Chinese Steamed Chicken with Ginger Scallion Sauce

This recipe's contributor wants her grandchildren to call her PoPo. PoPo is the traditional Chinese name for grandmother on the mother's side of the family.

PoPo loves this steamed chicken for its simplicity and bright, fresh flavor. It is common comfort food in Southern China. She usually steams a whole fryer chicken, but for easier preparation, I wrote this recipe to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Chinese steamed chicken

Special Equipment

Wok or 12+ inch frypan and a tight-fitting lid

Steaming plate: an 8-inch pie/cake pan

Small, wire rack: this elevates the steaming plate above the boiling water in the wok/frypan.
If you don't have a wire rack you can criss-cross four chopsticks or skewers in a tic-tac-toe pattern (this option only works in a wok because it's curved).

Elevation options: Four chopsticks or skewers in a tic-tac-toe pattern (left)
or
Small, wire rack (right)

Ingredients

1 3/4 pounds (28 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, best quality
at least 1 cup (190 g) white or brown rice
2 1/2-inch knob (43 g) fresh ginger
(50 g) 3-6 scallions
1/2 cup (108 g) canola oil
~7/8 Tablespoon Kosher salt (1/2 Tablespoon per pound of chicken)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Instructions

Serves 4

RICE

According to package instructions, cook:
at least 1 cup (190 g) white or brown rice


SAUCE

Wash and dry:
2 1/2-inch knob (43 g) fresh ginger
Peel and mince the ginger. Peeling is easy if you dig the edge of a spoon into the skin and pull the spoon towards you.

Wash and dry:
(50 g) 3-6 scallions
Cut off the scallion's roots and flimsy, dark green ends. Slice them in half lengthwise, and then chop crosswise to make super-thin half-circles. *PoPo prefers a volume ratio of 40% minced ginger to 60% chopped scallions. If necessary, prepare more ginger or scallions. Put the ginger and scallions in a large heatproof bowl (you’ll pour hot oil into it), and mix in:
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Let this mixture sit for five minutes.

In a small frypan, pour:
1/2 cup (108 g) canola oil
Heat oil over medium heat until lightly smoking. Then carefully pour it over the ginger/scallion mixture. It will bubble and sputter like fireworks! After it settles down, stir it and transfer to a serving dish.


CHICKEN

Rub together:
1 3/4 pounds (28 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, best quality
~7/8 Tablespoon Kosher salt (1/2 Tablespoon per pound of chicken)
Let chicken sit for 5 minutes. Rinse off all the salt, pat the thighs dry with a paper towel, and arrange them as one layer in the steaming plate.

Place the wire rack in the wok, and place the steaming plate + chicken on top of the wire rack. Pour enough water into the wok (not into the steaming plate), so that when it boils it barely skims the underside of the steaming plate. Cover with the tight-fitting lid, and boil over high heat for the duration of steaming. If the water evaporates too quickly, pour in more to maintain the correct level.

Steam the chicken until the thickest parts reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F / 75 degrees C. This will take 15-30 minutes depending on how much chicken you cook (approximately 18 minutes for 1 3/4 pounds). Note, don't take the lid off to check the temperature for the first 15 minutes. After the chicken reaches temperature, turn off the heat, leave the lid on, and let sit for 10 more minutes.


ASSEMBLY

Remove the chicken from the steaming plate, slice it into thin pieces, and lay on top of rice. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over each serving.

Notes

LEFTOVERS

Prepare fried rice however you like, but before the rice + egg mixture finishes cooking, add some ginger scallion sauce so all of it caramelizes together.

 
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Tim Hogeboom
1 month ago

Elizabeth & I liked it! I substituted avocado oil for canola oil and fresh chives for scallions. Served it with broccoli and it was a tasty, nutritious meal.

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