Chefs' Recipes

Junda Khoo's Hainanese chicken

Chicken, rice, chilli sauce – the works.

By Junda Khoo
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking (plus cooling)
  • Serves 4 - 6
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"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."

Ingredients

  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1.6 kg chicken, halved lengthways, fat trimmed, reserved
  • Coriander and sliced spring onions, to serve
Soy blend
  • 60 gm rock sugar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp coriander stems, finely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 150 ml light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp Maggi Seasoning (see note)
Chilli paste
  • 200 gm long red chillies (about 12)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 80 gm peeled ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) lime juice or to taste
  • 1½ tbsp sesame oil
Chicken rice
  • 400 gm (2 cups) jasmine rice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (white part only), finely chopped
  • 1 litre chicken poaching liquid (from Hainanese chicken)

Method

  • 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.

Notes

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.