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Thai-Style Chicken and Rice | Khao Man Gai | ข้าวมันไก่

Back in November, I introduced a little poll on the sidebar of this blog where you can vote for which recipe you’d like to see next.  I started with five recipes that I thought you might like — tom yum goong, pla goong (spicy shrimp salad), massaman curry, khao man gai (chicken and rice), and a sticky rice with custard dessert — but I had no idea it would be such a close race!

The spicy shrimp salad was the clear winner at first, but then tom yum goong pulled ahead.  Massaman curry and khao man gai then started gaining votes as the month went on and, for a while, it was a toss up between these three.  But in the end, khao man gai pulled ahead and won by two votes!  Talk about suspense! :)

So after khao man gai had finally emerged as the winner, I started working on the recipe.  I actually already had a whole chicken in my freezer, just waiting for the day that I would make this dish!  After thawing it, I boiled the chicken with a little salt and some cilantro roots to cook the chicken and make a simple chicken broth.  If you don’t have cilantro roots, that’s okay, but if you can find them, they add a nice subtle flavor to the broth.

Once the chicken was cooked and broth was made, it was time to start on the rice.  The rice that accompanies this dish is jasmine, but instead of cooking it with water, you use the chicken broth you just made.  Then you add fried garlic, fresh ginger, cilantro roots (again, if you can find them), and some salt and/or ground white pepper to really boost the flavor.

But although the rice is more flavorful than plain jasmine rice, the real flavor of this dish comes from the dipping sauce.  It’s made from  a combination of Thai peppers, ginger, and garlic in a soybean paste based sauce and wow, it packs a punch.  One spoonful of this spicy ginger sauce ladled on top of a piece of moist chicken sitting on a bed of garlicky, fatty rice… talk about awesome flavors!  And then, just to round everything out, you make a simple soup of chicken broth and boiled gourd and slice some cucumbers to eat on the side.

Needless to say, the boyfriend and I really enjoyed our khao man gai, so we owe a big thank you to all of you for choosing this dish!  And since our inaugural sidebar poll turned out so well, we’d like to continue this feature in the future.  I’m currently gathering ideas for which recipes you’d like to see on the next poll, so please leave a comment here or on our Facebook page if there’s a particular Thai dish you’re craving!  And in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this Thai chicken and rice dish as much as we have!

Thai-Style Chicken and Rice | Khao Man Gai | ข้าวมันไก่

Makes 4-6 servings

Thai-Style Chicken and Rice | Khao Man Gai | ข้าวมันไก่


  • 1 3-5 pound whole chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 4 cilantro roots, bruised
  • water to cover the chicken (~12 cups)
  • Rice:
  • 2 cups jasmine rice, washed
  • chicken broth to cook the rice (~3 cups)
  • 4 1" slices ginger
  • 2 cilantro roots, bruised
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup soybean paste
  • 2 Tablespoons palm sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons thin soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 red Thai chili peppers, chopped finely
  • 3 Tablespoons ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Soup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup winter gourd, daikon, or chayote
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Accompaniments:
  • 4-6 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 cucumber, sliced


    To Make the Chicken and Broth:
  1. Bring 10-12 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add the salt, bruised cilantro roots, and whole chicken. Add more water as needed to cover the chicken and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through (~30-45 minutes depending on its size).
  4. Take the chicken out and let rest before de-boneing it and slicing it into pieces.
  5. Strain the chicken broth and then save for later use in the rice and soup.
  6. To Make the Rice:
  7. Fry the chopped garlic in 1/4 cup canola oil. Save the oil for use in different recipes.
  8. Wash the jasmine rice in water until the water runs clear.
  9. Place the fried garlic, ginger, and bruised cilantro roots on top of the rice. You can add additional salt if needed (taste the chicken broth) or ground white pepper if desired.
  10. Add enough chicken broth to cook your rice with (this depends on the freshness of your rice, I used ~3 cups). Cook in your usual fashion until the rice is done.
  11. To Make the Dipping Sauce:
  12. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust as needed.
  13. To Make the Soup:
  14. Slice the chayote, winter gourd, or daikon radish into bite-sized pieces.
  15. Heat equal amounts of your chicken broth and water over medium heat.
  16. Add the chopped vegetable and cook until tender but done (~10 minutes was perfect for my chayote pieces). Taste and add fish sauce if needed. Top with coarsely chopped cilantro.
  17. To Serve:
  18. Place a scoop of the rice on a plate and arrange the sliced chicken beside it.
  19. Serve with the soup, a bowl of the ginger-chili dipping sauce, some cucumber slices, and a sprig of cilantro on the side. Enjoy!

8 comments… add one
  • Claire March 29, 2015, 11:42 pm

    This question might seem dumb but what is soybean sauce? Is that regular soy sauce? I see that you use dark and light soy sauce as well. Unfortunately, my husband is gluten intolerant so I can’t use those products. Can I use all dark instead?

    • Rachel March 30, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Hi Claire! I’ve updated the link to the soybean paste in the recipe (http://amzn.to/1MngaOB). In Thai, it’s known as tao jiao. Dark and light Thai soy sauces taste very different from each other (dark is much sweeter and thicker), so I wouldn’t recommend substituting one for the other.

  • Mamio October 12, 2014, 7:17 pm

    This is one of my favourite dishes. Looks like you did a great job. I recently learnt from a friend that if you mixed in a bit of sticky rice which will make it nice and sticky, really adds to the texture.

    • Rachel October 12, 2014, 11:12 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Mamio! I will have to try that soon!

  • Katia January 9, 2013, 3:45 am

    I’ve been waiting for you to post this recipe. I could never make the sauce! Thanks!

  • wilai January 7, 2013, 10:58 am

    น่าอร่อยมากๆ ขาดเลือดไก่ กับเครื่องในไก่ค่ะ

    • ThanitaG July 29, 2014, 9:46 pm

      ดูวิธีทำแต่ละขั้นตอนของคุณเรเชล ไม่ถึงกับเป็นเซียนอาหารไทยเหมือนคุณย่าคุณยายตำรับโบราณ
      แต่ถือว่าสุดยอดแล้วค่ะ คนไทยบางคนยังทำน้ำจิ้มข้าวมันไก่ไม่เป็นเลย

  • Debs @ The Spanish Wok January 7, 2013, 7:56 am

    Oh this sounds delicious and looks so fresh too, thanks for sharing.

    Looking forward to see how this develops.

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