Kao Man Gai or chicken fat rice is one of the best comfort foods, being both convenient and affordable. It is believed that this dish was created in Hainan, located in southern China. The traditional Hainanese Chicken rice uses a local chicken called “wenchang chicken” which is poached and served with rice with a dipping sauce on the side (Celjo, 2019). This dish has become popular outside of China and the recipe has been adapted by Hainanese migrants in different parts of South-East Asia.
Each country has its own version of chicken rice, with its own processes to make juicy poached chicken, aromatic rice, chicken broth and dipping sauce. There are about four countries that carry Hainanese chicken rice recipes which are Singapore’s Chicken Rice, Malaysia’s Nasi Ayam, Thailand’s Kao Man Gai and Vietnam’s Cơm Gà Hải Nam.
You may have heard more about the Singaporean-style Hainanese Chicken Rice which is listed as a national Singaporean dish. It’s a popular dish served on flights for Airasia, Jetstar and Singapore airlines. Interestingly the dish is the centre of an ongoing conflict between Singapore and Malaysia regarding ownership. In 2009, this debate has arisen from Malaysian Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen who intended to protect Malaysian cuisines with the country’s identity (Mirandah, 2009). The argument created tension between Malaysia and Singapore. In my point of view, it’s great that we can enjoy different styles and creations of chicken rice.
In Thailand, Kao Man Gai (Thai: ข้าวมันไก่) is a popular street food that I never miss eating when I visit. It is accompanied by a number of sides including blood tofu, chicken organs, crushed chili and grounded ginger dipping sauce and optional crispy chicken. When you order Kao Man Gai, you can request chicken thighs or breasts, with skin-on or skin-off and with or without chicken organs. A chicken rice dish will be served with broth, slices of cucumber and dipping sauce. They also provide crushed chili and ginger on the table so you can add an extra flavour to your sauce.
Let’s get into our mission for today as we will give you a step-by-step to cook your delicious Thai-style Kao Man Gai at home with ingredients we are able to get locally. There are three main processes to go through and to get juicy chicken and aromatic-fatty rice.
Ingredients for chicken broth and rice for 5 serves
Ingredient for dipping sauce for 5 serves
How to make chicken broth and poached chicken thighs
How to prepare fatty rice
How to make dipping sauce
For this coming weekend, let’s stay at home and make Kao Man Gai to have with your family. Have a wonderful weekend!
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