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Easy Vegetarian Hainanese "Chicken" Rice Recipe

This Vegetarian Hainanese Rice is a delicious and fragrant side dish made with ginger, scallions, sesame oil, and lime leaves. This recipe is gluten-free and vegan, with a grain-free option! 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings: 5 -6 servings
Author: Remy Park


  • 5 green onion stalks finely sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger minced or grated
  • 2 cups jasmine rice washed and drained*
  • 2-3 lime leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp veggie bouillon or use vegan "chicken" bouillon"
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 pandan leaf strips
  • 1 tbsp finely minced lemongrass stalk optional
  • To serve
  • protein of choice like vegan chicken or tofu
  • fresh cucumbers thinly sliced
  • green onion diagonally sliced
  • chili crisp


  • Start by preparing your green onion stalks. Remove the roots and then thinly slice the white stems. Using a mortar and pestle, smash your green onion stalks with salt until a paste forms.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add neutral oil and sesame oil. Once hot, add your smashed green onion paste and sauté for a minute, stirring constantly.
  • Next add garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute. If using lemongrass, you'll want to add it at this stage as well.
  • Add your rice and lime leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring so that the rice is nicely coated.
  • Next add your bouillon and stir to incorporate before adding water to the pan. Toss in pandan leaves and bring the entire mixture to a simmer.
  • You can finish your rice in the pan by simmering on low heat with a lid partly on, but I like to transfer everything into a rice cooker to finish my rice.
  • Once cooked, remove all of the leaves and fluff the rice. To serve, I like to pack it in a bowl, flip it upside down on a plate and garnish with cucumbers and green onion.


Secrets to Success

  • This dish is traditionally enjoyed with Hainanese chicken, which you can substitute for tofu or vegan chicken of choice. Alternatively, enjoy as is or as a side with whatever meal you're eating! The end result is an amazing, much more flavourful substitute for regular rice.
  • To make this dish grain-free, you can substitute the rice with quinoa.
  • Instead of chicken stock, you can substitute vegan "chicken" bouillon or vegetable bouillon. 
  • Because you don’t need to boil a whole chicken, the cooking process and cooking time are much quicker than the traditional method. Plus, you’ll only need a skillet and a rice cooker (if desired). No large pot or multiple pans are required. 

Serving Tips

You can serve this aromatic rice on its own with toppings. I like to serve the rice with chili crisp, freshly sliced cucumbers (a Hainainese classic), and thinly sliced scallion greens.
To add some protein to the dish, try Taiwanese Tofu "Pork Chops," Tofu Satay, Tempeh, or vegan chicken.

Storage Tips

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat, and if needed, use a little veggie broth or water to fluff up the rice.