Five Star Hainan Chicken Recipe

Cooking School

Hainan chicken is a popular dish at restaurants in Southeast Asia. But interestingly, it did not originate in Hainan, which is a large island off the coast of China. In fact, it was invented by Hainanese migrants who settled in Malaysia.  Check out this mouth-watering recipe from a five-star hotel chef!

Bones in or Bones Out?

I’ve always liked the taste and texture of Hainan Chicken, but I don’t like the way it is often 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 (Oily Rice)

  • 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

Sauces for the Chicken 

Dark Sauce
  • 1 tbs soy sauce 1 tbs chicken stock 1tbs sesame oil
Chili Sauce
  • 20 gms red chili
  • 2 gms 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

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One Reply to “Five Star Hainan Chicken Recipe”

  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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