Chilli Sauce (for Hainanese Chicken Rice)


I made Hainanese chicken rice last week thanks to a desperate craving. The dish is a stalwart and staple of the average food centre or hawker’s market in Singapore or West Malaysia, but practically impossible to find in North America.

Although I have discovered Penang, a restaurant chain that serves up authentic Southeast Asian Peranakan Malay and Chinese cuisine, there’s still a ten-mile gap between the place and I, via a horrendous highway. It’s only so often that I risk life and limb for a culinary yearning.

From my experience making it recently, I say with confidence that despite the simplicity of its appearance, Hainanese chicken rice is not the quickest of things to prepare in its entirety – comprising a voluptuous chicken soup, stock-infused rice, boiled yet flavoursome and tender chicken and accompanied by a gingery-chilli sauce. May not sound like much but the children and I regularly get a hankering for the stuff. Mr Diva Indoors enjoys the dish a tad less enthusiastically, as the chicken (necessarily) includes its bones.

This entry, unfortunately, isn’t about the chicken rice itself – a testament to how quickly the dish disappeared once I’d made it (greedy me and the kids!). With the relatively early dusks of late winter/early spring, it’s also been tricky photographing food in general in natural light as I am a determined low-tech photographer.

So, for now, here’s the yummy condiment. The rice will have to wait for another time!

  • long, red chillies, fresh, about 8-10 (see photo)
  • ginger, 1 1/2 inches worth
  • garlic, about 5 cloves
  • rice vinegar, as needed, approx. 1/4 cup
  • sesame oil, 1 tsp
  • lime juice, about 1 tbsp
  • salt, 2 tsp
  • sugar, 1 tsp
  • chicken soup, boiling – a few tbsp

  1. Prepare the chillies, de-stem and chop roughly
  2. Skin the ginger and chop, same as the garlic
  3. Place chillies, ginger, garlic, lime juice, salt, sugar, vinegar in small food processor and blitz to a vivid, red sauce, with no chunky bits
  4. Add sesame oil and whizz again. Add a bit of the chicken soup (boiling hot)
  5. As Gordon Ramsay commands, ‘Taste, and taste again!’ The final result should be hot but not overpowering, tangy and gingery
  6. Steam a clean jam jar to sterilize it and bottle the sauce
  7. Should keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I use it as a condiment to pep up dishes, including turkey sandwiches 😀

(All text and photos or images are copyright protected. Please do not reprint any stories, recipes or photographs without the author’s permission.)

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March 23, 2009. Tags: , . Asian, Condiments and Sauces.

7 Comments

  1. Chicken Soup With Asian Twist and Matzo Balls (Plus Bonus Chinese Rice Dish) « Diva Indoors: Food, with love replied:

    […] the side, instead of my traditional-style Hainanese chicken rice red chilli sauce (I was clean out of red chillis), I made one with about 5 long, green chillis, 3 cloves garlic, […]

  2. Sue replied:

    Wanted to say how awesome this recipe was for our family dinner tonight! 🙂 awesome sauce and so easy..! Used lemon instead of lime. Thank you!!!!

    • divaindoors replied:

      So glad you liked it! I love it because it’s HOT and fragrant 🙂

  3. Red Rice Recipe | DG Recipes replied:

    […] Photo Credit […]

    • divaindoors replied:

      Hi, I see you’ve used my photo from the Hainanese chilli sauce recipe without my permission. My blog specifically states that all copy and photos are copyrighted material. Please take it down? While you have a tag there saying Photo Credit, it appears to imply all those photos are yours, when they are not. When seeking to use someone else’s photo, the practise is, as I state in my own blog, to ask permission BEFORE using the photo and to credit it visibly to the proper content owner — in this case, me. Thanks.

  4. Kim replied:

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe, we recently moved back to Canada after 30 years in Singapore. Chicken rice is one of the foods we miss the most that I haven’t made. Now that I have what looks like great recipe for the chilli sauce I’m good to go. Thanks!

    • divaindoors replied:

      You’re most welcome, Kim! And how funny, I was in Singapore about 20 years and we lived in Canada for a while too. Best of luck settling back in! Let me know how the chicken rice turns out. I’m planning to make it again myself 😉

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