Life’s a Feast: Hainanese chicken rice stew


Hainanese chicken rice is widely considered the national dish of Singapore (but originating from Hainan, China). This Asian treat consists of succulent steamed chicken, sliced into bite-sized pieces and served on a bed of fragrant rice with some light soy sauce, ginger chilli sauce and a side of clear soup.

It was my go-to at hawker centres throughout Singapore and all for the massive price of $4.50! This recipe is a twist on this dish, and uses the deliciously fragrant paste (that the rice is usually cooked in) as the base for a healthy rice stew packed with vegetables. It’s something the whole family will love. Enjoy!

PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOK TIME: 25 mins

SERVES: 5-6 people


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 tablespoons Hainanese chicken rice paste (the Asian supermarket U-Plus at The Landing sells it)

2 carrots

1/4 head of cauliflower

120g bag baby spinach

1 cup jasmine rice (uncooked)

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups good quality chicken stock

2 free-range chicken breasts

2 spring onions, sliced

Hainanese ginger chilli sauce


1.Peel and dice your carrot into small pieces by cutting the carrot in half lengthways, then cut each half into three, lengthways then thinly slice. You need it nice and small so it cooks at the same time as the rice.

2.Wash then grate your cauliflower. Thinly slice the spinach (I just do this to get my kids to eat it) and thinly slice the chicken breasts.

3.Tip two tablespoons of oil into a large pot and heat to medium-high heat and add the eight tablespoons of Hainanese chicken rice paste. Cook until it begins to become aromatic, about 2-3 minutes.

4.Tip in the rice and thoroughly mix through the paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then pour in two cups of water and 1of chicken stock.

5.Add the carrot and cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, then add the sliced chicken and continue to gently simmer. Cook for a further 10 minutes then add the sliced spinach.

6.Spoon out evenly into five-six bowls, then garnish with the spring onions and a small spoonful of the ginger chilli.