Garlic Ginger-poached Chicken and Garlic Rice

| February 22, 2011 | 0 Comments

As far as American fare goes, chicken is one of those old stand-bys. Roasted, grilled or battered and fried, it has attained a comfort food status in most American households.

In the Far East, chicken also has the coveted comfort-food status on many family tables. I remember the first time I was served ginger-poached chicken at a Chinese restaurant in Singapore when I was a child. The chicken was poached and then cooled before the bird was cut up and placed on a platter with sliced pickled ginger and sliced scallions on the side, and some light soy sauce to dip it in.

It was simple but delicious, with the delicately sweet flavor of the chicken just slightly tangy with the infused flavor of the ginger it had been poached with. And serving the chicken cool meant that its flesh and skin had a wonderful supple texture. I hardly ever needed the soy sauce because I enjoyed the flavor of the chicken so much.

In Thailand, there’s a similar method of preparing chicken, although it’s poached in water with several cloves of garlic that have been crushed so they release their flavor and aroma and infuse the chicken with it. And instead of plain soy sauce, the Thais serve it with a zingy combination of crushed garlic, salted soybeans, soy sauce, ground chilies and vinegar. Called Kao Mun Gai, it’s delicious and ubiquitous. You find it served almost everywhere. Mom has served this dish for our family for many years. Her added touch is to serve the chicken with white rice that has been cooked in the broth as well as the crushed garlic left over from poaching the chicken. Charles was so taken with the sauce Mom served with this dish that he finally hounded her into letting him observe her making it so he could document the ingredients, quantity and method. Thanks to Charles, I now have the family recipe.

Whenever I make this dish, I combine the traditional Thai method with the Chinese, poaching the chicken with both garlic as well as sliced ginger. It makes for a wonderful combination.

Garlic ginger-poached chicken and garlic rice make a simple and tasty meal.

Garlic Ginger-poached Chicken and Garlic Rice

Serves 4


  1. 1 whole chicken, rinsed, discard neck, giblets, heart and liver
  2. 15 cloves garlic (10 for chicken, 5 for sauce)
  3. 5 peppercorns
  4. A 2- to 3-inch (5-7.6 cm.) piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
  5. 3-4 cups (720-960 ml.) white jasmine rice
  6. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) ginger, peeled and chopped (for sauce)
  7. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) salted soy beans
  8. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) sweet black soy sauce
  9. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) Kikkoman soy sauce
  10. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) apple cider vinegar
  11. ½ tablespoon (7.5 ml.)  sambal olek (ground chilies and garlic)
  12. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) finely chopped cilantro
  13. 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into round slices


  • Place chicken in large stock pot and cover with enough water to completely submerge chicken.
  • Take 10 garlic cloves and mash them slightly with a cleaver or pestle so that the skin breaks and add to the pot, along with peppercorns and the ginger slices.
  • Set flame on high until the water starts to boil and then turn to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Check temperature of chicken in the breast to make sure it has reached 160 °F. Simmer longer if needed until breast reaches 160 °F. Remove chicken from pot and set aside on a platter to cool.
  • Follow instructions on your automatic rice cooker for the amount of rice you want to cook, but instead of using water, use broth that the chicken was poached in and add the 10 cloves of garlic from the broth.
  • Make dipping sauce by pounding the remaining 5 cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger in a mortar and pestle until pasty. Add soybeans and pound some more until the soybeans are broken into pieces. Add sweet black soy sauce, Kikkoman soy sauce, vinegar, sambal olek and mix well and transfer to a small bowl. Top with chopped cilantro.
  • When the rice is cooked, slice chicken and arrange on a serving platter along with sliced cucumbers and serve with sauce on the side.


— Vic


Category: Chicken, Poultry, Thai

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

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