (about 8 minutes).
  2. Remove mushrooms and set aside; strain broth and set aside.
  3. To cook the garlic rice, fry garlic, onion and ginger with oil until aromatic. Add rice and all other ingredients, mix well. Transfer into a rice cooker or saucepan and cook as per normal rice until done, using more water if you’d like to form into balls.
  4. To make the chilli dip, 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.
  5. To make the sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in saucepan. Simmer until everything is dissolved; remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Adjust the seasoning in the strained mushroom broth from earlier, then serve on the side with a dash of white pepper and coriander and spring onion.
  7. Scoop 3-4 TBSP rice onto a piece of cling wrap, fold and mould into a ball. Repeat to make enough rice balls per serve.
  8. Assemble rice and cucumber slices on plate, add mushrooms, drizzle with sauce and a generous amount of sesame oil, top with crispy fried shallots and serve with chilli dip.

Also in this episode of Street Food Journeys: Malaysia Series 3 (Melaka), –

  • how to make Vegan Otak-Otak (grilled spicy “fish” cakes in banana leaves) by yours truly
  • how to make Bubur Sum-Sum Durian (Coconut and Rice Flour Pudding with Durian) by Masters of Malaysian Cuisine Chef Bob Adnin
  • The JetLag Warriors visit Melaka

The recipes for the entire series, produced in partnership with Tourism Malaysia Australia, can be found in the special edition MOMC eMagazine which you can download here >> Click to View or Download

Sign up to our email list so you don’t miss a single issue of our MOMC free recipe eMagazines >>

Share and Enjoy !