Monday, January 11, 2016

Hainan Chicken Under Pressure

Still riding on his success with the St. Louis style ribs, Wes decides that he wants to attempt the unknown: Hainan chicken in the Instant Pot pressure cooker.  We love Hainan chicken rice.  Wes used to buy the cold boxed version from Phoenix Food Boutique as his go-to weekend bachelor meal.  We took two orders from Savoy Kitchen to-go on the day of our engagement photoshoot; I ate it in the car with my curled hair and manicured fingernails.  Wes's mom would make heaps of the ginger sauce for us to take home when we stopped by.  This dish is one of the rare exceptions to our rule of never duplicating orders when we eat together.  With Hainan chicken rice, we each get our own, with extra ginger sauce on the side.   There's something about the simplicity of it that makes it so craveable.

We have made Hainan chicken at home before, using the sous vide method and two chicken leg quarters.  This time, though, Wes brought home a whole chicken.  He's always trying to make a statement with his food, but I guess I'm not complaining.  We had everything else on hand already, and by "everything else," I mean like three other ingredients.  It wasn't complicated at all and turned out great!  Wes plated it restaurant-style, and we totally dived into it like fiends after the photos were taken.  We broke our rule and had to share it this time, but there was more than plenty to go around, and we didn't have to trouble a waiter for more ginger sauce.

Chicken Recipe


Whole chicken
Sesame oil
Shaoxing rice wine
Green onions
Chicken stock


1.  Start with a whole chicken and rinsing it down.  Make sure to remove any of the internal organs that may be inside.

2.  Rub the outside and cavity with sesame oil and Shaoxing rice wine.

3.  Salt the outside and inside of the chicken generously.  Stuff half of the roughly chopped ginger, green onions, and garlic inside of the chicken.

4.  Place the chicken in the Instant Pot.
5.  Pour 2 cups of chicken stock into the pot.  Fill the pot with water until 1 inch of the top of the chicken is still exposed.  Toss in the remaining chopped ginger, green onions, and garlic.
6.  Put on the lid and make sure the the vent is set to the closed position.  Set the Instant Pot for 27 minutes on the meat setting.

7.  When the cooking has completed,  remove chicken and submerge it into an ice bath for 5-10 minutes.  This step isn't entirely necessary but it will prevent the chicken from cooking further and tighten the skin.

8.  Cut or tear chicken.  We opted to tear the chicken to imitate Green Zone's plating style.

9.  Mix 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of chicken liquid for a sauce.  Spoon over chicken pieces or serve on the side.



1 inch of ginger
1/4 of an onion
3 cloves of garlic
White rice
Chicken stock (can be from the Instant Pot or canned/carton)

  1. Finely chop ginger, garlic and an onion and sauté them until onion turns translucent.
  2. Mix with uncooked rice
  3. Prepare rice as you normally would.  For the liquid, we used a combination of 1/3 chicken stock and 2/3 water.  You can use the chicken stock from the instant pot or store bought.  We opted to use store bought chicken stock in the interest of time and because we didn't want the rice to be too greasy.
Ginger Sauce


3-inch piece of ginger (chopped)
2 or 3 green onions (chopped)
Canola oil
Sesame oil


Pulse the ginger, green onions, and about a teaspoon of sesame oil, and three-ish tablespoons of canola oil in food processor to a coarse paste.  Add salt to taste.

Spoon over the rice, mix it together, or dip your chicken in it, do whatever you want to do with it!  Enjoy and make extra!

Note: we used some of the broth in the instant pot for the sauteed Chinese broccoli, and reserved the rest for hot pot later that week.  The meal that keeps on giving!


  1. Awesome - thank you to both for posting this! Beautiful pictures and love the story behind it.

    I will definitely try this recipe. Did the white meat still come out OK after being pressure cooked? I'm just wondering if an all-leg meal may be ideal (since I prefer dark) but there's something to keeping the chicken whole.

    1. Both the white and the dark meat turned out great and I would recommend keeping the chicken whole. All that bone just adds to the flavor!


  2. I made this earlier this year and I am getting ready to make it again tomorrow. I can't tell you how nice this whole meal is. My Wife is Korean and I'm a world traveler and I can tell you this is one of the nicest things somebody can make at home. Very simple, once you realize the chicken goes in first, and components of it are used to make the rest. Very simple and so delicious. Thanks Wes!

  3. Hi. When the chicken is done, do you do an instant or gradual release?

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