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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Khao Man Gai (Thai Chicken & Rice)

my first introduction to Thai food was when i was about 14, living in Ethiopia. we had just moved to africa and there was one other asian family in the american community. well, technically, the wife was thai and her husband american. my mom became quick friends with her, my sister became friends with the daughter and i just kinda stuck out like a sore thumb. mrs. williams and my mom became known in the community for their excellent cooking. oh the dinner parties were must attends. further, i loved going over to their house because the woman fed me. not just snacks after school, but whole meals that i still dream of.

one of those dishes: Khao Man Gai. it's a comfort food. i put it in the same category as bò kho, pho, thịt kho, and gma's shumai. mainly because it reminds of the time when other people cooked for me. these days that rarely happens. it's not that i'm complaining, if it's not evident, i love cooking. so imagine my surprise some weeks ago when i had an actual physical longing for this dish only to realize that i had no idea how to make it. i didn't even know what it was called. i always just called it that thai version of cơm gà (vietnamese chicken & rice). cursory searches on foodgawker and tastespotting did not help so i had pull out all the stops. i contacted nora, mrs. william's daughter, on facebook and literally begged for her mom's recipe. sweet girl hooked it up. my only issue with this dish was that i could not find the yellow bean paste, i substituted using mixed soy bean paste.


Khao Man Gai
from Nit Williams, Siam Thai

a whole chicken
chicken broth
yellow bean paste (i used mixed bean paste)
tamarind paste or powder
soy sauce, thin and dark
fish sauce
pepper corn


Rice: i cooked the rice like i normally do in the rice cooker, but instead, used canned chicken broth. i also threw in a few cloves of garlic.

Chicken: i boiled an entire chicken in water, with a few black pepper corns, and roughly chopped daikon. when chicken was cooked thru, i took the chicken out and skimmed top for yucky stuff and fat. season broth with fish sauce.

Sauce: Equal amounts of fresh ginger, garlic and chilies. Mash them up really well. Add 1-2 Tbsp of Yellow bean paste. Tamarind paste/powder, enough fish sauce, regular soy sauce and black soy sauce to taste. (sorry no exact measurements, mrs. williams doesn't measure)

Garnish with sliced cucumbers and cilantro.


today's song: TLC, Baby Baby Baby


  1. i LOVE this dish. the chinese have a similar version that my mom made for me all the time. my favorite part was always the chicken flavored rice. i'm craving it now!

  2. Ok, that's it I'm making this on the weekends. Between your post of Khao Man Gai and Leela's post on it at SheSimmers I just need to join in on all the fun. Yours look fantastic! Love the addition of garlic in the rice. I can just smell it now.

    Does this dish hold up well as a next day meal?

  3. Um, that sauce looks so good. Like I would probably eat it on anything and everything. Rice, chicken, cereal, ice cream...

  4. Hey, Lan, this looks awesome! Look at the glistening surface of the gourd soup -- I want to slurp the broth right out of the bowl.

    Interesting story about how you came to know this dish. Ethiopia of all the places ...

    Khao Man Gai is just plain delicious. And I totally know what you mean by physical longing. When the craving hits, just surrender. Any attempt to resist is an exercise in futility.

  5. Wow, that does sounds great! I would love it :)

  6. buu, i will have to make this next time you visit. promise.

    kiss my spatula, YES! the chicken flavored rice is my fave too! i have to cut back on all the carbs now that i'm older but it is so good.

    friedwontons4u, like i told you on twitter, it def. holds up well for lunch and dinner the next day. :) did you ever make it?

    the kitchenette, hilarious. the sauce is rather delicious.

    leela, the broth turned out so well, i was concerned that it would be too bland but it was just the right accompaniament to the chicken and rice.

    meeso, it's soooo easy to make and a crowd pleaser too.

  7. That is the most unexpected intro to this dish. And my stomach is GROWLING looking at the photos. Why am I even looking at your blog at 8:30 on a Friday night?!

  8. michele, wow, my pix actually prompted hunger pangs? yay! :) so did you make this at 830 on a friday night? :)

  9. That is the most unexpected intro to this dish. And my stomach is GROWLING looking at the photos. Why am I even looking at your blog at 8:30 on a Friday night?!

  10. Wow, that does sounds great! I would love it :)

  11. My husband loves this dish. I simplify it by saute uncooked rice with mashed whole garlic (1-2) until rice is brown. I then proceed to put rice and chicken in the rice cooker. pout chicken broth in. That's it.