Hoi An Chicken Rice (Com Ga Hoi An) is a must-try dish when you visit Hoi An (Quang Nam Province), a UNESCO Heritage Site in the Middle of Vietnam. What makes it special? Hoi An Chicken Rice combines chicken salads, rice cooked with chicken broth and special Hoi An Chili Sauce. Each grain of rice has a bright yellow color from curcumin, making Hoi An Chicken Rice a vibrant, colorful and luscious dish.

Hoi An Chicken Rice

The Origin of Hoi An Chicken Rice

Hoi An Chicken Rice is believed to have been served since around the 1950s. Tam Ky region (including Hoi An Town) is famous for its delicious chicken meat, so it’s possible that this dish originated from there. Later, Hoi An’s residences combined on the delicious chicken meat from Tam Ky and the fragrant, sticky rice grown along the Thu Bon River to create this special chicken rice. From a popular dish sold in street vendors in Hoi An, nowadays, Hoi An Chicken Rice becomes a symbol of Vietnamese cuisine, which is enjoyed by almost tourists visiting this small ancient town.

Ingredients

If you are living in Vietnam, the ingredients for this dish are usually easy to find. Buy a Vietnamese chicken (gà ta), a type of Vietnamese rice (for example jasmine rice, ST 25, Tam Xoan, Nang Xuan, etc.), green papaya, carrot, white onion, and Hoi An Chili Sauce, you can totally make a dish of Hoi An Chicken Rice at home.

However, in case you are living abroad, we can only find similar ingredients. You’ll need: a whole chicken or chicken thighs (organic chicken is better), jasmine rice from Vietnam or Thailand, and available vegetables (usually carrot, white onion, and cabbage). Hoi An Chili Sauce is a should-have condiment, you can try making it as well (recipe here), otherwise replace with chili hot sauce.

Also prepare curcumin powder, it’s the key for bright, attractive yellow color of cooked rice and chicken. To enhance the flavor of salads, also grasp fish sauce, lemon, sugar, roasted peanuts and fried shallots.

Hoi An Chicken Rice

Making Hoi An Chicken Rice

From my experience, total time required to make this dish is around 45 minutes or a bit more. To save time, I recommend preparing roasted peanuts and fried shallots in advance. I usually buy them from supermarket and have them ready to use anytime.

Step 1. Boiling Chicken and Preparing Vegetables

  • Boiling Chicken. Before doing anything, start with cooking the chicken because it will take time the most. Apply a pinch of curcumin powder and 1 tsp of salt on chicken’s skin evenly using your hand. Then, add it into a pot of water and start to heat up on high heat. Once the water boils, reduce to low heat and continue to boil in 5-7 minutes more, then turn off the heat but still leave the chicken in the pot for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cutting vegetables. While waiting for the chicken to be cooked, you should start cutting vegetables for the salad. Slice white/sweet onions really thinly (refer to my guide on how to cut an onion) and soak them in cold water immediately to reduce the pungency. Julienne carrots, wash then add a tsp of sugar in and let them rest. With green papaya (if any), after julienning it, rinse papaya strips with salty water 3-4 times to remove the bitterness of green papaya as well as to keep them crispy.
Hoi An Chicken Rice

Step 2. Cooking Rice

  • To save time, when the chicken pot starts to boil, take several cups of chicken broth to cook the rice. Rinse the rice in the inner pot of your rice cooker/instant pot with water 1-2 times, drain out then add yellow chicken broth to the pot. The amount of chicken broth is the same with normal amount water to cook jasmine rice (one knuckle above the rice)

Step 3. Making Chicken Salad

  • Shredding the chicken. You can shred the whole boiled chicken or shred a half and chop a half.
  • Making dressing sauce with fish sauce. Crush the garlic and chili with sugar using a mortar and pestle to extract the juice and the aroma. Next, mix fish sauce with warm water: for every one part of water, use two parts of fish sauce. Then, add lime/lemon juice and stir everything together. Adjust the flavor based on your taste.
  • Mixing altogether. Mix shredded chicken, vegetables, and dressing sauce evenly.
Hoi An Chicken Rice

Step 4. Serving

  • Starting with Rice. Scoop cooked rice into a small bowl and gently press it with a rice paddle. Then, flip the bowl over onto a large plate to get a beautiful spherical shape.
Hoi An Chicken Rice
  • Adding Chicken Salad. Place chicken salad around the rice. Garnish it with prepared fried shallots, roasted peanuts, and herbs like chopped spring onion and cilantro.
  • Serving with a small cup of Hoi An Chili Sauce and chicken broth. Garnish chicken broth with chopped spring onions.

Storing Hoi An Chicken Rice

Like many other salad dishes, you should serve the dish immediately for the best texture and freshness.

In case you can’t eat it immediately, store the dressing sauce, vegetables, chicken and rice separately to extend their shelf lives. Each separate ingredients can last up to 3 days (with chicken and rice), 4-5 days (with vegetables). When you’re ready to eat, mix the salad, set the dish an enjoy. However, I highly recommend enjoying it within a day for the best flavor.

Hoi An Chicken Rice

Hoi An Chicken Rice Recipe

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Hoi An Chicken Rice combines chicken salads, bright yellow rice cooked with chicken broth with curcumin, and special Hoi An Chili Sauce.

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 white/sweet onions (~200g, 7oz)
  • 2 carrots (~200g, 7oz)
  • 200g (7oz) pointed cabbage (optional)
  • 1 green papaya (optional) (~200g, 7oz)
  • Salt and sugar to wash and season vegetables
  • A handful of roasted peanuts
  • A handful of fried shallots
  • A handful of chopped cilantro and spring onions

Dressing Sauce for Salad

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime/lemon juice

Instructions

Step 1. Boiling Chicken and Preparing Vegetables

  • Boiling Chicken. Before doing anything, start with cooking the chicken because it will take time the most. Apply a pinch of curcumin powder and 1 tsp of salt on chicken’s skin evenly using your hand. Then, add it into a pot of water and start to heat up on high heat. Once the water boils, reduce to low heat and continue to boil in 5-7 minutes more, then turn off the heat but still leave the chicken in the pot for 15-20 minutes.Hoi An Chicken Rice
  • Cutting vegetables. While waiting for the chicken to be cooked, you should start cutting vegetables for the salad. Slice white/sweet onions really thinly (refer to my guide on how to cut an onion) and soak them in cold water immediately to reduce the pungency. Julienne carrots, wash then add a tsp of sugar in and let them rest. With green papaya (if any), after julienning it, rinse papaya strips with salty water 3-4 times to remove the bitterness of green papaya as well as to keep them crispy.Hoi An Chicken Rice

Step 2. Cooking Rice

  • To save time, when the chicken pot starts to boil, take several cups of chicken broth to cook the rice. Rinse the rice in the inner pot of your rice cooker/instant pot with water 1-2 times, drain out then add yellow chicken broth to the pot. The amount of chicken broth is the same with normal amount water to cook jasmine rice (one knuckle above the rice)Hoi An Chicken Rice

Step 3. Making Chicken Salad

  • Shredding the chicken. You can shred the whole boiled chicken or shred a half and chop a half.Hoi An Chicken Rice
  • Making dressing sauce with fish sauce. Crush the garlic and chili with sugar using a mortar and pestle to extract the juice and the aroma. Next, mix fish sauce with warm water: for every one part of water, use two parts of fish sauce. Then, add lime/lemon juice and stir everything together. Adjust the flavor based on your taste.pig ear salad
  • Mixing altogether. Mix shredded chicken, vegetables, and dressing sauce evenly.Hoi An Chicken Rice

Step 4. Serving

  • Starting with Rice. Scoop cooked rice into a small bowl and gently press it with a rice paddle. Then, flip the bowl over onto a large plate to get a beautiful spherical shape.Hoi An Chicken Rice
  • Adding Chicken Salad. Place chicken salad around the rice. Garnish it with prepared fried shallots, roasted peanuts, and herbs like chopped spring onion and cilantro.Hoi An Chicken Rice
  • Serving with a small cup of Hoi An Chili Sauce and chicken broth. Garnish chicken broth with chopped spring onions.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 400g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 525

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