How to make easy Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice in a rice cooker.
I have a recipe for One-Pan Chicken Rice right here. A confession: I don’t make it often at all. Instead I do a rice cooker version! It never occurred to me to do a recipe post for it because it’s incredibly easy.
What Type of Rice for Chicken Rice?
Jasmine white rice would be best, but any rice you have will do. For the amount of stock, use in accordance to what your rice needs. Generally, the rice to water ratio should be 1:2. If in doubt, just read your rice packet. For example I like to use brown rice and basmati rice, both of which benefit from a ratio of 2.5 cups of stock to 1 cup of rice.
These are all long-grain rice varieties. Short grain rice, such as Japanese rice, will require lesser water. Japanese rice would require 1.2 cup water to 1 cup rice. Again, refer to your rice packet for more specific instructions.
My very scientific way of cooking rice in a rice cooker is passed along from my Mom. Wash and drain the rice in the rice cooker pot itself, and then level out the rice. Add water until it rises just above the top of the rice. Stick your index finger in, and if the water hits the line of your first finger joint – that is enough water. I can bet you this is how most Asian households learn.
These days, rice cookers come with marked lines in the pots, making water levels measurements even easier.
What kind of Chicken Stock to use?
The best kind would be homemade chicken stock. I always make extra chicken stock and store in the freezer to make chicken rice.
Traditionally, Hainanese Chicken Rice uses the stock of the chicken boiled to serve with the dish. A whole chicken is used in this case. For home use, this is not always practical.
In this recipe, I used chicken stock from bouillon cubes. Even I don’t always have homemade chicken stock, but I always have chicken bouillon cubes. Chicken stock cubes are salted, so keep watch of additional salt in your rice cooker. When using chicken stock cubes, I do not add any salt at all in fact.
- To make stock out of chicken stock cubes, crush the cubes in hot water. The hot water will help to dissolve the cubes easer.
- 1 chicken stock cube is good for 1 litre of water.
Ginger and Garlic Paste
The ginger and garlic combination is essential for good chicken rice. It’s incorporated in the rice as well as the chilli sauce, which is why I would always make a paste of the two for convenience.
- Simply blend up equal amounts of ginger and garlic with enough water to ease the blending process. This way, I can easily portion it for use for both the rice and the chilli sauce.
- If you do not want to take the blender out – I get it! – you can also simply grate in the ginger and garlic.
- Even lazier? Simply rough chop the ginger and smash garlic cloves and stir these through the rice. Make sure these are larger chunks, so that you can easily fish it out of the rice once it’s cooked. Not very fun to bite into ginger slices.
Optional Ingredients: Chicken Oil and Pandan
The key difference for this recipe versus the one-pan chicken rice is that I did not use chicken oil and pandan leaves for this one. I only do not add these because they are not pantry staples. If I have them though, you can bet I would use them in my chicken rice!
The one-pan recipe uses chicken oil, rendered from the chicken skin and fat. This adds an extra tasty chicken flavour to the rice. It also makes it oily… which is how chicken rice gets its glossy finish and why it is extra delicious!
However, chicken oil is not a regular pantry ingredient for me. Instead I use extra sesame oil. It also takes a while to render the oil off the skin and fat, and almost always the amount you have at one time is not sufficient for all the rice. This is why I do not include it in this recipe. If you have chicken oil or would like to do this, feel free to!
- To render chicken fat: In a pan, lay the chicken skin and fat. Using very, very low heat – the flame is barely flickering – allow the pieces to slowly cook. The chicken oil will be rendered out, and the chicken skin and fat will cook in its own oil. Eventually it will turn golden and crisp up. Careful to not burn the chicken skin and fat! If it burns, the flavour will also seep into the chicken oil so it has a burnt taste to it too.
Pandan leaves, or Screwpine leaves, add an additional lovely flavour to the rice. Without it, the chicken rice would still smell really good and savoury, but it simply adds an extra layer of subtle fragrance.
- To use pandan leaves, grab 2 to 3 stalks, and give it a rinse. Knot the leaves to form a bundle. Add to the pot.
Can I cook chicken in this as well?
Absolutely! The only complaint I have is that I don’t find the marinade stick on to the chicken, although it does transfer to the rice. I much rather cook the chicken separately. By the way, oven baking the chicken takes the same time as the rice in the rice cooker! Therefore it’s an easy extra step for me.
If you want to cook the chicken with the rice cooker, I recommend using chicken meat that is not bone-in. Bone-in chicken parts will take longer to cook, and it may not fully cook when the rice has finished cooking. If you want to go a step further, cut the chicken into smaller pieces; this will ensure it will cook through. Simply add the chicken on top of the rice.
Some rice cookers come with a steaming basket; you can cook the chicken on the steaming basket itself.
More recipes like this:
- Nasi Minyak | Malay ghee butter rice
- KFC Fried Chicken Rice Cooker Rice
- Lo Ma Gai | Chinese style glutinous rice
What to serve Chicken Rice with:
- Char Siu Chicken
- Singapore BBQ Chicken Wings
- Oven roasted Thai grilled chicken
- Chicken rice chilli sauce
- Easy vegetable stir fry
Easy Rice Cooker Chicken RiceCourse: Recipes
2 cups White Rice
4 Cups Chicken Stock (or 1 bouillon cube dissolved in water)
1 tbsp Garlic (about 3-4 cloves), grated or pureed
1 tbsp Ginger (about 1 inch ginger), grated or pureed
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
Pinch of Salt
2 tbsps Chicken Oil (optional)
2-3 stalks of Pandan Leaves or Screwpine Leaves (optional), knotted together
- Wash and rinse rice until the water runs clear. Drain and add to rice cooker pot.
- Add ginger, garlic, salt, sesame oil and chicken oil (if using) to the rice and stir through to evenly coat. Add the chicken stock. Nestle the pandan leaf bundle in the middle of the rice.
- Close the lid of rice cooker and turn on.
- Rice should be fully cooked once rice cooker finishes cooking. Open the lid, give it a fluff with a rice paddle, and cover back the lid to allow rice to rest for 5 minutes before serving.