Tender, succulent and fragrant, Chinese steamed chicken with shiitake mushrooms requires little effort to cook yet it tastes amazing. A classic dish for both everyday meals and special occasions.
Don’t miss today’s dish, steamed chicken with shiitake mushroom (香菇蒸鸡) if you ① enjoy chicken (and mushrooms); ② are looking for a healthy but tasty dish; ③ want to cook something really easy.
It’s a perfect choice for several reasons:
- The steaming method preserves the freshness and tenderness of the chicken while bringing out the umami flavour from shiitake mushrooms.
- There is no frying involved so there is no extra fat used and no grease left in your kitchen.
- The cooking process couldn’t be simpler: Mix all the ingredients and leave to steam. I’d say it’s a dish that’s hard to fail!
The traditional Chinese steamed chicken often uses chunky pieces of chicken that have the skin on and bones in. I use skinless, boneless chicken thighs which are my favourite cut. They are tender and very flavoursome thanks to a moderate amount of fat.
Mid-joint chicken wings are a great alternative if you enjoy the flavourful skin.
A popular type of mushroom in Chinese cuisine, shiitake mushrooms develop a unique aroma when dried. They lend meat-based dishes, such as Lion’s Head Meatballs, Dumpling Fillings, a wonderful fragrance.
For today’s steamed chicken, I highly recommend you used dried shiitake mushroom, instead of fresh ones or other types of mushrooms, which definitely contribute to the overall flavour of the dish.
Remember to soak them in water overnight (or until soften) before you start cooking.
Here is the list of ingredient used to marinate the chicken.
- Light & dark soy sauce. The combination of two types of soy sauce is recommended. The dark version gives the dish a beautiful brown shine and a hint of caramelised flavour.
- Oyster sauce. If you’re allergic to seafood, use vegetarian oyster sauce which is known as “mushroom vegetarian stir-fry sauce/素食蚝油”.
- Shaoxing rice wine. Omit it if you’d like an alcohol-free dish.
- Sesame oil
- Ground white pepper
- Corn starch, or tapioca starch, potato starch
An extra kick
Adding fresh chili is my personal twist to this classic dish. It gives the palate a nice kick which I like very much. However, please feel free to skip it if you wish.
As I mentioned earlier, it takes only two very simple steps to cook this dish:
Step 1: Marinate the chicken
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces then mix with all the seasoning ingredients in a bowl. Leave to marinate for 10 mins or so.
- While waiting, prepare the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Trim off the hard stem then half them if you’re using big ones, or keep them whole if small.
Step 2: Steam the dish
- Add shiitake mushroom and chilies to the chicken and mix well. Transfer everything into a serving plate.
- Steam over medium heat for 20 minutes (count from the moment when water starts boiling).
- Sprinkle some finely chopped scallions and you’re ready to serve!
As shown in the images above, I use a traditional bamboo steamer basket set in a wok. Don’t worry if you don’t have the same equipment! Here are two alternative solutions:
- Put a steamer rack into a wok/large pot then place the plate on top.
- Or use a small bowl to support the plate.
Either way, you’ll need to make sure the wok/pot can be covered properly with a lid for steaming.
Another tip: Use a deep plate (rather than a flat one) to hold the chicken as quite a bit of liquid will be extracted during steaming. Yet, do not crowd the chicken in a bowl since it’ll take longer to cook through all of the pieces.
Steamed Chicken with Shiitake Mushroom (香菇蒸鸡)
For the chicken
You also need
- 1 big handful dried shiitake mushroom, rehydrated, see note 2
- 4 bird’s eye chilies, deseeded and chopped, optional
- 1 stalk scallions, finely chopped
Marinate the chicken
- Put chicken pieces into a mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients for the chicken. Mix well then leave to marinate for 10 mins or so.
Steam the dish
- Add shiitake mushroom and chilies to the chicken. Mix then transfer to a deep plate (see note 3).
- Bring water to a full boil in a wok/pot. Place in the chicken plate to steam using one of the following set-ups: in a steamer basket, over a steamer rack or a small bowl.
- Steam over medium heat for 20 mins. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.