Recipe : Inche Kabin or Enche Kabin Hainanese/nyonya fried chicken

I think my Hainanese ancestors will be utterly proud of me today. While I was having dinner with my family, I boasted about how great Hainanese cooks are.

I made Inche Kabin fried chicken today. My eldest son probably have never heard or eaten this before. I too had not seen this dish around as we don’t often go to Hainanese or Nyonya restaurants. The reason is, why bother when I can cook better tasting dishes?

(chicken has to be seasoned for long hours or even better, overnight. Keep in the fridge though)

I told my son that Inche Kabin orginated from the colonial times. Our Hainanese ancestors cooked for the British. That’s why the dish use Worcestershire Sauce.

Usually, a plate of Inche Kabin is served with it’s signature dipping sauce and prawn crackers.


Dipping sauce :
1 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon HP sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot water
1 lime, extract juice
1 large tablespoon of sugar
A few cili padi or red chillies, slice finely


Mix all the ingredients, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust flavour.


The sauce is a delight to accompany other meats or fishes as well. Goes well with white rice. Writing about this makes me salivate again.

To be frank, this recipe is not my original idea. Yet, it is not taken blindly from recipe book. It was inspired by a Nyonya cookbook I bought in MPH for RM15. I adjusted the quantity of seasoning as it seems to be overly salty.

Chicken – 3 thighs cut into 3 pieces each (about 1 kg)
Oil for deep frying
Hup Loong (or cornflour) flour to dust on chicken pieces just before frying

1 tablespoon ginger juice (pound ginger for the juice)
1 tablespoon Allagapa meat curry powder (add 2 tbsp if you prefer spicier chicken)
1 tablespoon Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 piece red fermented beancurd (ang tau joo)

The recipe calls for thick coconut milk. However, I used only evaporated milk (the can milk with no sugar?) I use enough to moist the chicken (like 3-4 tablespoons)


Season the chicken pieces in the fridge as the milk will cause the chicken to turn bad easily. Usually, Inche Kabin is very flavourful as the chicken is marinated for long hours.

Heat oil in wok. Just before frying, pour away the liquid from the chicken. Add some flour to coat the chicken.

Deep fry for about 20 to 30 minutes.


I found many restaurants over cooked their chicken, making Inche Kabin a nightmare dish with tough chicken and almost no flavour. However, my homecooked version is delicious (I steal a bite to know how it tastes like. Am on vegetarian still).


The portion of chicken costs me about RM7. I get a huge plate of chicken, freshly fried. Too bad I do not have those Made In China prawn crackers or the dish will be almost perfect.


Do try the seasonings and adjust accordingly. I didn’t guarantee this Inche Kabin tastes like original Hainanese prepared for their British ship captains. (I remember the kabin comes from ship cabin) But still, it is an interesting dish, made really tasty by the dipping sauce.

If you have an original recipe from your grandma or something and wish to share, please do! I have looked at the internet and it seems that some of those recipe sites are just con jobs. It is a disgrace that some do not even put the right recipe and didn’t use Worcestershire sauce. My poor Hainanese ancestors will be scolding phulangkang from their graves. 🙂

Post Author: Lilian

Food, travel, recipes. Chinese Malaysian, blogger, photographer and writer.

7 thoughts on “Recipe : Inche Kabin or Enche Kabin Hainanese/nyonya fried chicken

    Sweet Jasmine

    (March 10, 2010 - 10:34 am)

    Yummy! Haven’t been cooking this for quite sometime. I always thought Inche Kebin to be nyonya. Never knew it to be a Hainanese speciality too. Will be cooking this when I get hold of the ingredients.


    (March 10, 2010 - 1:13 pm)

    Your inche kabin looks like the real deal! I’m hainanese but unfortunately my family do not know how to cook this dish. 🙁 I’ve not eaten this dish for years, and I will definitely give your recipe a try!

    gill gill

    (March 11, 2010 - 1:48 pm)

    i agreed with you, lilian! Not to mention about online recipes but also the publisher nowadays sini tambah sana tolak, at the end of the day jadi rojak! i certainly encorage the ancestors scold them from their graves…lol

    gill gill

    (March 11, 2010 - 1:53 pm)

    thanks for sharing!
    by the way, do you have more Hainanese Recipes to share? coz not much “original” can be found online.

    Jason Wong

    (March 11, 2010 - 1:55 pm)

    I very much agree on the missing steps or items in recipes will cause the nenek-moyang to turn and curse from their grave. Many have lost the luster of their cuisines.

    Roland Tay

    (March 16, 2010 - 1:13 pm)


    Roland Tay

    (March 16, 2010 - 1:13 pm)

    Will try to cook this weekend

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