Ultimate Com Ga Hai Nam Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine sitting down to a meal that’s not only a feast for your taste buds but also a slice of culinary history. That’s exactly what you get with Com Ga Hai Nam, a beloved dish straight from the heart of Hainanese cuisine, popularized in Vietnam. This scrumptious chicken and rice dish is renowned for its aromatic, silky-smooth chicken and uniquely flavorful rice, cooked in chicken broth to golden perfection.

Com Ga Hai Nam has captured hearts with its simple yet satisfying flavors. Whether it’s a bustling street in Hanoi or a quiet dinner at home, this dish brings a touch of comfort and tradition to any table. It’s a perfect example of how a few ingredients, when combined thoughtfully, can create a meal that’s truly memorable. Ready to bring this delightful dish into your kitchen? Let’s dive into the flavors and techniques that make Com Ga Hai Nam a timeless favorite.


Embark on a culinary journey to create the classic Com Ga Hai Nam, where each ingredient plays a pivotal role in bringing out those distinct, comforting flavors.

For the Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken (about 3-4 pounds)
  • 4 slices of ginger
  • 2 scallions, tied into knots
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Water sufficient to cover the chicken

For the Rice

  • 2 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons chicken fat or canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups reserved chicken broth from boiling the chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Chili (optional, adjust to taste)
  • Cucumber slices
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs
  • Sliced scallions
  • Fried shallots

Tools and Equipment

To craft the perfect Com Ga Hai Nam, having the right tools and equipment is crucial. This section will guide you through the essential items needed to prepare this dish, ensuring you achieve the authentic flavors and textures.

Cooking the Chicken

  • Large Pot: You’ll require a large pot or a stockpot that can comfortably hold the entire chicken along with enough water to cover it. This is essential for boiling the chicken thoroughly while ensuring it cooks evenly.
  • Meat Thermometer: To ensure your chicken is cooked perfectly without being overdone, a meat thermometer is indispensable. Chicken is safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

Preparing the Rice

  • Rice Cooker: For cooking the rice, a rice cooker will help you achieve that fluffy, slightly sticky texture typical of Com Ga Hai Nam rice. If you don’t have a rice cooker, a regular saucepan with a tight-fitting lid will also work.
  • Sauté Pan: Utilize a sauté pan to fry the garlic and ginger which you’ll mix into the rice. This adds that signature aromatic quality to the rice.

Making the Dipping Sauce

  • Small Bowls: You’ll need a few small bowls for mixing the dipping sauces. These sauces are integral to the overall flavor profile of the dish.
  • Whisk or Spoon: Use these tools for combining the ingredients thoroughly to ensure a consistent flavor in each bite.
  • Serving Platter: A large serving platter is perfect for presenting the chicken, sliced neatly, along with the aromatic rice and garnishes.
  • Chopping Board and Sharp Knife: Essential for chopping vegetables and slicing the cooked chicken accurately.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Preparing Com Ga Hai Nam ahead of time can significantly streamline your cooking process and enhance the flavors, allowing them to meld beautifully. Here are the steps you can follow to ensure that your dish retains its authenticity and tantalizes every palate.

Preparing the Chicken

  1. Marinate the Chicken: Begin by marinating the chicken with salt, pepper, and your choice of spices a night before cooking. This not only seasons the chicken deeply but also tenderizes it, ensuring every bite is succulent and full of flavor.
  2. Boil and Store: Once marinated, boil the chicken as described in the main cooking section, then let it cool at room temperature. After it has cooled down, cover it and store it in the refrigerator. This can be done up to two days ahead.

Cooking the Rice

  1. Pre-Soak the Rice: Rinse the jasmine rice under cold water until the water runs clear to remove any impurities and excess starch. Soak the rice in fresh water for about 30 minutes. This step ensures that your rice cooks evenly and becomes perfectly fluffy.
  2. Prep the Cooking Liquid: Prepare the broth with garlic, ginger, and a touch of salt as detailed previously. This infusion can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, which will integrate the flavors more deeply.

Making Dipping Sauce

  1. Mix Ingredients: Combine all components of the dipping sauce – typically fish sauce, lime juice, chili, and garlic. This mixture can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge in an airtight container. The flavors will intensify and meld together, enhancing the overall taste.
  1. Prep Ahead: Chop the cilantro, scallions, and cucumber, and store them in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. This can be done a day prior. However, for the best texture and freshness, cutting them a few hours before serving is advised.

By following these make-ahead instructions, you can not only manage your time more effectively but also ensure that the Com Ga Hai Nam you serve is imbued with enriched flavors and aromas, making your culinary experience effortlessly delightful.


Follow these detailed steps to bring the vibrant flavors of Com Ga Hai Nam to your kitchen. Each step ensures your dish will taste as authentic as possible.

Preparing the Chicken

  1. Start by placing your marinated chicken in a large pot. Cover it with cold water, ensuring the water level is at least an inch above the chicken.
  2. Add a teaspoon of salt and a few slices of ginger to the pot. This will help flavor the chicken as it cooks.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a low simmer. Partially cover the pot and let the chicken cook for about 25 minutes or until fully cooked. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).
  4. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pot and immediately place it into a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes to tighten the skin. This step is crucial for achieving the signature texture of the chicken.
  5. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then rub a mixture of sesame oil and salt over the skin for extra flavor and sheen.

Cooking the Rice

  1. After removing the chicken, reserve the chicken cooking broth as the base for your rice. Measure out two cups of this broth.
  2. Rinse two cups of jasmine rice under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  3. In a pot, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the rinsed rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes to slightly toast the grains.
  4. Pour the reserved chicken broth into the pot with rice. Add a pinch of salt for flavor.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.
  6. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Making the Dipping Sauce

  1. In a small bowl, combine three tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of lime juice, two teaspoons of sugar, and a minced clove of garlic.
  2. Stir well until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Add a finely chopped chili if you prefer a spicy kick. Allow the sauce to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to meld the flavors.
  1. Slice the cooled chicken into bite-size pieces. Arrange these pieces on a serving platter.
  2. Scoop the aromatic chicken-flavored rice onto the platter beside the chicken.
  3. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro, sliced cucumber, and scallions.
  4. Serve the prepared dipping sauce on the side for drizzling or dipping.
  5. Optional: Offer a side of chicken broth seasoned with a pinch of salt, warming it gently, perfect for sipping alongside your meal.

These carefully arranged steps ensure each component comes together harmoniously for a truly delightful Com Ga Hai Nam experience.

Serving Suggestions

After you have masterfully prepared your Com Ga Hai Nam, presenting it beautifully is just as crucial for enhancing the dining experience. Here are the best ways to serve this delectable Vietnamese classic.

Plate It Up Traditionally

To capture the essence of a true Vietnamese dining experience, use large plates and arrange the Com Ga centrally. Flank the chicken with small heaps of the sliced cucumber, finely chopped cilantro, and scallions. This not only brings out the vivid colors of the dish but also layers the textures.

Accompany with Dipping Sauces

Place the ginger-lime dipping sauce and the chili sauce in small bowls on the side. Allow your diners the delight of adding as much or as little as they wish to tailor the zesty flavors to their taste.

Include a Side of Soup

Serve a clear, light broth alongside the main dish. This is typically made from the chicken bones and subtly seasoned. The soup acts as a palate cleanser and offers a light, refreshing contrast to the flavors of the Com Ga.

Serve with Additional Herbs

Offer additional fresh herbs on the side, like extra cilantro, mint, or basil. These help each guest customize their plate further, enhancing the freshness and complexity of the dish.


Now that you’ve got the scoop on crafting the perfect Com Ga Hai Nam it’s time to bring this flavorful Vietnamese classic to your table. With each step from marinating the chicken to perfecting the rice and sauces you’re not just cooking—you’re creating an experience. Remember the fresh herbs and vibrant sides are more than just garnish; they’re an invitation to customize each bite to your taste. So gather your ingredients and let the culinary adventure begin. Here’s to a delicious meal that promises to be as enjoyable to make as it is to eat!

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