Boiled chicken and rice sounds a little bland doesn’t it? Not this one!! Khao man gai food stands are a very common sight on the streets of thailand. If you don’t know how to ask for it in Thai, just point. They’ll almost definitely follow up your request with a question as to whether you’d like skin or not. Just nod yes or no, and go sit and wait for this heavenly dish to arrive.

If you follow the recipe below, you’ll find that the sauce is a lot hotter than what you’ll be served on the streets of Thailand. If you’d prefer something a little tamer just use less chillies. The quantities of ingredients for the sauce are, as is often the case, very approximate. Let your tongue do the work for you: taste it and adjust.

It’s a tricky dish to find outside of Thailand, so the best thing to do is just make it yourself.

This will serve 2 or 3.


1 onion

2 small bay leaves

medium sized chicken

1 tablespoon white pepper corns

1 tablespoon black pepper corns

1 teaspoon coriander root

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

quarter cup ginger roughly cut

half cup plain rice

half cup sticky rice

2 cloves of garlic

quarter teaspoon curry powder

pinch of turmeric

pinch of ground coriander

half a cucumber, sliced

a few sprigs of fresh coriander

Ingredients for sauce:

3 to 1 ratio of Ginger to garlic (about 4 cloves of garlic and 3 times as much ginger), chopped very finely

handful of red and green chillies (about 15), chopped very finely

distilled white vinegar

fermented yellow bean paste

sweet dark soy sauce

Method (Chicken):

1. Soak sticky rice for at least one hour before it’s needed.

2. Peel the onion and cut in half. Place in large pot with the bay leaves, whole chicken, peppercorns, coriander root and seeds, ginger, handful of fresh coriander (stem and all), and a pinch of salt.

3. Add enough water to the pot to very nearly cover the chicken.

4. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, skim the scum off the top and discard. Partially cover with lid and simmer for 30 mins.

5. Whilst the chicken is cooking, make the rice and the sauce (see below).

6. Fish the chicken out with tongs and leave it to rest for 5 mins.

7. Cut the breasts off and slice as in the picture.

Method (Rice):

1. Drain sticky rice.

2. Mix with plain rice.

3. Skim oily layer from the liquid in the pot, measuring out about 1.25 cups of it. Add to the rice in a saucepan.

4. To the rice add a pinch of salt, 2 cloves of garlic (whole), quarter of a teaspoon of curry powder, pinch of turmeric powder, pinch of ground coriander.

5. Bring to the boil. As soon as it boils, turn it down to the lowest heat, cover with a lid and cook for 15 mins.

6. Leave it to rest for a few mins.

Method (Sauce):

1. Chop Ginger, garlic and chillies very finely and mix together. Place in bowl.

2. Pour in about half a cup of vinegar.

3. Add 1 – 1.5 tablespoons yellow bean paste. Mix.

4. Lastly add about 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce.

5. Taste it. It should be hot, a little salty, a little sweet and not too sharp. Adjust if necessary.

Finally, serve the chicken with the rice, a small (or big!!) dish of the sauce, and sliced cucumber. The finishing touch is to ladle out some of the stock from the pot, add just a couple of drops of fish sauce and garnish with a sprig of coriander and/or chopped spring onions. Serve this alongside everything else.


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