Saturday, June 26, 2010

Khao Mun Gai ข้าวมันไก่ Thai Style Hainanese Chicken Rice

Long before being called the "Hawaii of China" with some of its most expensive real estates in China, Hainan Island in south eastern China was famous for one thing namely the irresistible Hainanese chicken rice. Migrants brought this simple dish to South East Asia and became one of the most popular dishes of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Everyone has their favourite version and since the method of cooking the rice and bird remained basically unchanged, it is the condiments served along side the dish that sets them apart. Malaysians love to serve it with a garlicky chili sauce, the Singaporean would have the same but some extra sweet dark soy on the side, meanwhile the Thais are happy with an equally addictive bean paste sauce. The beauty about this dish is you can just cook the chicken and rice and as long as you have prepared all the different sauces mentioned above you will be able to keep everyone happy. Since this is an unofficial "Thai week at the tummies'", I will be showing you the Thai version - khao mun gai (directly translater as rice-oil/fat-chicken and you'll see why) today.

Updated on 17/01/12 - click HERE for the Malaysian version.

serve 4
you'll need;
1 free range chicken, cleaned and excess fat removed*
2 garlic cloves
3 coriander roots
5 cm knob of ginger, sliced
1 shallot, halved
dash of soy
dash of Chinese cooking wine
salt and white pepper to taste
spicy ginger and chili bean sauce (nam chim tao jiaw)to serve
cucumber, peeled and sliced to serve
spring onion to serve
bokchoy, washed and halved**
* use this to render the chicken fat needed
** blanch and serve in the chicken poaching broth

for the rice;
2 cups of jasmine rice, washed, rinsed and drained
3 tbs of chicken lard 
2 garlic cloves, minced
chicken poaching stock

Ingredients for the poached chicken.

Place chicken and aromatics in a stock pot and cover with enough salted water. Bring it to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes then turn off the heat, cover and let the chicken steep in the hot stock til it cools down. If you are in a hurry, simmer the chicken for 30 minutes, remove and rinse under cold running water for a minute. 

Remove chicken from the pot, brush with a little sesame oil and cover til it is needed. Cut into neat pieces just before serving. Chicken cooked this way is called white cut chicken (白切雞 pronounced bai qie ji in mandarin or 白斬雞 pronounced bak cham kei in Cantonese) Have you seen my soy poached version? If not click HERE. 

Ingredients for the rice.

Render the chicken fat then saute the minced garlic for a minute before adding the drained rice. Fry it for a minute or two.

Place rice in a rice cooker, add enough stock and cook according to instruction. You can also add a pandan leaf to the rice at this point.

Serve the fragrant rice with some of the tender chicken, cucumber slices, spring onion and some of the addictive sauce. A bowl of the chicken broth with some blanched bokchoy is usually served alongside as well.


  1. OMG this is so cool. I just watched Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations last night. He was in Singapore and was raving about the local dish Chicken and Rice. The condiments looked fantastic! I am excited to try your Thai version!

  2. Oh yum... will your Msian version be the steam one or the Roasted one?

    I love chicken rice.. when I was in school, I had chicken/char siew rice every day for lunch 3 weeks straight.. even the chicken rice seller knew who I was and when I got out of the car he would just look at me, nod, smile and give me my food!

    That's what you call service =P

  3. oh tummy u make me drooling lah! i like any type of chicken rice tau! especially my kids! but tak pernah buat thai version of chicken rice, must try! thanks 4 sharingg!!

  4. I love chicken rice but I have never tried the Thai version. It looks good and I can't wait to taste the sauce too!

  5. My favourite! I think I am going to need all the different sauces on the table :)
    Your step by step instructions make it very simple to follow!

  6. hi tummy..makcik berhajat nak masak nasi ayam besuk..hari ni anak makcik pulang dari London..semua suka nasi ayam this version..I'll try your recipe..thanks..

  7. oh yum, I love this dish, didnt realise you could get so many different condiments for it

  8. Oh yum! I never tried the Thai version before and the sauce looks very delicious. Why people always tell me chicken rice is too hard to make at home??

  9. hi tummy..wah this really look marvellous..sgt sesuai utk orang berdiet kan! hehe

  10. wor, this look so delicious, next time i going to try that bean paste sauce.

  11. Lyndsey .
    Thank you very much! I watched that episode too :) Do try it and see what you think.

    I will do both. You must be eating a lot of chicken rice to get service like that lol

    Haha cubalah! Sosnya mesti buat banyak-banyak tau :)

    Tricia F,
    The real difference lies in the sauce really.Do try though!

    Thank you! Try and see what you think!

    Terima kasih makcik! Makcik sungguh sibuk masak untuk anak and cucu, sungguh bahagia mereka ;)

    Oh yes you do get all type of sauce. I 'll do the rest in the near future.

    Yasmin ,
    Thank you! Do try it. As you can see it is very simple :)

    Thank you! Memang bagus buat orang yang berdiet walaupun ada sedikit lemak ayam didalam nasinya.

    Sonia ,
    Thank you! Just make some of the sauce and see if you like it.

  12. 泰式海南雞飯我還沒試過。下回要做些你的醬料來試一試!

  13. this is a great simple style dish. i love hainanese chicken rice...making my mouth water right now lol. the spicy gingery sauce makes the difference to the dish

  14. Gorgeous food. I might try that for an informal dinner party soon. Thanks!

  15. Oh I love chicken rice! This looks wonderful and I can't wait to try the Thai version!

  16. You are indeed an amazing cook! Now it's only 5pm and I'm already hungry drooling at your pics. Well, dinner won't be served till around 8.30pm, wedding dinner, that's why!

  17. I eat this (Malaysian version) quite often and now I must try making this at home. I would love to know how to make a good chili sauce for chicken rice too.

  18. ชอบมากๆ ข้าวมันไก่ของคุณดูดีมาก

  19. That sounds great!
    It looks so tasty with all of these sauces.
    Thanks for this Thai dish and the history behind it!
    ~B xx

  20. I saw the Anthony Bourdain show also. This looks delicious and you definitely know how to take great photos!

  21. We just returned home from a Thai dinner in South Melbourne and it was a rather disappointing meal. I wish we were served your food instead lol
    This is the boys favourite road side meal in Thailand so I will certainly be making this!

  22. Umm now this is simple enough recipe. Easy and elegant! I haven't mastered cutting a whole chicken yet! Happy Weekend!

  23. I eat a lot of this in Thailand. Delicious and only 30 bath hehe

  24. My favourite all time dish is Hainanese chicken rice. esp teh thick caramel kicap OOOHHHHH .I do it this way too.Poached n left in the pot forevr....The chopping part is tricky ..I can never get neat clean slices....must sharpen my cleaver...and my cleaver skills. m hungry.

  25. This is a good dish! Simple to make and looks very delicious!

  26. really delicious yaar..u make me hungry.

  27. fullamakk! i ter`missed` ur nasi ayam la tummy! next time i`ll try! thanx!!

  28. oh wow I adore your blog the history and I always leave hungry

  29. We love chicken rice but have not tried the Thai version. Thanks for the background of the dish buddy!

  30. I've been looking for this and a khao mak gai recipe since I left Thailand. Thank you so much for making this.


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