Steamed chicken may not make your mouth water like the fried or roasted variety – not until you make this dish, that is. One of the easiest dishes, sake steaming makes the chicken aromatic, flavorful, and tender. The hardest part of the dish is waiting: after steaming the chicken, the key is cool it to room temperature (give or take) inside the pot. This way it will retain its succulence. If you pull it out of the pot and cut it up immediately, you’ll end up with dry chicken. Patience is key.
To me, the best part of this dish is the ginger scallion sauce. Mildly spicy and wonderfully savory and aromatic, it is delicious on rice alone. Or noodles. Or the chicken. Which is finger-licking good. Without the grease.
Sake-Steamed Chicken, adapted from Harris Salad via New York Times
Ingredients for Chicken
- 1 3 1/2 pound organic chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 1/2 cups dry sake (any inexpensive brand will suffice)
3 thinly sliced scallions
2 tbsp sesame seeds, preferably black
Ingredients for Citrus Soy Dipping Sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp mirin or sweet sherry
1 tbsp chopped ginger root
1 large garlic clove, minced
Ingredients for Ginger Scallion Sauce
- 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 large bunch)
1/2 cup finely minced, peeled fresh ginger (I use a grater)
1/8 cup oil (I use olive oil, but you can use canola, grapeseed, vegetable, etc.)
1 tsp Kosher salt, or more to taste
- Place a steamer basket in the bottom of a large stockpot (I’ve used my Creuset or a wok). Pour in equal amounts of sake and water, enough to reach the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring to a boil.
- Generously salt the chicken inside and out; set breast side up in the steamer basket. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Steam the chicken until the juices just run clear when pierced with a knife, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 20 minutes within the pot. To serve, carve and set pieces on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.
- Citrus Sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, lemon juice, mirin, ginger and garlic.
- Ginger Scallion Sauce: Heat oil in a small pan. When warm (but not smoking), carefully place scallions and ginger. Cook 2-3 minutes, until ginger has lost a bit of its bite and scallions are wilted. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt.