Aromatic Chicken Rice Recipe from Malaysia

Aromatic Chicken Rice

Aromatic Chicken Rice Recipe from Malaysia
Region / culture: Malaysia | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Aromatic Chicken Rice
Aromatic Chicken Rice

Aromatic Chicken Rice is a beloved dish that combines the rich flavors of spices, tender chicken, and fragrant rice. This recipe is a celebration of taste and aroma, bringing together ingredients that are staple in many cuisines but are combined uniquely here. Perfect for family dinners or special occasions, this dish is not just a meal but an experience that engages all the senses.


The origins of Aromatic Chicken Rice can be traced back to various cultures, each adding their own twist to the recipe. It is most commonly associated with Southeast Asian cuisine, where rice is a staple food and spices are used abundantly to flavor dishes. Over the years, this recipe has traveled across continents, evolving with each rendition but always retaining its core elements: chicken, rice, and a rich blend of spices.


Rice and Chicken

Chilli Sauce

How to prepare

  1. Cook the chicken in water with screwpine leaves and salt for 20 to 30 minutes (be careful not to overcook).
  2. Remove the chicken, but keep the stock for the rice.
  3. In a saucepan, fry the garlic and ginger in hot oil until they turn golden and fragrant.
  4. Add the rice, cloves, and cinnamon stick, and fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the screwpine leaves and pour in enough chicken stock to cook the rice.
  6. Put the ginger, red chillies, and garlic in a food processor and grind them.
  7. Add vinegar, soy sauce (or salt), and sugar according to your taste.
  8. Squeeze a little lime before serving.
  9. You should have a hot, sweet, and sour sauce.
  10. Serve the rice with the chicken pieces garnished with sliced cucumber and chillie sauce.


  • There are numerous ways to tweak the Aromatic Chicken Rice recipe to suit different tastes:
  • Substitute the chicken with tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian version.
  • Add vegetables like carrots, peas, or bell peppers to the rice for added nutrition and color.
  • Use brown rice instead of white for a whole grain option.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Aromatic Chicken Rice is as flavorful as possible, consider these tips:

- Use fresh spices and herbs for the best aroma and taste.

- Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear to remove excess starch, which helps in getting fluffier rice.

- Marinate the chicken for at least an hour, or overnight if possible, to deepen the flavors.

- Use the chicken stock to cook the rice, as it infuses the rice with rich flavors and nutrients.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Aromatic Chicken Rice with a side of sliced cucumbers and a dollop of the homemade chilli sauce for a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the dish. A clear soup can also accompany it for a more fulfilling meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in making Aromatic Chicken Rice include boiling, sautéing, and steaming. Boiling the chicken ensures it's thoroughly cooked and tender, while sautéing the spices and rice enhances their flavors. Steaming the rice in chicken stock infuses it with a rich taste and aroma.

Ingredient Substitutions

If some ingredients are not readily available, consider these substitutions:

- Lemongrass can replace screwpine leaves for a similar citrusy aroma.

- Apple cider vinegar can be used instead of regular vinegar for the chilli sauce.

- Any long-grain rice can be used if specific varieties are not available.

Make Ahead Tips

To save time, the chicken can be boiled and the chilli sauce prepared in advance. Both can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Simply reheat the chicken and cook the rice before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Aromatic Chicken Rice on a large platter, garnished with fresh cilantro, slices of lime, and a sprinkle of fried shallots for added texture and flavor. The vibrant colors and aromatic presentation will entice everyone at the table.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine or a refreshing iced tea pairs wonderfully with the rich flavors of Aromatic Chicken Rice. For a non-alcoholic option, a cucumber or lime-infused water complements the dish's spices.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, sprinkle some water over the rice to prevent it from drying out, and use a microwave or stovetop until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Aromatic Chicken Rice can contain approximately 350-500 calories, making it a hearty meal option. The exact calorie count can vary based on the ingredients and portion sizes.


A serving of Aromatic Chicken Rice is rich in carbohydrates, primarily from the rice, providing the energy needed for daily activities. The exact carbohydrate content can vary depending on the type of rice used, but on average, a serving could contain approximately 45-60 grams of carbohydrates.


The fat content in Aromatic Chicken Rice mainly comes from the chicken and any oil used in cooking. Opting for lean parts of the chicken like breast can reduce the fat content, while using minimal oil for cooking can also help. On average, a serving might contain about 10-15 grams of fat.


Chicken is an excellent source of high-quality protein, which is crucial for muscle repair and growth. A serving of Aromatic Chicken Rice can provide about 20-30 grams of protein, making it a satisfying and nutritious meal option.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is also a good source of various vitamins and minerals, particularly from the chicken, rice, and spices used. These include B vitamins from the chicken, iron from the rice, and antioxidants from the spices, contributing to overall health and well-being.


Common allergens in this recipe include garlic and ginger for those with specific food sensitivities. However, it is generally free from major allergens like nuts, dairy, and gluten, making it suitable for many dietary preferences.


Overall, Aromatic Chicken Rice is a balanced meal offering carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a nutritious option that doesn't compromise on flavor.


Aromatic Chicken Rice is a versatile and flavorful dish that combines tender chicken, fragrant rice, and a blend of spices for a truly satisfying meal. With its rich history and nutritional benefits, it's a perfect choice for anyone looking to explore the depths of culinary traditions while maintaining a balanced diet. Whether enjoyed on a busy weeknight or served at a gathering, this dish is sure to delight all who taste it.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was captivated by its simplicity. Aromatic Chicken Rice. The name itself conjured up images of fragrant spices and tender chicken, all nestled in a bed of fluffy rice. I knew I had to learn how to make it.

I first encountered this dish at a bustling market in Singapore. The air was filled with the scent of exotic spices and sizzling meats, and my stomach rumbled in anticipation. As I wandered through the stalls, I came across a small food cart with a line of eager customers snaking around it. Intrigued, I joined the queue and soon found myself face to face with the most delicious-looking plate of chicken rice I had ever seen.

The vendor, a kindly old woman with a twinkle in her eye, noticed my interest and beckoned me forward. "Would you like to try some?" she asked, gesturing towards the steaming mound of rice and juicy chicken. I nodded eagerly, and she proceeded to serve me a generous portion, garnished with fresh herbs and a drizzle of fragrant sauce.

I took my first bite and was immediately transported to food heaven. The flavors were unlike anything I had ever tasted before – a perfect balance of savory, sweet, and spicy. I knew then and there that I had to learn how to recreate this dish in my own kitchen.

I struck up a conversation with the vendor, whose name was Mrs. Tan, and she graciously agreed to teach me her recipe. Over the course of several weeks, I visited her stall regularly, watching as she expertly seasoned the chicken, cooked the rice to perfection, and ladled out the fragrant broth that tied it all together.

Mrs. Tan's secret, she told me, lay in the quality of her ingredients. She sourced her chicken from a local farm, where the birds were allowed to roam freely and fed a diet of organic grains. The rice came from a small village in Thailand, renowned for its aromatic fragrance and fluffy texture. And the spices – a blend of ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and chili – were ground fresh each morning in Mrs. Tan's kitchen.

I took notes diligently, scribbling down every step and measurement as Mrs. Tan guided me through the process. She showed me how to marinate the chicken in a fragrant paste of garlic and ginger, how to cook the rice with a handful of pandan leaves for extra aroma, and how to simmer the broth until it was rich and flavorful.

After weeks of practice, I finally felt confident enough to try making Aromatic Chicken Rice on my own. I gathered all the ingredients, took a deep breath, and began to cook. The kitchen filled with the warm, inviting scents of ginger and lemongrass as I followed Mrs. Tan's instructions to the letter.

When the dish was finally ready, I plated it up with a flourish, just as Mrs. Tan had done. The chicken was tender and juicy, the rice perfectly cooked, and the broth fragrant and flavorful. I took a bite, closing my eyes in bliss as the familiar flavors danced on my tongue.

I knew then that I had mastered Mrs. Tan's recipe for Aromatic Chicken Rice. But more than that, I had gained a deeper appreciation for the art of cooking – for the way that a handful of simple ingredients could come together to create something truly magical.

From that day on, Aromatic Chicken Rice became a staple in my kitchen. I would cook it for family and friends, always with a twinkle in my eye as I shared the story of how I had learned to make it. And though Mrs. Tan has long since retired from her food cart, her recipe lives on in my heart – a testament to the power of good food and the joy of sharing it with others.


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