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Hainanese Chicken Rice, Sous-Vide Style

Just ask anyone from the South East Asian region what Hainanese chicken rice is, and chances are, many of them will just take you to try one. It's just such a simple, yet beautifully executed dish - something you should definitely try making yourself.

A dish with Chinese origin, it is traditionally cooked by steeping a whole chicken into a huge pot of water or stock at temperatures below boiling for a certain amount of time. That sounds like the perfect candidate for sous vide! I've shown the recipe for a smaller scale using chicken thighs, but you can easily scale it up by serving it on a large plate, family style.

Recipe: Hainanese Chicken Rice, Sous-Vide Style

Serves 4
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


600g (21 oz) skin-on boneless chicken thighs
10ml (2 tsp) sesame oil

30ml (2 tbsp) sesame oil
50g (1.8 oz) ginger, minced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
40g (1.4 oz) chicken fat (optional)
500g (17.6 oz) jasmine rice
850ml (3.5 cups) chicken stock

Ginger Chili Sauce
5 fresh red chillies, chopped
30g (1 oz) ginger, skinned and sliced
3 cloves of garlic
4g (1 tsp) sugar
2g (1/2 tsp) salt
5ml (1 tsp) lime juice
30ml (2 tbsp) chicken stock

Sesame-soy Sauce
30ml (2 tbsp) sesame oil
60ml (4 tbsp) light soy sauce

To Finish
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
Bunch of coriander, chopped


1 hour 45 minutes before
Set Codlo to preheat water bath to 65°C (149°F) with 1 hour 30 minutes cooking time.

Once the target temperature is reached, seal the chicken thighs with 2 teaspoons of sesame oil in a bag and submerge them in the water bath.

45 minutes before
For the rice: heat up the sesame oil in a heavy-based pot. Stir-fry ginger, garlic and chicken fat until aromatic. Add rice, stir for 5 minutes before adding the chicken stock.

Once the mixture boils, reduce heat to medium. Simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes until cooked. Add more water if necessary.

When the chicken is cooked, submerge the bag containing the chicken in a pot of ice cold water for 15 minutes. Remove from bag and cut them into bite- sized pieces.

For the chili sauce: chop and mix the chilies, ginger, garlic, sugar, salt and lime juice in a blender. Add chicken stock and season to taste. Set aside.

Prepare the sesame-soy sauce simply by mixing sesame oil and light soy sauce. Set aside.

To plate
Drizzle some sesame-soy sauce generously over a portion of chicken, topped with some chopped coriander. Serve with rice, sliced cucumber and chili sauce.

Notes & Tips

Shocking the meat in ice cold water helps firm it up and creates a gelatinous layer between the skin and the flesh.