Pak Cham Kai (White Poached Chicken)

I’ve always loved chicken rice. Its omnipresence during my childhood and young adulthood gave me a sort of security, knowing that when my source of food runs out or fails, I can always turn to a comforting plate of chicken rice from the stall down the street.

Pak Cham Kai (Steamed White Chicken) 8

It turned out that I had taken chicken rice for granted for a large part of my life. It also turned out that chicken rice is not so omnipresent once I moved away from my parents’ home (and consequently my mom’s nurturing care which resulted in food miraculously appearing on the table every day for every meal). And while my childhood favourite chicken option would always be the roasted, I now absolutely love the poached variety when having chicken rice.

Not too long ago, I shared a recipe on how to make steamed chicken which is one of my go-to methods. However, recently, I decided to attempt the poaching method, one that chicken rice cooks actually use to create their signature silky smooth white chicken. Boy did that work out well! And so easy too!

Since I was testing this method out for the first time, I decided to play it safe with a smaller portion using chicken drumsticks. The margin for error is slimmer since dark chicken meat stays tender regardless. And if all fails, I’d still have a pot of pretty tasty chicken soup.
Pak Cham Kai (Steamed White Chicken) 1

The point is to ensure that the chicken pieces are nicely submerged in the water.
Pak Cham Kai (Steamed White Chicken) 2

And then, simmer on low heat until the chicken is just cooked.
Pak Cham Kai (Steamed White Chicken) 3

I love how supple the skin turned out. Steaming can sometimes cause the chicken skin to dry out ever so slightly but with poaching, that would never happen. I imagine that even the breast portion would remain moist.
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I turned the poaching liquid into a simple soup. No sense wasting such flavourful broth 🙂 
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Once I get myself a larger stockpot, I’m going to attempt poaching a whole chicken.
Pak Cham Kai (Steamed White Chicken) 6

I served the chicken with a simple ginger scallion sauce that is nothing more than heated oil poured over some grated ginger, minced scallions & fish sauce. So simple but the absolute perfect accompaniment to poached chicken!
Pak Cham Kai (Steamed White Chicken) 7

The pictures do not do them justice but I assure you that the skin was silky & the flesh was perfectly tender.
I guess I can make this any time I want now so I welcome this childhood back into my life. Except, I still crave for chicken rice from down the street. Or anywhere really.


 “I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?” {Job 9:2}

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Pak Cham Kai (Poached White Chicken)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 2
  • 5 Chicken Drumsticks
  • 3 thick slices old Ginger
  • 1 stalk Scallion/Spring Onion, white parts
  • 4 cups Water, more if needed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  1. In a stock pot, drop all the ingredients in. Add more water if needed, to ensure that chicken pieces are fully submerged.
  2. Bring water to a boil then down to a low simmer.
  3. Leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is just cooked.
  4. Fish out chicken pieces & serve with ginger-scallion sauce.
  5. Reserve poaching liquid for soup or cooking.


  1. Well, I don’t eat chicken because I’m a pescetarian, but this recipe looks good nevertheless! How can you go wrong with some chicken & rice, right? 🙂 In Vietnamese food culture, there’s something very similar to this as well, except it’s an entire chicken rather than just the drumstick. 😛

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