Recipe File: How to Cook Hainan Chicken

I’ve always liked the taste and texture of Hainan Chicken, but I don’t like the way it is served.

Most Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants serving Hainan Chicken chop it – through the bones – with a clever, and I REALLY don’t like having to “play with” the splintered bones and all their little fragments. You always end up with some of these fragments in your mouth, and then you’ve got to spit them out.

So my advice is, ask to have the bones removed.  It makes eating Hainan Chicken so much more civilized. And if they refuse, order something else!!!

Five Star Hainan Chicken 

While in Hainan, China, a few weeks back,  Executive Chef Xavier Joseph demonstrated how to prepare Hainan Chicken.

I discussed with him the issue of the bones, and he agreed with me. They should be removed.

After watching Chef Xavier and his team prepare Hainan Chicken, we then moved to the stylish dining room of  the hotel’s Red Star Café and feasted on it and other yummy Chinese dishes.

I asked Chef Xavier for the recipe, and it follows.


Rice Mixture

30 grams whole shallots

30 grams garlic

30 grams lemon grass

30 grams ginger

3 pandan leaves

40 grams chicken fat

1 cup Thai rice

1.5 cups chicken stock


700 grams Wenchang chicken

Sauce for Chicken (Topping)

1 tbs soy sauce 1 tbs chicken stock 1tbs sesame oil

Chili Sauce

20 gms red chili

2 nom kalamasi juice

1 tbs hot oil

salt (to taste)

Ginger Sauce

20 gms young ginger

10 gms garlic

1 tbs hot oil sate (to taste)

Bok Choy

2 pieces bok choy

1 tsp crispy shallots


Cook the chicken fat with a little oil to abstract the chicken oil from the fat over a low heat. Remove the crispy chicken fat.

In the same wok with the chicken fat, add shallots, garlic, lemon grass, ginger, and pandan leaves into the chicken oil and fry till it turns brown. Then add rice and chicken stock. Cook in the rice cooker.

Bring the chicken stock and other ingredients to a boil.

Hold the chicken by the neck and dip it into the simmering chicken stock up and down three times. (This prevents it from getting tough.)

Then let the chicken totally immerse into the stock . Simmer on a low heat for 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken and immerse in cold water.

Blend the chili sauce and ginger sauce, adding hot oil.

Blanch the bok choy in salted water and one tsp of oil. Add crispy shallots on top.

And tell them, the Accidental Travel Writer sent you!

Pictured: Xavier Joseph, Executive Chef, Renaissance Sanya Resort & Spa

One Reply to “Recipe File: How to Cook Hainan Chicken”

  1. >I REALLY don’t like having to “play with” the splintered bones and all their little fragments.
    I can’t agree more, Mike!
    I hope next will be a recipe of spicy African chicken (or galinha a africana) from Macanese cuisine.

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