Chefs' Recipes

Junda Khoo’s Hainanese chicken

Chicken, rice, chilli sauce – the works.
Alicia Taylor
4 - 6
1H 15M

“Hainanese chicken seems like such a simple dish, but there’s a lot of work and technique that goes into making it,” says chef Junda Khoo of Sydney’s Ho Jiak restaurant. “It was a staple in our family.”


Soy blend
Chilli paste
Chicken rice


1.For chicken, combine stock with 2 litres cold water in a saucepan large enough to fit chicken. Bring to the boil over high heat, add halved chicken and return to the boil. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, cover with a lid and leave for 50 minutes (the residual heat will continue to cook the chicken).
2.Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath with 2 litres iced water. Taking care, remove chicken gently so as to not tear the skin then submerge in ice-water bath for 20 minutes. Strain stock through a fine sieve. Return all but 2 litres to a clean pan and keep hot until ready to use. Once chicken has cooled, remove and chop up as desired, then place in a large deep frying pan. Pour over enough hot stock to just cover chicken and reheat slowly over medium heat until hot and ready to serve (15 minutes).
3.For **soy blend**, combine 250ml water with sugars in a small saucepan and bring to the boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to medium, stir in coriander and sauces, then simmer until slightly thickened and glossy (20 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients and set aside to cool. Makes 350ml.
4.For **chilli paste**, blend ingredients in a blender to a paste; season with salt.
5.For **chicken rice**, rinse rice three times or until water runs clear. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over low-medium heat. Add oil and reserved chicken fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered (8 minutes). Using tongs discard any unrendered pieces. Increase heat to medium-high and add onion, garlic and lemongrass and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden (7 minutes). Bring 1 litre chicken poaching liquid to the boil in a large saucepan, stir in rice and reduce heat to low-medium and add ½ tsp salt. Cover with lid and simmer gently until liquid is absorbed and rice cooked (12 minutes). When ready to serve, transfer to a serving bowl.
6.Transfer reheated chicken from stock to a deep platter. Pour over as much soy blend as desired and scatter with coriander and spring onions. Serve with chicken rice and chilli paste on the side.

Double the soy blend recipe so you can store and use as desired. Leftover soy blend will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for 3 months. Maggi Seasoning is available from supermarkets.


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