She eats once a day, not because she can’t care less about food, but because “it’s more than enough”. She loves watching Chef’s Table and in case you didn’t already know, she used to clock in long hours at Forbes. That was before she threw in the towel to become a hawker at the Maxwell Food Centre. Yes, it was she who founded the now defunct Madam Tan’s Nasi Lemak. This is Shen Tan I am talking about, and you can still find her famed nasi lemak selling like hotcakes at Revolution Coffee in the Portsdown estate. 

But today isn’t about steamed coconut rice and ikan bilis. Today’s about chicken rice, a national classic that all Singaporeans love. Typically made of sliced steamed chicken and greasy, garlicky rice, topped with fresh cucumber and coriander, this dish will also travel to New York this year for the Bourdain Market. And so this month, we made four chefs take on the dish and turn it into something they can call their own (watch the video here). Here is Tan’s version – fried chicken stuffed with rice.

This is part three of a series of chefs we profiled this month (February 2017). Get your copy today at all good bookstores or if you wish, subscribe.

Shen Tan’s Stuffed Fried Chicken


3 chicken drumsticks, deboned but with the skin on

1 tbsp chinese wine (hsiao hsing)

10g grated ginger

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

Mix the marinade into the chicken. Leave it be for 24 hours.

Chicken rice

40g chicken fat

1.2 litres chicken stock (homemade is best of course)

10 shallots, peeled and finely sliced

5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

1kg Jasmine rice, washed and drained

1/2 tsp salt

5 stalks of pandan leaves tied into a bunch

  1. Render the chicken fat in a pan and throw in the shallots and ginger. Fry them until golden.
  2. Add the garlic and fry until coloured.
  3. Add the rice in and stir fry for five minutes.
  4. Now pour the rice and everything else in a rice cooker.
  5. Add in the pandan leaves and chicken stock.


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup corn starch

1 tbsp lime juice

1 cup cold water

1 egg, beaten

  1. Mix it all up to form a runny batter. 
  2. Once the rice is cooked, stuff the chicken drumsticks with it and secure them with toothpicks.
  3. Coat the chicken with the batter and fry them at 170C for 15 minutes. They should be golden brown.
  4. At this point, you’d want to fry the quail eggs too. Peel six boiled eggs, coat them in flour and then the batter, and deep fry (170C) until golden brown. 


160g large red chili

10g chilli padi (bird’s eye)

30g garlic

40g ginger

250ml chicken stock

60g sugar

20g rendered chicken fat

30ml lime juice

60ml fish sauce

Blend it all in a food processor.

Images by Daydream Photography

written by.

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