My Hainanese Chicken


Usually the Hainanese Chicken I order from restaurants are whiter in colour than this one that I make at home.  This is because there is an ingredient I added that gives it a brownish colour, and it’s the way I want my Hainanese Chicken to taste.  For this recipe, you can use a whole chicken, chicken pieces, or like what I recently used — marylands.  Here in Australia, the term Chicken Maryland is used to refer to that cut of chicken that has both the thigh and the drumstick.

What you need:

3 large pieces of chicken marylands (washed and excess fat taken out)


1 tablespoon light soy sauce (that gave it the colour — this is optional if you are not into soy sauce in your hainanese)

1 thumb sized ginger, minced or smashed

4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced or smashed

3-4 pieces pandan leaves, washed and bruised and knotted (this is also optional — I tried this recipe with and without – they both tasted great, but the pandan would give it a different sweet, fresh taste)

1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons garlic oil (if you don’t have this, just cook some garlic in oil to give it the flavour, and then take out the garlic pieces)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

10 tablespoons light soy sauce

3 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons chicken broth from the boiled chicken

What you need to do:

In a pan, boil about 8 cups water (the water should be just enough to cover your chicken).  Gently lower the chicken marylands into the boiling water.  Add salt, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and pandan leaves if you are using them.   Reduce heat to VERY low.  Some say cover the pan with lid, some say don’t.  Up to you, but I covered it the last time I cooked this.  The first time, I didn’t cover it and didn’t make much difference — or at least none that I noticed.  Leave to cook for about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how large your chicken is).   Turn off heat and cover your pan with the lid (or if it was already covered, leave the lid on) and let the residual heat of the water continue to cook the chicken for a further 1 hour (if you are cooking a whole chicken, you might need to leave this in for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the marylands and immerse them in a basin with ice cold water and leave them there for about 5 minutes (do not throw the chicken broth as you will need some for your sauce).   Drain and either serve whole or cut into serving pieces.

Prepare your sauce. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce and pour it over the chicken.

If you want some hot soup on the side, place some of the chicken broth in a serving bowl and pour some of your sauce in it.

For garnish, thinly slice some cucumber or perhaps carrots if you prefer.  Serve the chicken with plain steamed rice and a chilli dipping sauce if desired.




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