The finished dish

Singapore style chicken rice – recipe

December 7, 2020
3 mins read

Having found the tastiest Singapore-style chicken rice (in Singapore), PAT PILCHER has figured out how to replicate it.

The finished dish

Tian Tian in the Maxwell food court in Chinatown is one of my go-to’s whenever I’m in Singapore. They serve only one dish: Chicken Rice. It’s so popular that Locals will form a line several hundred metres long to place an order at lunchtime. It’s Gordon Ramsay’s favourite Singaporean eatery too. Chicken rice consists of fragrant rice, moist and tasty steamed chicken, a small bowl of soul-warming chicken soup and a small amount of zingy hot sauce and umami-packed garlic ginger paste.

It’s a multi-part dish that requires you juggle several tasks, but it also isn’t terribly challenging to cook, and its taste will blow your mind. You’ll need a lot of fresh ginger and good quality garlic. Pandan leaves can be sourced from most Asian markets while a ginger grater can be found at most kitchen shops. Most supermarkets and butchers will have chicken frames.


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  • Chicken Soup
  • 1x thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and lightly crushed
  • 2x spring onions topped and tailed, lightly crushed
  • 1x chicken frame
  • Water
  • ¼ tsp salt

Hot Sauce

  • 1x large red chilli (seeded)
  • 1x thumb-sized piece of ginger (peeled)
  • 2x cloves Garlic (peeled)
  • Juice from 2 small limes or 1 large lime
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of chicken soup

Chicken breast

  • Salt
  • Light soy sauce (Kikkoman if possible)
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 6 tsp chicken soup
  • 1x boneless chicken breast


  • 1 cup long-grain rice (jasmine/basmati)
  • 1x Pandan Leaf (knotted)
  • 1x finely chopped shallot
  • 1x small piece of peeled ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken soup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Rice bran or peanut oil



Garlic Ginger Paste

  • 1x thumb-sized piece of Ginger
  • 3-4 med/large cloves of garlic
  • Oil
Chicken rice ingredients



  1. Place the chicken frame in a large pot
  2. Add the salt
  3. Peel the ginger and using the flat of your knife blade, lightly bash it and place in the pot
  4. Cut the bottom and leafy tops off two spring onions and using the flat of your knife, gently bruise both pieces. Place in the pot
  5. Fill the pot with water until the chicken frame has been covered and bring to a simmer. Leave while cooking the other ingredients
Chicken rice soup ingredients


Hot Sauce

  1. Halve and Seed the chilli
  2. Peel and cut the ginger and garlic cloves into chunks
  3. Place the chilli, ginger and garlic in a mortar & pecil
  4. Add the lime juice, Sesame oil and chicken soup
  5. Crush into a wet red zingy sauce and place equal amounts in some small bowls
Chicken rice hot sauce crushed


Garlic Paste

  1. Using a ginger grater, grate the ginger into a paste and repeat with the garlic
  2. Add the paste to a hot pan with a tbsp of rice bran or peanut oil and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously (cooking eliminates harsh raw ginger and garlic flavours) for 5-7 minutes being careful not to burn the paste
  3. Place equal amounts of the paste into small bowls
Chicken rice garlic ginger paste grater



  1. Finely chop a shallot and peel piece of ginger, finely chopping it too.
  2. Heat a pan and add oil.
  3. Once the oil is heated, add rice/shallot/ginger and stir until the rice grains will go white and opaque.
  4. Turn down the heat and add knotted pandan leaf.
  5. Add 2 cups of chicken soup.
  6. Place a lid on the pan.
  7. Check regularly and add more chicken soup if needed.
  8. When holes form on the surface of the rice, cook for a further 6-10 minutes keeping the lid on the pan.
  9. Test the rice to see if it is cooked, it should be soft and fluffy and have a wonderful chicken ginger taste
Chicken rice rice



Chicken Breast

  1. Rub the chicken breast with salt, and set aside for 3-4 minutes then rinse and pat dry with a paper towel
  2. Cut the chicken breast in half along its length (not its width), so you have two thinner pieces (this ensures that they’ll cook through fully when being steamed)
  3. Combine Light soy sauce (use good quality soy such as Kikkoman and avoid harsh artificial soy), ½ tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil and 6 tsp of the chicken soup in a bowl and mix
  4. When you put the rice on to cook, place 4 slices of ginger under each piece of chicken breast and place them in a steamer. Steam for 15-18 minutes
  5. Once the chicken breasts a cooked through (check using a knife and fork), coat both pieces using a pastry brush with the soy mixture.
  6. Place rice on the plate with the sliced chicken on top of the rice, if you want, garnish with a piece of cucumber and spring onion.
Chicken rice brushing the breast






Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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