The ULTIMATE Sous Vide Hainanese Chicken Rice

Our biggest request was how to make Hainanese Chicken Rice in the sous vide – and the sous vide is definitely the right cooking apparatus for this. We have been thinking about sous vide Hainanese Chicken since we got an immersion circulator! Truth be told, it was one of the first things we tried, and failed. Have not looked back at it for 5 years – I’ve learned a lot since then. Knowing what we know now, we tried it again and this time it was a success. The sous vide allows us to get the chicken to the right tenderness and perfect texture while keeping in all the juices.

Hainanese chicken rice is most famous in South East Asia namely Singapore and Malaysia. But it came from the Hainan province of China. This is thanks to immigration. In Hainan this was Wen Cheong Chicken (文昌雞) kind of like the Cantonese white poached chicken. Hainanese Chicken includes local flavours such as pandan leaves, chilli sauce and jasmine rice. We tried it in Singapore before, it is actually the cheapest Michelin starred dish out there.

We sous vide a whole running chicken (160F (70C)/3 hours). Yes, I know, I know, I didn’t use the sous vide to its full potential and I can break it down into breast and dark – but the results with the whole bird was amazing! The skin, the texture, the flavours were all there – still super juicy as well. I tried something I’ve never done before, put the meat directly into ice water – I think this helped to create the signature gelatinous layer between the skin and the meat, and helped firm up the skin for presentation. The chicken is moist and juicy and the chicken rice uses the rendered chicken fat and the leftover cooking liquid to impart a rich and deep flavor. It also comes with three signature sauces, ginger scallion sauce, chili sauce, and sweet dark soy sauce – all an essential part of this experience.

The ice bath gave the chicken a gelatinous layer between the skin and the meat.
Hainanese chicken is the ultimate choose your own adventure dish – the three sauces gives three different tasting experience.


The ULTIMATE Sous Vide Hainanese Chicken Rice

Originating from Hainan, Hainan Chicken Rice is a popular dish in South East Asia. The chicken is moist and juicy and the chicken rice uses the rendered chicken fat and broth to impart a rich and deep flavor. It also comes with three signature sauces, ginger scallion sauce, chili sauce, and sweet dark soy sauce.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: chicken recipe, chinese recipe, hainanese chicken, sous vide



  • 1 Whole Yellow Chicken best if free run and/or organic
  • 1 Shallot halved
  • 4 stalks Scallions tied
  • 3 Pandan Leaves tied
  • 2 inch Ginger sliced
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 4-6 cups Unsalted Chicken Broth


  • cups Jasmine Rice **we are using 3 rice cups
  • 1 Large Shallot diced
  • 1 inch Ginger minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 3 Pandan Leaves
  • 3 stalks Scallions
  • Chicken Broth from Sous Vide Hainanese Chicken

Chili Sauce

  • 1-2 Long Red Chili seeded & minced
  • 1 inch Ginger minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Salt

Ginger Scallion Sauce

  • 2 tbsp Ginger minced
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 4 stalks Scallions
  • 3 tbsp Oil

Sweet Soy Sauce

  • 2 tbsp Dark Soy
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Sugar


  • Cucumbers sliced diagonally
  • Scallions optional
  • Coriander optional



  • Set sous vide to 160F (71C).
  • Trim the chicken of excess fat and remove the butt, set aside.
  • Generously salt the chicken inside and out.
  • Insert shallot, ginger, scallions, and pandan leaves into the cavity of the chicken
  • Place the chicken in an extra large freezer bag.
  • Add in 4-6 cups of chicken broth to the bag, ensuring that there’s enough to fill the cavity of the chicken.
  • Remove the air from the bag using the water displacement method. Double bag, and repeat the water displacement method.
  • Sous vide for 3 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the sous vide once time is up.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag. Strain the broth in the bag and set aside.
  • Discard the aromatics from the cavity of the chicken.
  • Place chicken into an ice bath for 15-30mins. Flipping halfway through.
  • Remove chicken from the ice water and set aside to air dry.

Chicken Rice

  • Wash rice, drain, and set aside
  • Over low heat, add the chicken fat to a pan. Render out the fat, careful not to burn the chicken or oil
  • Remove the skin and fat from the pan.
  • Add ginger, garlic, shallots, stir fry until fragrant
  • Remove the ginger slices
  • Add the washed rice to the pan, stir fry until well mixed and rice is coated in oil.
  • Remove from the heat Add in the sesame oil.
  • Transfer from the pan to a rice cooker pot
  • Add the appropriate amount of broth from the sous vide chicken
  • Tie pandan leaves and toss in, along with the scallions.
  • Cook the rice.

Chili Sauce

  • Mince all the ingredients, otherwise, blitz the chilli, ginger, and garlic in a food processor.
  • Spoon out into a bowl, add salt, sugar, lime juice, and chicken broth. Stir, and set aside.

Ginger Scallion Sauce

  • Combine ginger and scallion, and sugar in a heat proof bowl.
  • Heat up oil and pour on top.
  • Stir until well combined, add salt to taste.

Thick Sweet Soy Sauce

  • Head a pan on medium low heat.
  • Add in dark soy sauce, water, and sugar. Cook and stir often until boiling. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl.

To Serve

  • Chop chicken into pieces. Optionally, brush sesame oil over chicken, and sprinkle a bit of salt. Garnish with scallions or coriander.
  • Serve with rice, a side of cucumbers, and all the sauces on the side.

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