Steamed Chicken with Scallions and Ginger

This is the dish to make when you get a fresh, natural chicken at the farmers market and you really want to show off its flavor.

Steamed Chicken with Scallions and Ginger
Photo: © Kate N.G. Sommers
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs

I use heritage chicken breeds and the results are stellar. It’s a take on the classic Malay-style Hainanese Chicken Rice dish, but it’s served a little differently. Frequently, I make the rice that accompanies this meal but most often it’s too much trouble on a school night at home, so I serve this with plain streamed sticky rice and a nice green vegetable, and there are never any leftovers. Don’t be fooled: This recipe is simple, but the flavors are complex. — Andrew Zimmern



  • Two 4-pound chickens

  • 6 cups sake

  • 1 cup soy sauce

  • 1 cup mirin

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger plus 12 thin slices of fresh ginger

  • 3 garlic cloves, halved

  • 1 onion, chopped

dipping sauce

  • 1/3 cup sake

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 3 thin slices of garlic

  • 2 scallions, minced (3 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • Hot sesame oil


prepare the chickens

  1. Put each chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk 4 cups of the sake with the soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, chopped ginger and garlic. Divide the marinade between the two bags; press out the air and seal the bags. Turn to coat the chickens thoroughly. Refrigerate the chickens for 24 hours.

meanwhile, make the dipping sauce

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the sake, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, scallions and ginger. Season with the hot sesame oil.

  2. Set a steamer rack inside a pot large enough to hold the chickens. Add 6 cups of water to the pot along with the sliced ginger, chopped onion and remaining 2 cups of sake. Bring to a boil. Carefully set the chickens on the rack, cover and steam until cooked through, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer the chickens to a cutting board or a platter and let rest for 20 minutes.

  3. Carve each chicken into 8 pieces and serve with the dipping sauce.

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