Cambodian Food – Bai Mon (បាយមាន់)

Bai Mon (បាយមាន់) is a Khmer street food staple in Cambodia. What is it? Bai is rice and Mon is chicken and that’s literally what it means, rice chicken or chicken rice. The chicken is usually boiled or steamed and the broth is used to cook the rice with. This dish is always accompanied with a delicious sauce made with fish sauce, ginger, garlic and chilies for that extra kick and also a side of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.

How do you make it? There are a lot of recipes out there and readily available online but the version I’m going to share is my own which is a variation of Bai Mon that someone special recently made for me.

Here’s the list of ingredients for my version of Bai Mon.

  • For the broth:
    • 1 whole chicken
    • 1 stalk of lemongrass
    • 3-5 kaffir lime leaves
    • 2-3 slices of galangal root
    • 2-3 slices of fresh ginger root
    • 2-3 crushed garlic cloves
    • 2-3 tablespoons chicken powder
    • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
    • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • For the sauce:
    • 1/2 cup of fish sauce
    • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
    • 2-3 fresh cloves of chopped garlic
    • 2-3 fresh chopped bird chili peppers
    • 2-3 slices of fresh ginger (julienne cut)
    • 2-3 tablespoons salted soybeans
    • 1 tablespoon MSG (optional)
  • For the rice:
    • 3-4 cups jasmine rice
    • 1 whole fresh garlic bulb minced
    • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • broth (from the chicken)

Here’s how to cook and prepare Bai Mon.

In a large pot add 4-5 quarts of water. Add in the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal root, ginger root, garlic cloves, chicken powder, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and add the entire chicken. Let the chicken cook for at least 30-45 minutes.

When the chicken is fully cooked take it out of the pot and set it aside to let it cool down so you can later slice or shred the chicken to serve.

To prepare the rice it is important to wash and rinse the uncooked jasmine rice at least three times and let it completely dry before moving onto the next step.

In a sauce or frying pan heat up vegetable oil and stir fry the garlic until it’s lightly brown. Add in the 3-4 cups of uncooked jasmine rice and stir until the rice looks almost translucent.

If at this point the aromatics haven’t filled your kitchen yet you might be doing it wrong 🤣

When the rice and garlic mixture is ready place it in a large pot and add the broth from the chicken that you prepared earlier. This part can be tricky but you’d cook rice like you normally would. Just be sure to put enough broth to cover the rice with at least 1 inch of broth above the rice. You may be familiar with the pinky or pointer finger water measurement method to cook rice. It works! Bring the pot to a boil and let the broth steam dissipate until you no longer see the broth above the rice. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking assemble the ingredients to make the sauce. In a small bowl add the fish sauce, salted soybeans, chopped garlic, sliced ginger and chopped bird chilies. Mix in sugar and MSG to taste.

To serve, place the cooked rice on a plate along with the cut up chicken and sauce in a small bowl on the side. Enjoy!

I hope you give this recipe a try and tell us how you like it or if you have your own recipes to share send them our way at

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