Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls with Garlic Chilli Sauce 海南鸡饭与辣椒酱

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The weather must be playing tricks on me lately. Everyone knows that food pictures are best taken in broad daylight where the sun is up and shining. But for the past 3 weekends at least, every time when I finished plating my dishes and about to start taking pictures, it will start to rain !! And the best part is, after I proceeded and done with the photo taking, the rain would stop and the sun would be bright and sunny again ! It’s really OMG lor !!

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Grrrr.. anyway that aside, I finally made the Hainanese Chicken Rice !! Surprisingly, the most laborious task is not the chicken, nor the rice but is the garlic chilli sauce ! And I should say that should be the “killer” of it all too !! It was so good that the old folks actually asked for all the chilli sauce I had prepared for their future dipping with other foods !

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Why I said the chilli sauce is the most laborious is that it took me a good 40 minutes to pound all the chilli ingredients !! I tried using the food processor to grind it prior to pounding but the machine somehow doesn’t get it into a good paste liked chilli texture that I was looking for, hence I had to resort to mortar pounding eventually.

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But then, no regrets for all the hard work put in !! The chicken rice balls were so fragrant, the chilli sauce dip was great and pairing it with the smooth tender chicken, everything are just too welcoming for words !!

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The only setback is that I realised I didn’t know how to “chop” up a whole chicken perfectly into neat pieces after cooking it !! LOL !! So you can see that it’s really an amateur’s piece of work in whole chicken chopping there !! Hahaha !!

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If you really desire a good Hainanese chicken rice, do use fresh chicken in your cooking ! I gotten mine from PurelyFresh online and theirs is indeed fresh !

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Enjoy !!

Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls with Garlic Chilli Sauce 海南鸡饭与辣椒酱
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Chinese
Cuisine: Main
Serves: 3
For the Chicken:
  • 1 whole fresh chicken, approx. 1 kg
  • 3 tsp salt
  • some water

For the Chicken Rice Balls:
  • 2 cups white rice (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 tsp chicken fats
  • 2 tsp oil
  • some chicken broth (from cooking the chicken above)
  • 35g ginger, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 whole garlics, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chicken seasoning powder
  • some pandan leaves

  • For the Garlic Chilli Sauce:
  • 1 large lime, cut into halves
  • dash of salt
  • dash of sugar
  • 4 tbsp chicken oil (from cooking the chicken above)
  • 45g ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlics, minced
  • 1 red chili, diced (you can adjust the proportion of chillies to chillies padis according to how spicy you want it to be.)
  • 8 chilli padis, diced
  1. Rinse the chicken well, drained and pat it dry. Rub the salt all over the chicken, including the interior as well and allow the marinade to stay for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat up a wok of water that is deep enough to fully submerge the chicken, till it boils. Place the chicken into the water after it has boiled.
  3. Cover the lid and allow the chicken to continue to be cooked on high heat for another 10 minutes. Off the flame thereafter, and allow the chicken to continue immerse in the hot water for another 50 minutes till it is cooked through.
  4. After the chicken is cooked, drain the chicken and lower it into another bowl of ice cold water for another 30 minutes. Remove and cut into pieces after that.
  5. Now from the broth/water that is used to cook the chicken, you will notice that is a layer of white fats floating on the surface. Scoop and remove the white layer of fats floating on the surface in one bowl. In another bowl, scoop and remove the transparent layer of oils floating on the surface. Reserve the remaining chicken broth to cook the rice later.
  6. Add 2 tsp of oil and chicken fats from the above step into a deep frying pan and heat it up.
  7. Add in the minced ginger, shallots and garlics and saute till fragrant.
  8. Add in the white rice grains and saute till all are well mixed. Off the flame.
  9. Transfer the rice together with the minced ginger, shallots and garlics into the rice cooker. Add the salt and chicken seasoning powder.
  10. Add the chicken broth that is used to cook the chicken till the 2-cup water level mark.
  11. Tie the pandan leaves into a knot and place it into the rice cooker.
  12. Set the rice cooker to cook the rice on normal rice mode.
  13. In a mortar, add the juice of ½ a lime, minced ginger and garlics, and all the chillies and pound till fine or paste liked.
  14. Add the remaining juice from another ½ of the lime, 4 tbsp of the transparent layer of chicken oil that was reserved from Step 5, dash of salt and sugar and mix well.
  15. Wet your hands with some of the chicken broth and shape the chicken rice into balls. Serve with the chicken pieces and garlic chilli sauce.
Hainanese Chicken often has the problem of it being undercooked, especially at the joints where the thighs are. To resolve this issue, poke the area around the thighs with a sharp skewer before cooking the chicken in the hot water. This is to allow the hot water to be able to flow into that part of the chicken and be cooked.


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