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Khao Man Gai Recipe (Thai Chicken Rice) ข้าวมันไก่

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Khao man gai recipe (Thai chicken rice) isn’t just one of my favorite Thai street food, it’s a delight I can’t wait to explore with you! Today we’re heading to the heart of Thailand, Bangkok, where you can find this dish at every corner of the street.

Khao man gai, Thai chicken rice, served with cucumber slices and chili sauce.

Love Thai chicken rice? Try one of these recipes later: Gai pad med mamuang (Thai chicken cashew), Thai garlic pepper chicken, and chicken pineapple fried rice.

What is khao man gai

Khao man gai is a popular Thai street food dish. It consists of tender boiled chicken served over fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth. Accompanied by a savory chili dipping sauce and usually garnished with cucumber and coriander, it’s a comforting, flavorful Thai meal.

Thai chicken rice

We’ll be cooking up a wonderful meal using simple and traditional ingredients like winter melon, garlic, palm sugar, and soybean paste. Along the way, we’ll whisk together a zesty homemade chili sauce that pairs perfectly with the flavored rice.

Variations of Hainanese chicken rice can be found across various countries in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Each country adds its own unique touch and cooking methods, and in this chicken rice recipe we’re making it Thai-style.

Close-up of khao man gai with fried chicken, boiled chicken, jasmine rice, and chili sauce.

Chicken rice carts can be found on the street of Asian countries and are loved by both locals and tourists alike. With its simple but delicious flavors, khao mun gai has captured the hearts of people around the globe.

Chicken rice Thai street food

For Thai people, khao man gai (ข้าวมันไก่) is like a street food star. It’s light and simple – but it fills you up nicely, it’s cheap – but it’s a healthy choice, and the flavors are always different.

Have you ever seen those street food carts with the whole chickens hanging behind the glass? Those carts immediately draw me in, I simply can’t resist them. Just one smell of the aromatic broth is enough for me to order a portion of Thai rice with chicken.

Khao man gai, Thai chicken rice, with jasmine rice, cucumbers, and chili sauce.

But for my hubby, the chicken portions they serve are often not enough, and that’s where the advantage of cooking homemade food comes in. You can top your rice with as much of that delicious, tender chicken as you want, yummy!

Cooking method

In this authentic khao man gai recipe, we’re creating magic. I’ll be using chicken legs, but you can use a whole chicken if you prefer. The chicken is boiled in an aromatic bath of winter melon, coriander, black peppercorns, garlic, salt, and bouillon, giving it a light but totally irresistible flavor.

Then we’ll be cooking our rice in the aromatic broth, which infuses the rice with the incredible flavor of the broth. It’ll be the most flavorful rice you’ve ever tasted, Thai restaurant quality assured!

Khao man gai sauce in wooden spoon over mortar.

And the best part? The fiery and tangy dipping sauce. It’s the perfect addition to this recipe, and I absolutely love drizzling it all over my chicken and rice.

Making Thai chicken rice is a little more time-consuming than most Thai recipes or simply ordering takeout, but it’ll be totally worth your time. For me, cooking is not just about the end result, it’s also about the experience and being proud of what you create.

With this recipe, you’ll get a feel of traditional Thai cooking. Appreciate the food and ingredients, taste-test as you go, and fill up your house with the delightful aroma of Thai cuisine.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.

This recipe has three steps. Cook each step separately, then combine them at the end. Focus on one step at a time.


Ingredients for khao man gai soup labeled: chicken legs, water, salt, winter melon, bouillon, garlic, coriander, and black peppercorns.
  • Chicken – For this recipe, I used chicken leg, but you can totally go for a whole chicken if that’s what you prefer.
  • Water – The broth base is made by combining water with all the other ingredients, resulting in a comforting soup.
  • Winter melon – Winter melon adds a subtle sweetness and texture to the soup, and it’s incredibly healthy and nutritious.
  • Coriander – Coriander is a staple herb in Thai food, you can add as much or as few of it as you wish.
  • Black peppercorns – Peppercorns are key for adding a gentle heat to the soup.
  • Bouillon – Bouillon intensifies the flavor of our soup.
  • Garlic – Garlic is an essential ingredient for this khao man gai recipe.
  • Salt

Rice

Ingredients for khao man gai rice labeled: Rice, chicken skin, soup, garlic, and ginger.
  • White rice – The rice will soak up the flavors of the soup, since we will be boiling it in the soup broth. Most Thai people prefer jasmine rice.
  • Chicken skin – In Thai, “khao” means rice and “man” refers to fat or oil. This indicates that the rice is cooked with chicken fat or oil, infusing it with a rich flavor. The fat or oil we’ll be using will separate from the chicken skin.
  • Ginger – Ginger adds a refreshing flavor to the rice and slightly spicy notes.
  • Garlic
  • Soup

Khao man gai sauce

Ingredients for khao man gai sauce labeled: Salt, lime juice, soybean paste, palm sugar, garlic, ginger, chili peppers.
  • Chili peppers – If you like a spicy sauce, use Thai chilies such as bird’s eye chilies. For a mild khao man gai sauce, you can use a different type of chilies or remove the seeds, which is where most of the heat is.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar is a key ingredient for sweetening the sauce. Palm sugar has a unique caramel-like flavor that sets it apart from both white sugar and brown sugar.
  • Lime juice – For an authentic version of Thai chicken rice, the dipping sauce has to be sour and tangy. Always use fresh lime juice and not the bottled stuff.
  • Soybean paste – Soybean paste adds a subtly sweet and umami flavor. It’s key for balancing out the heat and sour flavors.
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Salt

Cooking instructions

Step 1: Begin by preparing the soup. Slice the winter melon into medium to large chunks.Sliced winter melon on a white/red serving tray.

Step 2: Remove a portion of the chicken skin. We’ll use this later as a source of fat or oil for the rice.Removing chicken skin with a large knife on a wooden cutting board.

Step 3: Crush black peppercorns, garlic, and coriander root with a mortar and pestle.Close-up of black peppercorns, coriander root, and garlic in a mortar.

Step 4: Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add the chicken, the spice mixture from the previous step, winter melon slices, and bouillon cubes. Let the chicken soup simmer for about 40 minutes and make sure the chicken is cooked.Overhead view of chicken soup with winter melon.

Step 5: Next, we’ll cook the rice. Rinse your rice thoroughly and let excess water drain.White rice in a clay pot.

Step 6: In a non-stick wok or skillet, fry the chicken skin until it turns golden brown and releases its oil and fat.Overhead view of chicken skin being fried in a wok. The chicken skin has released its oil or fat while being fried in the pan.

Step 7: Add ginger and garlic to the pan and fry until golden.Overhead view of garlic, chicken skin, and ginger being fried in a pan.

Step 8: Add rice to the pan and continue frying until it has fully absorbed the flavorful chicken oil.Overhead view of rice with garlic and ginger being fried in a wok.

Step 9: Transfer the rice to a pot, then pour in the prepared chicken soup. Cook until the rice is fully cooked and tender.Steamed rice with garlic and ginger in a rice cooker.

Step 10: Lastly, we’ll make the khao man gai sauce. Crush garlic, ginger, and chili peppers using a mortar and pestle.Close-up of crushed chilies, garlic, and ginger in a mortar.

Step 11: Add palm sugar, lime juice, soybean paste, and salt into the mortar and thoroughly mix into one sauce.Overhead view of a spicy and tangy dipping sauce in a granite mortar.

Step 12: Portion out your rice on a serving dish. Add chicken and serve with your dipping sauce. Serve your chicken stock in a small bowl. Enjoy!

Kitchen tools

  • Mortar and pestle for making khao man gai sauce
  • Large wok for infusing your rice with spices
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Rice cooker
  • Soup pot

How to serve khao mun gai

Presentation is key in Thai-style chicken rice. Scoop the chicken-infused rice into a dome-shaped bowl. Invert it into a plate to create a rice dome. Place the tender boiled chicken next to the rice. Serve the sauce in a small bowl. Offer the chicken stock in a small bowl and complete the dish with cucumber slices on the side. Feel free to garnish with freshly chopped green onions.

How to store khao man kai

Let your khao man gai leftovers cool to room temperature and transfer it into an airtight container. It’ll stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. The soup can be stored longer, it’s best to check for freshness before using. Also keep the dipping sauce in a separate airtight container.

Reheating instructions: Simply reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until warm.

Frequently asked questions

What does khao man gai taste like?

Khao man gai is comfort food with a subtle flavor. It comes with juicy chicken, cooked in a flavorful broth. The rice is cooked in that same broth, infusing it with chicken flavor. The sauce in always spicy and tangy, and it perfectly complements the chicken rice.

Can I use brown rice?

Yes, you can use brown rice, but the flavors will be different from the original.

More Thai chicken recipes you’ll love

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Khao Man Gai Recipe (Thai Chicken Rice) ข้าวมันไก่

Khao man gai with chili sauce, accompanied by cucumber, steamed rice, and fried chicken.
This authentic recipe for khao man gai is easy to follow with step-by-step instructions. Make an authentic version of this dish in your own kitchen.
Praew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 5 people

Ingredients

FOR THE SOUP

  • 100 fluid ounces water
  • 7 ounces winter melon sliced
  • 3 coriander stalks
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bouillon cubes chicken flavor
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 35 ounces chicken legs

FOR THE RICE

  • 25 ounces rice
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 0.5 ounces ginger sliced
  • 40 fluid ounces soup
  • chicken skin

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 5 chilies Thai chilies
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar chop to measure
  • 0.5 ounces ginger chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soybean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

SOUP

  • Begin by preparing the soup. Slice the winter melon into medium to large chunks.
  • Remove a portion of the chicken skin. We’ll use this later as a source of fat or oil for the rice.
  • Crush black peppercorns, garlic, and coriander root with a mortar and pestle.
  • Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add the chicken, the spice mixture from the previous step, winter melon slices, and bouillon cubes. Let the chicken soup simmer for about 40 minutes and make sure the chicken is cooked.

RICE

  • Next, we’ll cook the rice. Rinse your rice thoroughly and let excess water drain.
  • In a non-stick wok or skillet, fry the chicken skin until it turns golden brown and releases its oil and fat.
  • Add ginger and garlic to the pan and fry until golden.
  • Add rice to the pan and continue frying until it has fully absorbed the flavorful chicken oil.
  • Transfer the rice to a pot, then pour in the prepared chicken soup. Cook until the rice is fully cooked and tender.

DIPPING SAUCE

  • Lastly, we’ll make the khao man gai sauce. Crush garlic, ginger, and chili peppers using a mortar and pestle.
  • Add palm sugar, lime juice, soybean paste, and salt into the mortar and thoroughly mix into one sauce.

SERVE

  • Portion out your rice on a serving dish. Add chicken and serve with your dipping sauce. Serve your chicken stock in a small bowl. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • This recipe can be split into 3 stages: cooking the soup, the rice, and the dipping sauce.

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