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Khao man gai (dinner)

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Khao man gai is a Thai chicken dish similar to the more famous Hainanese Chicken Rice of China. The name khao man gai means “oiled rice [with] chicken”.

In Thailand, there are specialized khao man gai shops and food trucks that serves the dish from breakfast until lunchtime, usually garnished with cucumber.


Cooking chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 gallon water
  • 6 ounces ginger, thinly sliced
  • 6 pandan leaves
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Cooking rice

  • 2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (from your chicken)
  • 1/2 cup shallots, diced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce galangal, thinly sliced
  • 4 pandan leaves
  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 4 1/4 cups chicken stock

Cooking soup

  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of Chinese winter squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped


  • Five cucumber slices per plate
  • Three cilantro sprigs per plate


Making crisp chicken skins

Trim the skin from the chicken. Place the skin in a pan and cook it over medium heat until the fat has rendered out completely. The end result should be crispy chicken skins. Set the skins aside fore later. Also, in another container, save the fat for later.

Cooking chicken

Put water, ginger, pandan, garlic, sugar and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, and bring to a boil again. Leave to simmer covered by a lid for 35 minutes on low heat.

The finished chicken should be removed from the pot and left to cool down for at least 15 minutes before you cut it into slices.

Cooking rice

While the chicken is simmering, make the rice.

Start by warming up 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) of chicken stock. If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, you can use bouillon cubes + water and prepare the stock according to the instructions from the manufacturer.

While the chicken stock is getting hot on the stove, take the chicken fat you set aside earlier and place it in another pot (you need roughly 2 tablespoons of chicken fat). Add shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal and pandan to the fat. Fry over medium-high heat, stirring every 20 seconds, until the herbs are golden brown. Add uncooked jasmin rice and continue to cook over medium-high heat while stirring to make sure that every grain of rice gets coated and well roasted. Roasting the rice properly will typically take around 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high-heat and add the warm chicken stock to the pot. It is important that the chicken stock is boiling hot when you pour it over the rice.

Stir the rice continuously until the liquid starts boiling. Reduce to medium-low heat and cover the pot with a lid. Leave to cook until the rice is cooked through. This will usually take around 10-15 minutes.

Cooking soup

If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, you can use bouillon cubes + water and prepare the stock according to the instructions from the manufacturer. When you have a pot filled with 4 cups of chicken stock, add the squash and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes.

Taste the soup and add soy sauce and white pepper to taste.

Pour the soup into a soup mug and add cilantro and green onion on top.

Assembling the dish

  1. Place the soup mug on a plate, to the side.
  2. Put a mount of rice on the plate and place chicken slices on top of the rice.
  3. Adorn the plate with cucumbers and cilantro. These greens don’t just look nice, they can also be used as palate cleansers.
  4. Serve

Tip: Khao man gai tastes even better when served with fermented soy bean sauce.