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Friday, November 18, 2011

Kao Mun Gai (Hainan Chicken)

Kao mun gai is what Thais call this dish, while Hainan chicken is what Chinese call it. It's steamed chicken with oiled rice served with dipping sauce. In my opinion, the difference between Thai and Chinese is a dipping sauce. I might be wrong! I've neither had it cooked in Chinese style, nor do I really know about the recipe. Every time I go back to Thailand, I always have this dish as I hardly find it here. In Thailand, it's considered street food. As you walk on a street, you will see street vendors selling this dish.

Not too long ago my friend gave me the recipe. It wasn't as hard as I expected. It was just time-consuming. It yields quite a good amount that will last for a few days or even a week. I normally use whole chicken, bone-in. I've come to realize that we use every single thing from the chicken. We boil whole chicken with veggies and water to make a stock. Use oil from the chicken to cook rice. Shred chicken meat and throw the bone back into the stock. Ah- ha, I know, I know.  I got everything done the night before, and was planning to take pictures of the finished dish the next day during dinner. Too bad, I kept forgetting and didn't get to take any. Boo. I hope you will forgive me!

I don't have a recipe of turkey to share for Thanksgiving. I would have hoped this chicken could slip in the theme (tee-hee). What are you cooking for Thanksgiving? It's only a few days away! Time sure files. For me, luckily, I don't have to be in charge of cooking turkey as my mother-in-laws does it. I will be making egg rolls - 2 styles for appetizer. In fact, I've been making egg rolls for a few Thanksgivings now. I think I'm going to have it as a tradition :)

I've been away from blogging a few weeks as I got busy at work and volunteerism. But now, I'm sick. My fingers and brain are still working so here I am blogging again! Take care everyone. The weather is getting nasty.

On another note, if you have time, please check out my contribution to International Examiner (a local newspaper in Asian community here in Seattle), the latest issue - Holiday Entertainment Issue.

Kao Mun Gai
Cooking time: 3 hours

Cooking chicken:
1 whole chicken, cleaned inside, bone-in.
1 dikon, peeled, cut to 1.5 " long
1 cup chopped carrot
1 onion, quartered


  • Wash chicken and put it in a big pot. Add water to just cover the chicken. Turn on the heat to high. Add carrots, onion, and diakon. Cover with a lid. Bring it to boil. When it boils for about 10 mins, turn off the heat with the lid on. Let it sit on a stove for an hour. Do not open the lid.
  • When the soup and chicken is cooled down, remove the chicken carefully. It will be very tender. Keep the soup to make stock. 
  • When the chicken is cool enough to handle, slice/cut it and put on a big plate.

How to cook a chicken

Cooking rice:
3 cups Jansmine rice or brown rice. White rice works better than brown. In the picture, I used brown.
2-3 inches gresh ginger, peeled, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed but still in a form of cloves.
3 Tbs vegetble oil


  • Heat up a wok. Add oil. Swirl to coat.
  • Add rice. Stir fry the rice and oil. Add ginger and garlic. Stir to cook until ginger and garlic create aroma scent.
  • Cook rice in a rice cooker. We will use water and oil from cooking chicken. The ratio of rice-to-water is 1:1.
  • Put rice in a rice cooker, scoop oil and soup on a surface from the pot that we cooked chicken. Try to get as much as oil as you can.
  • Cook rice as instructed on its directions.
Fry rice with oil, ginger, and garlic

Making sauce:
2 Tbs fermented bean paste (เต้่้าเจี้ยว)
1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sugar
1 garlic cove
2 Tbs cilantro stems
2 Tbs chicken stock or water
3-4 Thai chili (optional)
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled, chopped

  • Blend everything in a food processor. Adust the taste.
  • Garnish with cilantro.
Dipping sauce
Making stock:
Soup from cooking chicken
1 Tbs sea salt
2 tsp white pepper
Leftover bone from chicken

  • Continue cooking the soup to make stock. Season with salt and pepper. Throw in the bone after you shred chicken. Simmer for about half hour or so. Adjust seasoning. It shouldn't have full flavor. We will serve it as a side dish.
Scoop cooked rice on a plate. Top with chicken and fresh cucumber. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with soup and dipping sauce on the side.

Arrange cooked chicken on a serving plate

I apologize for a poor quality of the picture. It was taken on my cellphone. Yep, at least I remembered to capture it with my phone!

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Nic@diningwithastud said...

Luuuurve chicken rice :) so simple but sooo tasty!

angela@spinachtiger said...

This time of year, I'm looking for new flavors and moving away from the Fall. This works perfectly.

Magic of Spice said...

I hope you are feeling better sweetie...I think several people replace turkey with chicken during the holidays and I know everyone will need something different in between :) Great recipe!

Pacheco Patty said...

I just love this simple and simply comforting comfort food anytime- it would taste perfect to me! I hope you are well and have the most beautiful holiday weekend with all your loved ones;-)

Angie's Recipes said...

I love Hainan chicken. Very tender and tasty.

Monet said...

What a simple, healing recipe. Thank you for sharing this delicious chicken with me. I hope you are having a relaxing weekend with family and good food. Many blessings this week, my friend!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a great way to prepare chicken. Hope you are feeling better and had a nice Thanksgiving!

Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} said...

Hi Tanantha,
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, with delicious food and great company.
Your chicken dish sounds great!

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