Can you make Hainanese Chicken and Rice in an Instant Pot? The simple answer is Yes! My guess is that if you found your way to this recipe, you already have a good idea what Hainanese Chicken is all about. But in case you stumbled upon this recipe and need a little background, let’s get to that questions first.
What is Hainanese Chicken?
If you’re asking this question, you clearly have spent very little time in Singapore. Chicken and rice is basically Singapore’s national dish. Sold at hawker stands (food courts) throughout the country, the dish is a national obsession.
Hainanese chicken and rice is a simple dish – high quality whole chicken cooked in a broth with ginger and garlic, and served with rice and a variety of sauces. Simple, but delicious. The chicken is tender and juicy, having been expertly poached in a fragrant broth.
Often a cup of the delicious broth is also served with the chicken. A side of white rice accompanies the meal, but the dish would not be complete by any measure without an array of sauces on the side.
The sauces, for me, are what make this dish so good. My favorite is a spicy (and sometimes sweet) chili sauce, followed by a fragrant ginger & garlic sauce, and of course a rich dark soy sauce. You can mix the sauces together with the rice and chicken in whatever combinations you like, or just dip the tender chicken into whichever is your favorite.
The spicy chili sauce, in my opinion, is the star of the dish, bringing the flavors to a whole new dimension.
Michelin Star Cuisine
When in Singapore, you can track down a plate in the Chinatown Food Market. Chef Chan Hon Meng, who earned a Michelin star for his recipe, operates his Lion Fan Hong Kong Soya Chicken Rice & Noodle stand. As the name implies, his recipe include the use of soy sauce in the cooking broth.
It’s almost guaranteed to have a line any time of the day. He also now makes his famous chicken rice in a brick and mortar restaurant across from the hawker market, where you will still have line, but you can wait in air conditioned comfort.
Instant Pot Chicken
To get great Instant Pot Chicken and Rice, you need to start with a great chicken. Try to avoid major supermarket chains when shopping for this dish – their chickens are often pumped with water to make them look juicy (and weigh more), but this doesn’t do anything for the flavor.
Instead visit a quality butcher or a farmers market, and purchase a free range chicken. You’ll notice the difference immediately, often just from the color of the chicken itself.
Preparing the Chicken
To prepare the chicken, you’ll be applying a salt scrub. Think of this like an entire body facial for the chicken. Take a handful of kosher salt, and rub it vigorously over the entire chicken, removing any loose skin. Then pat both the inside and outside dry.
You’ll also be using an ice bath at the end of the process, to stop the chicken from continuing to cook and firm up the skin and meat, resulting in the perfect texture for the meat. Make sure your container with ice water is big enough to submerge the whole chicken.
- 1 3 lb (1.5 kg) Whole Free-Range Chicken
- 1 Bunch Fresh Scallions
- 4 Large (3-4 inch) Peeled ginger pieces
- Kosher Salt
- Remove gizzards from internal cavity of the chicken.
- Take a handful of Kosher salt, and scrub the skin of the chicken vigorously, removing any loose skin or fat from the surface of the bird.
- Wash and pat dry the chicken, inside and out.
- Stuff scallions and ginger into the cavity of the bird.
- Generously salt the chicken inside and out - you'll be seasoning the broth as well, so don't be shy with the salt.
- Place chicken in the Instant Pot, on a trivet with handles so it can be easily removed when done (and still hot)
- Add water to the maximum fill level on the Instant Pot.
- Close the lid, set vent to "sealing", and set to manual cook for 30 minutes.
- When time is complete, remove chicken from Instant Pot and plunge immediately into an bath of ice water to arrest the cooking process.
- Leave chicken submerged in ice bath for 5 minutes, then remove and pat dry.
After removing the chicken from the Instant Pot, pour the broth through a strainer. Reserve 2 cups of broth for the rice, 4 tablespoons for the sauces, and serve the remaining broth as a side with the chicken.
You likely wouldn’t be reading an Instant Pot recipe if you didn’t already have this piece of equipment. The Instant Pot is also a perfect rice cooker! We’ll be sautéing ginger and garlic in the pot, first then the rice, sauté for another minute. Then, we’ll use the delicious broth for added flavor.
- 2 Cups (475 ml) Basmati or Long Grain Rice
- 2 Cups (475 ml) Chicken Broth
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Vegetable Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
- 1 Inch (2.5 cm) Piece Fresh Ginger, finely minced or grated
- Rinse rice in cold water, replacing the water until it is clear.
- Let rice soak in clean water for 5 minutes.
- Add oil to Instant Pot and set to Saute.
- When oil is hot, add garlic and ginger.
- Cook for 2 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic.
- Add drained rice to the pot, and saute for 1 minute, stirring.
- Add chicken broth, close lid, and use the rice function to cook.
- When rice is done, open lid and "fluff" the rice with a fork.
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