If you've wondered why the chicken in many Asian dishes is especially juicy and tender, it may be because it was steamed. When chicken is steamed, it is placed directly above boiling water, allowing it to retain its natural flavor and juices and absorb other seasonings you might have placed in the water. If you don't have a steamer, you can create one with a little ingenuity as long as you have a large pot. Steaming is a natural and healthy cooking method that is as simple as it is worthwhile, given the succulent outcome.
Things You'll Need
- Small, whole chicken (cleaned and patted dry)
- Steamer or pot with lid
- Salt or seasoning salt
- Red onions and garlic (optional)
- White wine (optional)
- Meat thermometer
Season the chicken with kosher salt or seasoning salt. To really imbue it with flavor, place chopped red onions and a few cloves of garlic inside the cavity.
Fill your steamer pot with about 4 or 5 inches of water and, if you like, a little white wine. If you don't have a steamer, use a large pot — and one that has a lid – and a rack on which to rest the chicken. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
Set the chicken into the steamer basket or on top of a rack set inside the pot. Check to ensure that the water is bubbling underneath the chicken and not making contact with it, which is the key to steaming food of all kinds. Cover the pot and turn down the flame to “medium.”
Steam the chicken for between 1 and 1.5 hours. Check and replenish the water periodically. The chicken will be done when it registers at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer. Test the chicken in the thickest region for the most accurate reading. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Prepare your own Asian sauce for your steamed chicken roast by combining a few tablespoons of soy sauce, orange juice and rice vinegar and a splash of lemon juice. Stir and then season the sauce with a little ginger and garlic, and pour it on top of your sliced chicken roast.
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