Nan Jibson’s Kao Mun Gai ข้าวมันไก่

Prepare the chicken:

Camille Lemmens picture of khao man gai on Koh Samui

Camille Lemmens’ picture of khao man gai


  • One whole chicken
  • Salt
  • Ginger
  • Garlic (2 cloves)
  • Chicken base 3 tablespoons
  • Daikon radish (about 1.5 cups can add more), sliced about ¼ inch (sliced can be halved for half-moon shapes if the radish is particularly large.
  • Acorn squash, (about 1.5 cups, can add more) seeded, peeled and chunked.
  • Palm sugar 1 tablespoon (can substitute brown or white sugar)
  • Cilantro stalks (as many as you have after removing the leaves), smashed a little (save the leaves for the dipping sauce and garnish) or better yet, cilantro roots, also smashed, if you can find them.
  • Black peppercorns (10, can use white peppercorns)

Sprinkle salt very liberally over entire chicken and in the cavity. You may think this is too much salt but this salt will season your broth as well. Put in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours and if you can, overnight.

In a pot big, add enough water to cover the chicken and make the rice, add the daikon, acorn squash, 2 large cloves of garlic, one medium onion, crushed cilantro stalks or roots, the black peppercorns, chicken base and palm sugar. Bring to a boil. Place whole chicken in the boiling water. Turn heat down to medium.

Boil the chicken for about 30-40 minutes. You want the chicken just done and firm. Not falling off the bones like a chicken stew. Remove the chicken and cover. Next, skim all the oil off the top. Set aside half a cup of chicken oil. You can discard the rest or save it for another dish.

How to cook the rice.

Put about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chicken oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add 3 slices of ginger, 2 large cloves of garlic smashed really well. Fry for 3-5 minutes until the ginger and garlic are fragrant. Add three cups of uncooked, rinsed jasmine rice, 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir fry quickly coating the rice all around. Remove from heat and put in an electric rice cooker and add cooled broth until it is about 1 ¼ inches over the rice. (If you need a more quantitative measurement, 4 cups of broth or for softer rice 5 cups). Cover and hit the cook button.

The dipping sauce


  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 large clove minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • Fresh chili peppers (Thai mouse-poop chilies are traditional but serano, tabasco or cayenne will work fine)

Pound all four ingredients together with a mortar and pestle or mince all very finely or blend in a food processor (don’t completely puree though, leave some texture in there!)

Dark soy and fermented bean paste (I took this one!)

Now mix the pounded ingredients with the remaining 4. Squeeze a little lime juice into sauce just before serving.

To serve:

Traditionally the legs and wings are removed and reserve for something else-but you certainly do not have to do that. Remove the bones and slice the breast and thigh meat into strips. Serve on top of or next to the rice and liberally sprinkle on some cilantro. Reheat the soup and add salt if needed.

Serve with a side bowl of the soup (making sure to get some squash and daikon as well as garnishing with more cilantro), sliced cucumbers and the dipping sauce. Raw chopped ginger and chilies is also a traditional condiment.

Nan, Joe and little Vicky

Me with Nan and her daughter Vicky. Nan wrote up this recipe but in Thai. My contribution was to translate it into English.

Picture courtesy of Camille Lemmens. He has a great blog about food in Thailand and Koh Samui that can be found right here:


About Joe Graff

President and co-owner of DC based design studio, icon werx, inc. Lived in Thailand for 8+ years (2003-2011). Rheumatoid arthritis and triple joint replacement patient.
This entry was posted in Chicken, Condiment, Main Dish, Thai and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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