This Cantonese chicken recipe looks simple, but the intense flavour you get from the steaming method is anything but. Fresh ginger, pops of Chinese lap cheong sausage and a sauce that makes itself, this is one easy weeknight dinner you need to get behind. Serve with steamed rice and you’ve got an Asian classic on your hands.
750g (1lb 10oz) chicken thigh fillets
1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tsp sesame oil, plus extra to drizzle
1/2 tsp ground white pepper, or to taste
3 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tbsp ginger, julienned
3 large spring onions (scallions), trimmed
2 lap cheong sausages (about 125g/4 oz)
toasted sesame seeds, to serve
steamed rice, to serve
Trim excess fat from the chicken but don’t spend too much time going overboard (fat is flavour!) as it’s not necessary to get rid of it all. Cut each thigh into 4-5 pieces roughly 4cm (1.5”), then place in a bowl.
Add the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and cornflour to the chicken then mix well so any lumps in the cornflour have gone and the chicken is well-coated. Add the ginger, toss to combine, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to cook.
Heat a wok filled with water and place a covered large bamboo steamer (large enough to fit your serving plate) over the water. Alternatively, make a make-shift steamer by scrunching up a sheet of aluminium foil into a long ‘sausage’, then coiling it around in a circle to form a sturdy round trivet. Place this in the bottom of your wok and pour enough water to come halfway up the sides of the trivet (watch the video to see this in action). Cover with a lid and wait for the water to boil.
Meanwhile, cut the spring onions on a slight diagonal into 5-6cm (about 2”) pieces. Cut the lap cheong on a slight diagonal into 1cm (about ⅓”) thick slices.
When the water is steaming, tip your chicken onto a serving plate that will fit inside your wok or steamer. Arrange the chicken over the plate in an even layer, then scatter over the lap cheong slices and the spring onion. Then cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Use a tea towel to carefully remove your plate (that steam will be hot!). Scatter with sesame seeds and drizzle with a little extra sesame oil. Serve with steamed rice.