Khao Man Kai – Rice with Steamed Chicken

Hainanese chicken rice is a common dish in Thailand where it is called khao man kai (Thai: ข้าวมันไก่), literally meaning ‘oiled rice chicken’. The chickens used in Thailand for this dish can be free range chickens of local breeds, resulting in a leaner and tastier dish, but increasingly meat chickens from large scale poultry farms are being used.

Khao man kai is served with a garnish of cucumbers and occasionally chicken blood tofu and fresh coriander, along with a bowl of nam sup, a clear chicken broth which often contains sliced daikon. The accompanying sauce is most often made with tauchu (also known as yellow soybean paste), thick soy sauce, chilli, ginger, garlic and vinegar. In many of the more traditional khao man kai shops, it will be available only from breakfast until lunchtime.

Khao Man Kai - Rice with Steamed Chicken
Khao Man Kai (ข้าวมันไก่) is a popular boiled chicken one plate dish in Thailand which is derived from the famous Hainanese chicken on rice.
For chicken and broth
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 bone-in chicken breast
  • 1 cup fresh ginger, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¾ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - 3 pandan leaves (optional)
For rice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 x 1 cm chunks fresh ginger
  • ¾ tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ¾ tablespoon chopped Asian shallots
  • 2 cups jasmine rice
For soup
  • 1 cup large diced winter squash (you can also add daikon)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
For garnishing
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • sliced cucumber
  • thinly sliced jalapeño or other chillies (optional)
To make the chicken and broth
  1. In a large stockpot, bring the water to a boil. Add the chicken pieces, ginger, garlic, sugar, salt and pandan leaves, if using. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the broth is infused with flavour, 35 minutes. Strain and reserve the broth and the chicken separately. Discard the other solid ingredients.
To make the rice
  1. In a rice cooker or a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and shallots and sauté until tender and aromatic, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat it with oil, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved chicken broth and cook the rice following the instructions of your rice cooker. If using a regular pot, bring the broth to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is just tender.
To make the soup
  1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of the chicken broth to a boil. Add the winter squash and simmer over medium heat until it is crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and pepper.
To assemble
  1. Rewarm the chicken, if needed. Debone and cut the chicken into thick slices. Mound a portion of rice on each of 2 warmed plates and top it with the chicken. Sprinkle with coriander and add a few slices of cucumber to garnish. Serve with small bowls of the soup, and fresh chillies for more heat, if desired.

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