Thai Khao Man Gai

Thai Khao Man Gai

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 4 to 5 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
516 Calories
19g Fat
42g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 516
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 122mg 41%
Sodium 2783mg 121%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 20mg 98%
Calcium 111mg 9%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 613mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

You can find many versions of Khao Man Gai in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. This dish has made some street food stalls in Asia gain Michelin stars. Each stall has its own signature sauce or secret way of cooking its chicken.

The Thai version of Khao Man Gai calls for lean and tasty chicken meat, clear soup with winter melon, and a pungent chili sauce made with fermented soybeans. This dish is flavored with glorious and tasty chicken fat, which gives the rice its buttery texture and its name (Khao Man Gai means chicken-fat rice in Thai). If you don't want to use chicken oil, you can substitute for vegetable oil, but you will be missing the true flavors of this dish!

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken, giblets and neck removed

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

  • 2 cilantro roots

For the Rice:

  • 1/4 cup chopped Thai garlic

  • 1 pound Thai jasmine rice

  • 1 tablespoon salt

For the Soup:

  • 3 cups cubed winter melon

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 5 sprigs cilantro

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sliced ginger

  • 1/4 cup garlic

  • 5 to 10 Thai bird's eye chiles

  • 1 cilantro root

  • 2 tablespoons fermented soybean sauce

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • Cucumber, sliced on a bias, for garnish

  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Thai dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparing and cooking.

For the Chicken

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai Khao Man Gai ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Remove the chicken skin and set aside to make chicken oil later.

    Remove the chicken skin

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. In a large pot, add the chicken and cover with enough water so that the chicken is completely submerged. Add the salt and coriander roots into the water. Bring your pot to high heat.

    whole chicken boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Once the water is boiling, reduce to low heat. Cook the chicken for 30 to 40 minutes.

    chicken cooking in a pot of water

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. Check to see if your chicken is cooked, and remove it from the broth to cool on the side.

    boiled whole chicken on a plate

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

For the Rice

  1. Bring a small pan to medium heat and add the chicken skin.

    chicken skin in a skillet

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Cook the chicken skin until all the oil is released. Cook for 10 minutes and remove the chicken skin. Turn the heat on low.

    chicken skin cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Add the chopped garlic to the hot oil, and let it fry in the pan. Continually stir the garlic so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes.

    garlic cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Once the garlic is a golden brown, put it in a bowl along with the chicken oil it cooked in.

    garlic and chicken oil in a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. In an medium sized pot, rinse your rice with water until the water is clear. Drain the water from the rice.

    rice in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  6. Add the fried garlic and chicken oil to the rice and mix well.

    fried garlic and chicken oil added to the pot with rice

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  7. Pour in chicken broth reserved from making the chicken until it covers the rice. You can measure if you have enough broth by putting your index finger to touch the top of the rice. The broth should reach your first joint line on your finger.

    add broth to the rice mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  8. Add salt to taste and mix into the rice.

    rice cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  9. When the rice comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with the lid.

    rice cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  10. Cook for 20 minutes and check on your rice. When the rice is finished cooking, open the cover and fluff it up with a fork.

    cooke rice in a pot, fluffed in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

For the Soup

  1. Peel the winter melon and remove the seeds. Cut the winter melon into 2-inch pieces.

    Peel the winter melon and remove the seeds, cut into pieces

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Bring your chicken broth to a boil and add the winter melon.

    Bring your chicken broth to a boil and add the winter melon

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    winter melon cooking in a pot, seasoned in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Cook the winter melon for 15 minutes until soft.

    winter melon cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. Turn off the heat and add the chopped cilantro.

    chopped cilantro added to the winter melon mixture

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

For the Sauce

  1. Put the ginger, garlic, chile, and cilantro root into a blender and pulse until they are roughly chopped.

    Put the ginger, garlic, chile, and cilantro root into a blender

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Add the fermented soybean sauce, white vinegar, sugar, dark soy sauce, and chicken broth into the mixture. Blend together, and keep little chunks for texture.

    Add the fermented soybean sauce, white vinegar, sugar, dark soy sauce, and chicken broth into the mixture

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

For Serving

  1. Using a small soup bowl, fill it with the cooked rice, pat it down, then flip it over onto a plate to create a nice round mound of rice.

    rice on a plate

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Next, using a carving knife or a chef's knife, carve the cooked chicken; slicing the breast meat.

    boiled and carved on a plate

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Place the sliced breast meat on top of the rice mound, garnishing it with sliced cucumber and cilantro. Serve with a small bowl of the soup and another small dish filled with the sauce.

    Thai Khao Man Gai, Place the sliced breast meat on top of the rice mound, garnishing it with sliced cucumber and cilantro

    The Spruce / Christine Ma