Decadent, Delightful, Dad’s Day.

Looks good, right? Hainanese chicken and rice. My husband’s favorite meal-his death row meal. More about that later.

First. How was all of your Father’s day? Awesome? I hope so!! I always find Father’s day such a difficult one to plan. How do I properly thank the man who made me a mom? Who goes to work every day, to a ridiculously difficult job with banana hours and comes home and takes over so I can go run and spend time in the kitchen? Fortunately, this year was easy peasy-we went out with Tim’s bestie, his wife, and their three ittybits to the Prospect Park Zoo and Pier 6 sprinkler park!! The dads chased the kids and played hard. Let me tell you, for those two dads, that’s the best thing going. We had a picnic at the zoo near the sea lions, saw baboons shake their red arses, and watched our two boys, that are the same age apart as their dads, just.go.nuts. Bliss.

After literally HOURS of walking and chasing the crazies, Tim and Elijah were STARVING. Being Father’s day and all, I let Tim decide what we’d have. His answer was quick and simple: Apoor’s Hainan chicken and rice, green beans, peppers, and dessert. (Apoor is the phonetical spelling for the Hainan word for Grandma)

I am so lucky that I was taught how to make this simple, yet delicious dish from the hands of the master. (Tim is also sure she is, in fact, master of all things culinary, and I am cool with that!) Apoor was born and raised in Sanya, Hainan and came to the US in the 1960’s with her husband and son. She would go on to have two more sons, open a Chinese restaurant, and then raise my husband. She is now one of my son’s favorite people in the world.

Hainanese chicken is a steamed chicken, infused with the flavors of ginger, lemon, and garilic. (and a little bit of crack. holy addictive) It is served with rice made from the broth of the steamed chicken and more garlic and ginger. It is served with a dipping sauce made of broth and “soe” which is a ginger/garlic mince.


This is useful for more than just HC&R, it is great to add to any Asian dish or just to sautee some greens with.

It is remarkably simple.


by Cat Tan

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0

Ingredients (10-12 servings)

  • 15 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 2″-1.5″ nub of peeled ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt


roughly chop the ginger

add all ingredients into a food processor

pulse until a paste forms similar to natural almond butter.

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Put in a jar-put it in the fridge. It lasts a remarkably long time. (Well, not in my house–it goes quickly.)

Hainan Chicken

Hainan Chicken and Rice

by Cat Tan

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1.5-2 hours

Keywords: steam entree gluten-free chicken Chinese winter

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 5 lb chicken or parts (we’re dark meat folks)
  • A BIG bulb of ginger (6″x3″ approx) sliced
  • 2 heads of garlic cut in half (across the middle so that all of the cloves are cut in half)
  • a lemon cut in half
  • 2 T of salt! (yes, tablespoons. This will make a lot of broth and rice-don’t freak!)


Place the ginger, garlic, lemon, and salt on the bottom of a heavy bottom stock pot. Place chicken and the neck in the pot, cover with COLD water. Place on stove, over a high heat, bring to boil, turn down the heat to med-low and simmer until meat is cooked well and broth is aromatic. (about 1.5 hrs) Take out chicken, strain broth.

This should yield about 7.5 cups of broth give or take.

Hainan rice

Use 6 cups of the broth reserve the rest for dipping sauce

2T canola or other lightly flavored oil

2T soe

3-4 cups of rice depending on variety.


In the same pot you cooked the chicken in, turn stove on med-high, add canola oil, bring the oil until it just ripples. Add the soe, kick back the heat a bit, sautee. Add the rice and stir to coat EVERY grain with the oil/soe mixture. Add the 6c of stock, bring heat back up to high, bring rice to boil-stir-bring heat down to med-low, cover pot, and LEAVE IT THE HECK ALONE!! Until it is done. About 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce (the way WE eat it)

in a heat proof bowl, add 1T of soe and the juice of half a lemon. Pour in the remaining broth while it is REALLY FRIGGEN HOT. This quasi-cooks the ginger/garlic and makes it less bitey.

Dipping sauce alternative #1

To the above sauce, add 3 stalks of FINELY chopped scallion

Dipping sauce alternative #2

In a small saucepan, heat 1T sesame oil, when it begins to ripple, add 1 t to 1 T of chile flakes, and 1 T soe-bring back the heat and add about half of the remaining broth.

The chicken is meant to be served cut-up and room temp.

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Now, my hubbs and most Chinese people eat the steamed chicken skin and love it. I DO NOT. However, if you need a really good tutorial of how to cut up a Chinese style chicken, look here. Just do me a favor and make sure your knife is SUPER sharp. This is a healthy and delicious main course and you will NOT regret the time it takes.

The green beans were steamed and gently dressed with a ginger soy vinaigrette.

Dessert was a midwestern fave, hot fudge cake with vanilla ice cream. This recipe is via Taste of Home, and I LOVE IT SO HARD. It takes zilch-o time and has a big payoff. Gooey cake, hot fudge sauce, and the smell of it in your house? Un-buh-lieve-uh-ble.

it sure looks like a pile of crap a’la mode. Trust me, it’s delish.


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