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  • Cristina Sison

Grandma's Hainanese Chicken

I learned this recipe from my grandmother but I modified it to make preparation easier by baking the chicken instead of going through the sautéing, and cooking the chicken in a pan.

This has been a favorite of many friends and family since it was introduced by my grandmother. I personally do not find the chicken that great, but the rice cooked in coconut milk and the lemon-garlic-fish sauce brings all the flavors together!

Hainan Chicken


  • 1 pack chicken thighs (about 7 pcs)

  • 1 bulb of garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced into rings

  • 1/4 c chopped ginger

  • 1/2 c Chicken broth (to cover) - just use enough to allow boiling and to cook the chicken. You will end up with more chicken broth during the baking process

  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 °

Place chicken in an oven proof pan in a single layer. Sprinkle the ginger over the chicken, then add the garlic and top with onion rings. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Pour chicken broth over chicken. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the broth reaches boiling point and chicken is cooked.

Coconut Rice


  • 2 1/2 cup uncooked rice

  • 2 c chicken broth from the baked chicken (or home made vegetable stock)

  • 1/2 c coconut milk

  • 3 T chopped ginger

  • 2 pcs of green onions (whole)

Measure 2 1/2 c rice and place in a pan. Rinse rice grains if necessary (this is the Filipino way). Add 2 c of the chicken broth from the baked chicken and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Mix well. Add chopped ginger. Boil rice in medium heat.Stir occasionally to prevent charring at the bottom of the pan (if this happens, not to worry. Clean with vinegar and baking soda and your pan will look like new!) Add water if rice does not cook well. Once the rice is cooked, mix in the green onions (this adds aroma and flavor to the cooked rice. Filipinos like to use pandan leaves to aroma but it is not edible)

Garlic Lemon and Fish Sauce

Combine 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic, 2 T of lemon juice, 2 T fish sauce, and 3 tsp of brown sugar. Mix well. You may add more of any of the ingredients depending on your preference for garlic flavor, or lemon. The fish sauce and the sugar balances out the garlic and the citrus flavor.

Add Thai Papaya Salad or a tomato cucumber salad with cilantro, leeks, and red onions, seasoned with black pepper and fish sauce will give you a complete meal.

This dish also goes well with kimchi!

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