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Xi’an Spiced Chicken with Fragrant Rice

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20 min

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90 min



Fresh Chicken
about 1kg
For Rice
400 g
Unsalted Butter
40 g
peeled and sliced into coins
40 g
Pandan Leaves
tied into a knot
For Ginger Scallion Sauce
peeled and finely minced
40 g
Spring Onion
finely chopped
140 g
White Onions
finely minced
40 g
Cooking Oil
225 ml
Rice Vinegar
to taste
to taste
to taste
Prepare Chilli Sauce
Red Chillies
20 ml
Rice Vinegar
to taste
Fish Sauce
to taste
to taste
to taste
For Xi'an Dry Spice Mix
Cumin Seeds
100 g
Coriander Seeds
50 g
Fennel Seeds
50 g
Szechuan Peppercorns
25 g

How to cook

Debone chicken

  • Debone whole chicken to yield 2 thighs with its skin on and reserve the remaining chicken fat.

Prepare rice

  • Measure rice and rinse it 3-4 times, draining all the water in between washes.
  • Heat up oil, followed by chicken fat in the pan.
  • Saute over low heat until the chicken fat releases its oils, then increase heat to medium till the fat turns light brown in colour.
  • Add unsalted butter to the pan and heat until it is light brown in colour with a fragrant and nutty smell (“beurre noisette” in French).
  • Add in old ginger, chopped spring onions, chopped white onions, pandan leaves and garlic cloves into the pan and coat thoroughly with the oil-butter mixture.
  • Heat mixture over low heat until onions are softened and garlic releases its aroma.
  • Pour the pan’s contents and drained the rice into a rice cooker. You could pour some water into the pan and reheat it to “deglaze” so you can collect all the tasty brown bits.
  • Pour the “deglazed” pan liquid into the rice cooker and top up with water to the correct level before cooking it according to the rice cooker’s instructions.

Prepare ginger scallion sauce

  • Add all ingredients except the salt, sugar and rice vinegar to a blender. Blend it all finely before transferring the mixture to a heatproof bowl.
  • Heat up the rapeseed oil in a pan until it has just reached the smoking point.
  • Pour the heated rapeseed oil into a bowl with the blended ingredients. Be careful of oil splatter wear an apron and keep it at arm’s length.
  • Allow cooling before tasting and adjust the flavours accordingly with salt, sugar and rice vinegar.

Prepare chilli sauce

  • Wash and remove the green tips of the chilli before roughly chopping them up.
  • Remove the seeds of the chilli to dial down the heat if you need.
  • Add all the ingredients into a blender. Blend and adjust the taste accordingly.

Prepare Xi’an dry spice mix

  • Toast all of the spices separately and lightly until they release their aromas.
  • Grind all the spices together.

Prepare chicken thighs

  • Pat the chicken thighs dry and season both sides with the Xi’an dry spice mixture.
  • Fill a deeper pan with rapeseed oil and on low-medium heat, add the chicken thighs skin-side down.
  • Use the bottom of a clean and heavy pot to press down on the chicken thighs, ensuring that the skin is flat and shallow-fried until crispy for about 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Once the skin is crispy, flip the chicken and cook on the other side for another 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Add unsalted butter to the pan.
  • Once the butter turns light brown and starts foaming, tilt the pan towards you and start spooning the butter continuously over the chicken.
  • Remove and let cool on a drying rack, skin side up once it is cooked. This will prevent condensation and allow the skin to remain crispy.
  • Pat dry with kitchen towels to remove excess oil and season with more of the Xi’an dry spice mixture and salt.

Assemble & serve

  • Remove aromatics such as the pandan leaf, crushed garlic and ginger slices once the fragrant rice is cooked.
  • Fluff the rice with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Scoop the rice into a bowl.
  • Slice the chicken thighs into strips and serve with the chilli and ginger scallion sauce on the side.
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