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Khao Man Gai Recipe (Thai Chicken Rice)

Khao Man Gai Recipe (Thai Chicken Rice)

Explore the rich Thai street food culture and culinary traditions surrounding Khao Man Gai Recipe, as well as its influence on other cuisines.

Discover innovative variations that have emerged from this beloved dish.

History of Khao Man Gai

It is believed to have originated in Hainan, China, and was brought to Thailand by Chinese immigrants. Khao Man Gai quickly gained popularity among locals and became an integral part of Thai cuisine. Over time, it has evolved into various regional variations across the country.

The simplicity of this dish lies in its preparation – boiled chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth, accompanied by a delectable sauce made from ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and other secret ingredients.

Today, Khao Man Gai is not just a popular street food but also a staple in many Thai restaurants worldwide, representing the harmonious blend of Chinese and Thai culinary traditions.

Regional Variations of Khao Man Gai Recipe

Explore the unique regional twists on this popular dish, with variations in preparation and flavors found across different areas.

When it comes to Khao Man Gai Recipe, each region has its own take on this beloved Thai dish. In Bangkok, you’ll find a classic version of Khao Man Gai, where tender boiled chicken is served over fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth. The dish is accompanied by a tangy sauce made from fermented soybeans and garlic, adding an extra kick of flavor.

In northern Thailand, they prefer their Khao Man Gai with a twist – the chicken is often deep-fried instead of boiled, giving it a crispy texture. Meanwhile, in southern Thailand, the sauce takes on a spicy twist with the addition of chili peppers and lime juice.

No matter where you go in Thailand, Khao Man Gai is sure to delight your taste buds with its diverse regional variations.

Traditional Khao Man Gai Preparation

In Thailand, the traditional preparation of Khao Man Gai involves boiling tender chicken and cooking fragrant rice in chicken broth. Once the chicken is cooked, it is traditionally cooled in ice water to ensure a juicy and tender texture. Then, it is thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces.

The fragrant rice is cooked in the same chicken broth to infuse it with flavor and aroma. The rice should be fluffy and not sticky, with each grain separated perfectly.

To serve Khao Man Gai, you place a generous portion of the flavorful rice on a plate and top it with slices of succulent chicken. It is common to garnish the dish with fresh cucumber slices, cilantro, and a bowl of tangy ginger sauce for dipping.

This traditional method ensures that every bite of Khao Man Gai is packed with deliciousness!

The Importance of Rice in Khao Man Gai

Rice plays a crucial role in the flavor and texture of Khao Man Gai. It is the foundation of this delicious Thai dish, providing a soft and fluffy base for the tender chicken, aromatic sauce, and fragrant herbs.

When cooked properly, the rice should be slightly sticky but still separate, creating a satisfying bite that complements the other elements perfectly. The type of rice used is important too – jasmine rice is commonly preferred for its delicate aroma and subtle sweetness.

As you take each mouthful, you’ll notice how the rice absorbs all the flavors from the chicken and sauce, enhancing every bite with its mild yet distinctive taste.

The Role of Chicken in Khao Man Gai

When you bite into the tender chicken in Khao Man Gai, the succulent and flavorful meat instantly satisfies your taste buds. The role of chicken in this popular Thai dish is crucial, as it forms the main protein component.

The chicken used in Khao Man Gai is typically poached or boiled until it becomes tender and juicy. This cooking method ensures that the meat retains its natural flavors and remains moist. Once cooked, the chicken is thinly sliced and served atop a bed of fragrant rice, alongside a delicious sauce made from soybeans, garlic, ginger, and other aromatic ingredients.

The combination of tender chicken with the aromatic rice and flavorful sauce creates a harmonious balance that keeps you craving for more with each bite.

Common Garnishes and Condiments for Khao Man Gai

To enhance the flavors of your Khao Man Gai, you can add common garnishes and condiments such as fresh cilantro, sliced cucumbers, and a tangy chili sauce. These simple additions will take your dish to the next level.

The fresh cilantro adds a burst of freshness and herbaceousness that complements the tender chicken and fragrant rice perfectly.

Sliced cucumbers provide a cool and refreshing crunch that balances out the richness of the dish.

And let’s not forget about the tangy chili sauce! This spicy condiment adds a kick of heat and acidity that elevates the overall taste experience. Drizzle it over your Khao Man Gai or dip each bite into it for an explosion of flavor.

How to make Khao Man Gai (Thai Chicken Rice) at home

Khao Man Gai, also known as Thai Chicken Rice, is a delicious and flavorful Thai dish that consists of poached chicken served with aromatic rice and a selection of dipping sauces. Here's a detailed recipe for making Khao Man Gai at home
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese, Thai
Servings 4
Calories 450 kcal


  • Large pot Used to poach the chicken and prepare the chicken broth.
  • Knife Needed for chopping the chicken, mincing garlic and ginger, and preparing the garnishes.
  • Cutting board Provides a clean and safe surface for cutting and chopping ingredients.
  • Large Mixing Spoon or Spatula: Essential for stirring the rice, sautéing aromatics, and mixing the dipping sauce.
  • Strainer or colander Used to strain and separate the chicken broth from the poaching ingredients.
  • Small Bowls: Needed to hold ingredients like minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped cilantro, and chopped green onions.
  • Measuring cups and spoons Necessary for accurately measuring ingredients like rice, broth, sauces, and seasonings.
  • Large Cooking Pot (for Rice): Used to cook the jasmine rice with aromatics and chicken broth.
  • Serving Plates: For presenting the final dish with rice and sliced chicken.
  • Small Dipping Bowls: Required to serve the dipping sauce alongside the chicken and rice.
  • Vegetable peeler If you prefer peeled cucumber slices for garnish.
  • Steamer Basket (Optional): Helpful for reheating leftover chicken while maintaining its tenderness.
  • Tongs Useful for handling the poached chicken and arranging it on the serving plates.
  • Ladle For transferring the chicken broth to the rice pot.
  • Microplane Zester (Optional): Used for grating ginger or garlic finely into the dipping sauce.
  • Rice Cooker (Optional): While not traditional, a rice cooker can simplify the process of cooking the jasmine rice.
  • Mortar and pestle (optional) If you prefer to crush or pound some of the dipping sauce ingredients for a more rustic texture.


For the Chicken:

  • 3-4 lbs whole chicken
  • 4-5 slices of ginger
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 stalks of green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • water, enough to cover the chicken

For the Rice:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 slices of ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp chicken fat or vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth (from poaching the chicken)
  • salt, to taste

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 3-4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro stems, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chicken broth (from poaching the chicken)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the Garnish & Serving:

  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped


Poach the Chicken:

  • In a large pot, add enough water to cover the chicken.
  • Add ginger slices, garlic cloves, green onion stalks, and salt to the water.
  • Bring the water to a boil and gently place the whole chicken into the pot.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the chicken simmer for about 45-60 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. You can check the doneness by inserting a knife into the thickest part of the chicken to ensure clear juices run out.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it rest for a few minutes before chopping it into serving pieces.

Prepare the Rice:

  • Rinse the jasmine rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well.
  • In a large pot, heat the chicken fat or vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add the rinsed rice to the pot and stir to coat the rice with the aromatics and oil.
  • Pour in the chicken broth (from poaching the chicken) and add salt to taste.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and let the rice simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Prepare the Dipping Sauce:

  • In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, oyster sauce, minced ginger, minced garlic, finely chopped cilantro stems, chicken broth, sugar, and sesame oil. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Assemble and Serve:

  • To serve, place a portion of cooked rice on a plate.
  • Top the rice with slices of poached chicken.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and green onions.
  • Serve with the dipping sauce on the side and cucumber slices.


  • Chicken Flavor Enhancements: You can enhance the chicken’s flavor by rubbing the skin with a little salt before poaching. Additionally, you might consider adding a pandan leaf and a stalk of lemongrass to the poaching liquid for a subtle, aromatic touch.
  • Chicken Broth: The chicken broth from poaching the chicken is an essential component of the rice and dipping sauce. Make sure to strain and reserve it properly for these parts of the recipe.
  • Chicken Fat: If you choose to use chicken fat for the rice, you can obtain it by skimming the fat from the surface of the cooled chicken broth.
  • Rice Texture: Achieving perfect rice texture involves the right rice-to-liquid ratio and proper cooking time. Keep the lid on the pot while the rice is simmering to ensure even cooking and avoid peeking, as it can affect the final texture.
  • Dipping Sauce Variations: Feel free to customize the dipping sauce to your preference. You can add a little chopped chili for heat or adjust the sweetness and saltiness to your liking.
  • Garnishes: Fresh cilantro and green onions provide a burst of color and freshness to the dish. You can also serve the dish with slices of lime for an extra citrusy touch.
  • Cucumber Slices: Cucumber slices not only provide a refreshing element but also balance out the flavors. You can also marinate them briefly in a mixture of sugar, vinegar, and salt for a tangy twist.
  • Leftovers: Leftover chicken and rice can be stored separately in the refrigerator. Reheat the chicken by placing it in a steamer to maintain its tenderness. For the rice, you can sprinkle a little water over it and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Experiment with Presentation: While the traditional presentation involves placing the chicken on top of the rice, you can also choose to arrange them side by side for a different aesthetic.
Keyword chicken, Rice, Rice Dish, Thai food

Khao Man Gai and Thai Street Food Culture

Now that you know about the common garnishes and condiments for Khao Man Gai, let’s dive deeper into its connection with Thai street food culture.

When wandering through the bustling streets of Thailand, you’ll often find vendors selling this beloved dish from their vibrant food stalls. The aroma of steamed chicken and fragrant rice fills the air, tempting your taste buds and drawing you in.

Thai street food culture is all about convenience, speed, and delicious flavors – and Khao Man Gai perfectly embodies these qualities. It’s a quick and satisfying meal that locals enjoy on-the-go during busy workdays or as a late-night snack after partying with friends.

Khao Man Gai and Thai Culinary Traditions

If you want to truly experience Thai culinary traditions, exploring the flavors and techniques behind Khao Man Gai is a must.

This popular Thai dish showcases the essence of Thai cuisine, with its simplicity and balance of flavors.

When you delve into the world of Khao Man Gai, you will discover how Thai cooks use their skills to create a harmonious combination of tender poached chicken, fragrant jasmine rice cooked in chicken broth, and a tangy sauce made from fermented soybeans, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and vinegar.

The artistry lies in achieving just the right texture for the chicken and infusing every grain of rice with flavor.

Khao Man Gai’s Influence on Other Cuisines

Khao Man Gai’s popularity has spread to other cuisines, with many restaurants around the world now serving their own versions of this flavorful Thai dish.

When you visit these establishments, you’ll find that each chef puts their own unique twist on the classic recipe. Some may add extra spices or herbs to enhance the flavors, while others may experiment with different cooking techniques. You might even come across fusion dishes that combine elements of Khao Man Gai with other cultural cuisines.

Whether it’s a fancy restaurant or a street food stall, you can now enjoy this delicious dish in various corners of the globe.

Khao Man Gai Variations and Innovations

Restaurants worldwide have taken Khao Man Gai to new culinary heights, infusing unique flavors and experimenting with innovative cooking techniques. When you step into these establishments, you’ll find a plethora of exciting variations on this classic Thai dish. From adding aromatic spices to creating different sauces, chefs are constantly pushing the boundaries of what Khao Man Gai can be.

In some restaurants, you might come across a grilled version of Khao Man Gai, where the chicken is marinated in a tangy sauce and then cooked over an open flame for that perfect smoky flavor. Others might serve a crispy fried variation, with the chicken coated in a crunchy batter before being deep-fried to golden perfection.

And let’s not forget about the creative toppings! Imagine enjoying your Khao Man Gai with pickled vegetables or spicy chili sauce for an extra kick. Some restaurants even offer fusion twists like Korean-style Kimchi Khao Man Gai or Japanese-inspired Miso-Ginger Khao Man Gai.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Khao Man Gai Be Made With Other Types of Meat Instead of Chicken?

Yes, our Khao Man Gai recipe can be made with other types of meat instead of chicken. The dish traditionally uses chicken, but you have the flexibility to substitute it with pork, beef, or even tofu if you prefer.

Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the type of meat you choose. This allows you to explore different flavors and customize your Khao Man Gai to suit your taste preferences.

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing Khao Man Gai?

  • When preparing Khao Man Gai, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid.
  • One mistake is overcooking the chicken, which can make it dry and tough.
  • Another mistake is not properly seasoning the rice and sauce, resulting in bland flavors.
  • Additionally, be careful not to skimp on the garlic and ginger, as they add essential aromatic elements to the dish.
  • Lastly, ensure that you cook the rice just right to achieve its signature fluffy texture.

Is Khao Man Gai Considered a Healthy Dish?

When it comes to khao man gai, you might be wondering if it’s considered a healthy dish. Well, let’s talk about that for a moment.

Khao man gai is typically made with steamed chicken and rice, which are generally nutritious ingredients. However, the overall healthiness of the dish can vary depending on factors such as portion size and cooking methods.

It’s always a good idea to be mindful of your serving sizes and opt for healthier preparation methods like steaming or grilling to keep things on the healthier side.

Are There Any Vegetarian or Vegan Versions of Khao Man Gai?

When it comes to Khao Man Gai, you might be wondering if there are any vegetarian or vegan versions available. Well, the good news is that yes, there are indeed options for those who follow a plant-based diet.

By substituting chicken with tofu or tempeh and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, you can create a delicious vegetarian or vegan version of this popular dish.

How Did Khao Man Gai Become Popular in Thailand?

Khao Man Gai became popular in Thailand due to its delicious flavors and simplicity.

The dish consists of tender, poached chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth. It is then accompanied by a flavorful dipping sauce made from fermented soybeans, ginger, garlic, and chili.

This combination of savory and tangy flavors has captured the hearts of Thai people over time.

Its popularity has spread not only within Thailand but also worldwide, making it a beloved staple for many food lovers.

Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?

Yes, boneless chicken can be used, but using bone-in chicken enhances the flavor of the poaching liquid and results in more tender meat. If using boneless chicken, reduce the poaching time accordingly.

Can I use brown rice instead of jasmine rice?

While jasmine rice is traditional, you can use brown rice. Keep in mind that brown rice requires a longer cooking time and more liquid. Adjust cooking times and liquid accordingly.

Can I substitute the dipping sauce ingredients?

Absolutely! The dipping sauce can be personalized to your taste. Experiment with different combinations of soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings.

How do I reheat leftover chicken and rice?

To reheat chicken, use a steamer to maintain its tenderness. For rice, sprinkle a bit of water over it, cover, and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Can I make this dish in advance?

You can poach the chicken, prepare the rice, and make the dipping sauce in advance. Assemble the dish just before serving to ensure the chicken stays tender and the rice retains its texture.

Is this dish spicy?

The traditional recipe isn’t very spicy, but you can add chopped chili to the dipping sauce if you prefer some heat.

Can I use store-bought chicken broth?

While homemade chicken broth from poaching the chicken is ideal, you can use store-bought broth if needed. Just adjust seasoning as store-bought broth might already be salted.

Can I use store-bought dipping sauce?

Making the dipping sauce from scratch enhances the flavors, but you can use a store-bought sauce as a convenient alternative.

Can I add vegetables to the dish?

While not traditional, you can certainly add blanched or steamed vegetables as a side dish.

Can I use a rice cooker for the rice?

Yes, you can use a rice cooker for the rice preparation. Follow your rice cooker’s instructions and adapt the recipe accordingly.

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My name is Mint. I am a Thai girl who loves to cook and share my Thai food with everyone! Learn more about me here.

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