Chinese New Year Recipes: Steamed Chicken

Sunday, February 03, 2013

I will post a few recipes describing some dishes which I will be cooking for the coming Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner.

Traditionally, for our Wong dinner, my mum will always steamed a chicken. She will get the best chicken she can find. And by that I mean one with a thicker layer of fat and gelatin with yellowish skin. She will make a ginger sauce to go with it. Normally this dish is overshadowed by other more flavorful dishes, but she will insist on steaming at least one chicken.

You can steam the chicken in advance and chop it up just before you serve. It taste best when served in room temperature or slightly chilled.

First, clean up the chicken. Remove all the leftover liver bits which are stuck to the rib cage. Leave the "bishop's nose" (backside) on. You can always cut it off later. If you do so before you steam, the blood clots will stain the chicken.  Rub the chicken all over with some salt. If you like, add a piece of "tong kwai" or a large slice of ginger. Heat up your steamer. Steam your chicken, medium fire,  on a metal plate, thigh side down, for 30 minutes.

Now, after 30 minutes, the thigh meat neat the bone will be pinkish. If you are squeamish about that (sigh, most will be), cut of the thighs and steam it for another 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can cut slits into the thigh before you steam the whole chicken.

Remove the chicken and let it cool. Strain the juices. If you find it too watery, you can heat it up to reduce and thicken the sauce. Time permitting, chill the chicken in the fridge. An hour before you serve it, cut up the chicken. If you like, you can cut off the backbone. But the skin there is thick and nice and so it is up to you. Use a sharp cleaver and wooden chopping block (note: wood will save your cleaver as there is a "give" when you pound it). Arrange the chicken pieces neatly. Pour the chicken juice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Anxin corn-fed chicken
After Steaming
The Ginger Sauce
As this chicken has been plainly steam, making a good sauce is important. Pound some ginger, garlic and coriander stems. Then in a heated sauce pot, add some sesame oil and fry the pounded herbs. Add some fish sauce, some sugar and soy sauce. Use some oyster sauce if you prefer. You are frying it so to remove the raw taste of the herbs. The sauce should have a nice coat of sesame oil. Dice up some coriander leaves and add to the sauce.

As for the chill sauce, use fresh chillies. Pound or blend. Add some lime, salt and sugar to taste. You can of course buy some bottled ones.

As you can see, this dish is simple to make. Just remember to put some effort in the sauces. This chicken also taste great when steamed in ginger sauce or poached in stock (Hainanese chicken).

So, how can your lay hand on a good chicken? The "naked-neck" Anxin Chicken will be great or Capon Chicken. Discuss with the chicken seller in your favorite wet market.

I steamed a corn-fed Anxin chicken tonight. It is not a "mother hen,"and so the fats are not as much as those my Mum have used in the past. But it will be tastier than white broilers. As it is corn fed, it has more fats on it and there is a a tinge of yellow in the skin. It tasted succulent and great.

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  1. may i know what type of ginger are you using? :D

    1. Fr the steamed chicken in ginger dish, I use an assortment of ginger, inc old ginger, normally Indonesian or Thai, galangal from Thailand and young ginger

  2. Thanks! Really a fast reply will try it out! :D

  3. Can the Anxin chicken be bought at supermark?

  4. Oh, this looks great. Thanks for the share! Will gonna try out making this recipe. Perfect for the Chinese New year celebration.