Hainan Chicken Rice # Dried Chilli Sauce & Bok-Choy

Yum, yum!

We enjoy chicken rice every time I make it. It’s the defacto national dish of Singapore, and a firm favourite in Asian food courts everywhere.

When I make it after work I do take a few shortcuts to cut down on the preparation time, but it is always as yummy as the long version.


I used chicken thighs and drumsticks for this meal. They were only $3.99/kg and I’m on a budget at the moment.

I simmered them with a pandan leaf, onion, garlic, ginger and some sliced turmeric. I needed enough flavourful stock for the rice and for broth to have with the meal.

I cooked the rice in the rice cooker adding golden fried onion and garlic, chicken stock and another pandan leaf to rinsed, raw basmati rice. I just mixed it all up and set the rice cooker to “cook” as normal.

Now the chilli sauce is lovely. It is an essential part of the meal, and it’s worth the time and effort to prepare your own, I think so anyway. Of course, it’s always perfectly lovely to serve your chicken rice with a dish of soy and a bottle of a hot chilli sauce, like Sriracha.

Pounding Sauce Ingredients

It’s winter here in Adelaide and I have no chillies in the garden. They’re $20/kg in the shops and I won’t buy them. Dried chilli makes a perfectly lovely sauce and I think I prefer it to the fresh chilli sauce! Here’e what I do:

I soak 10 dried chillies, seeds and all in boiling water for about 20 minutes.

I drain them and add them to the mortar and pestle with 3 garlic cloves, a piece of ginger about as big as a man’s thumb, a piece of belacan about as big as a clove of garlic and some salt and sugar to act as an abrasive to help the grinding and mellow the flavours.

Myf ground this for me with much huffing and puffing and it’s just lucky she’s not a marriageable-aged nyonya girl trying to impress a potential mother-in-law with her rempah skills.

She sat on the kitchen floor and huffed and pounded for only about 3 minutes – hence the “chunky” bits of chilli in the sauce. She’ll learn as she goes though. It’s still a good thing she participates in this kind of cooking.

Note added August 2014. Myf is now 24 years old and at Le Cordon Bleu. She obtained a full scholarship to the Bachelor of Business, International Restaurant Management program.  We are so, so proud of our beautiful girl.

Back to the sauce. I fried the ground paste in a little oil until it was fragrant, about 5 minutes, and then added more sugar to taste, lime juice and some hot stock from the chicken to get the desired saucy consistency.

We enjoyed the chicken, rice and broth with steamed bok-choy, drizzled with some sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce. To finish the lovely greens, I sprinkled them with the little fried onions that come in a jar – so yummy and crunchy!

Myf grew the coriander on the chicken and very delcious it is too. She has a nice big pot of it going but can be a little stingy with it when you ask her to get you some…

I’d love to know how others eat the chicken rice they make at home. Do you use a whole chicken and the ice-water method? Fresh sauce? What accompanies it at your place?

This meal, and the chicken with soy and dried shitake mushrooms I adapted from Katong Life’s lovely blog entry for babi pongteh, have to be two of our favourite meals at the moment.

I hope you enjoy my chicken rice meal as much as we do.


6 thoughts on “Hainan Chicken Rice # Dried Chilli Sauce & Bok-Choy

  1. Ah, dear sweetrosie, Hainanese Chicken Rice is a great favourite with my family, too. Yours look so yummy, it makes me want to cook this next week! 😆

    Love and hugs,

    choesf 😀

  2. Gosh, that looks good. Just the sort of thing I need to warm me up, I think. Now I know what I’ll be making for dinner! Yum!!! :))

  3. That looks really good, dearie! It’s so nice to see how it became a mother-daughter affair. Makes me feel like running off to help my mom in the kitchen too 😛

  4. Thank you for your kind words! All of you have inspired me with my cooking and it’s a pleasure to give something back 🙂
    I do think chicken rice might be a bit addictive… it seems to have the elements of the perfect meal for me – I might even make it again this weekend.
    Have lovely weekends ladies 🙂

  5. yes it is addictive, I love it and can eat it everyday. My chilli sauce has fresh chilli, ginger, garlic, a squeeze of lemon, sesame oil and salt to taste. Its pounded in a mortar and eaten without being cooked. I cook my rice in a similar way that you do!

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