Classic Emperor Chicken Thigh (药材皇帝鸡)

A Delightful Aromatic Chicken Dish Fit For An Emperor
Ready : 2-3 hrs Generic : Steam Difficulty : Easy
[ Prep : 10 mins † Cooking : 2-3 hrs † Excluding Marinating/Soaking ] Printable Recipe

Googling for information on this dish – to the surprise of The VianD, really didn’t review much. The lack of information and write-up history of the dish was puzzling and somewhat suspicious and therefore – The VianD’s doubtfulness of the authenticity of the dish, be it – whether it is part of the famous Chinese Imperial Cuisine or even originated from China..😕.

In any case, no matter where or who came out with this recipe, it is simply an amazingly delicious dish. Simply pack all the Ingredients and the Chicken together in a parcel and let-go steaming for a couple of hrs and viola, you’ll be rewarded with a parcel of aromatic, delicious, soft tender Chicken ! What else can U ask for..😁? Oooo, wait, there is more…., all those Herbs are really nourishing for U too. Now.., doesn’t tat makes U wanna go scrambling for the Ingredients and start steaming this delightful gem of a parcel, Classic Emperor Chicken Thigh (药材皇帝鸡)?


 Three Chicken Thighs. Thoroughly clean with excess fat trim.

• These are normal Chicken Thighs, Kampung or Free Range Chicken Thighs would be more flavorful with firmer meat texture.

Traditionally, there are NINE herbs in this dish (google and U’ll see). But as U can see, The Viand is a few short, so the Herbs were definitely compromised. But The Viand introduced a few Ingredients too, just to luxuriate the dish a little..😋.

 Herbs – Huai Shan (Dried Chinese Yam), Yuk Chuk (Solomon’s Seal), Red Dates, Kei Zi (Wolfberries) and Dong Quai bits (Angelica Sinensis). All soak in warm water for about 5-10 mins.

 Optional – Dried Scallop, Dried Oyster (both soak in warm water for about 5-10 mins). Dried Shiitake Mushrooms (soak overnite, not in pict). Chestnut and Ginko Nut (both soak overnite). Click here for the link to how to handle both of these Nuts.

 Sliced Ginger, smashed Garlic and Scallion – cut to 1-2 inches long.


A mixture of Black Pepper, Sugar, Five-spice Powder (Not too much, can be overpowering), Salt, White Pepper and a dash of Sesame oil and Shaoxing Wine.  A dash of Dark Soy for coloring. All to taste.

** Note : Just a dash/pinch of everything, if U prefer a stronger intensity of an ingredient/spice flavor, simply add a little extra of that ingredient/spice – no rocket scientific measurement here. Always taste your Seasoning !!! The trick is NOT the exact measurement, the trick is “to taste the Seasoning” and get ur preference balance of flavors !!!


STEP 1 :

 Start by marinating the Chicken with all Seasoning Ingredients for at least a couple of hrs (longer means more flavorful). Get ur fingers dirty, rub the Marinate in !!! Better still, pierce the Chicken (all over, especially the thick part) with a skewer – this will help the Marinate to permeate into the Chicken.

STEP 2 :

 With a big enough bowl,  lay with Aluminium Foil then follow by another layer Parchment /Baking paper to form a catchment area. Make sure both large enough to wrap the Chicken.

 Lay all Ingredients at the bottom. Place the Chicken on top, pour all the marinating over the Chicken.

STEP 3 :

 First, lift the Parchment paper and wrap the chicken – this help keeps the juice in and the Chicken moist.

 Then fold the Aluminium foil tightly to form a parcel. Make sure, everything is seal properly so tat no moisture will escape during the long steaming process. On high heat steam for abt 2-3 hrs, depending on ur preference of the softness, the heat and the size of the chicken.

STEP 4 :

Serve the Chicken as it is, with the wrapper on – simply place the whole parcel on a plate !!! Not only this presentation looks authentic, the experience of unwrapping the Chicken (even though it could be a bit messy) is well worthed. Because as U unwrap, tendrils of steam curl out, greeting you with the scent of nothing less than a perfect steamed bird dusted with a few aromatics and the haunting fragrance of herbs and spices. Every bit of goodness inside the parcel should be juicy, soft and tender..😋😋😋. And the sauce or almost soup like juice…. simply taste divine !!! And if U want a little more kick, U can drizzle some Shaoxing Wine or even Brandy over. Oooo btw, picking out the tender meat from the bone is simply a fantastic way of enjoying this – fit for an Emperor’s dish “Classic Emperor Chicken Thigh (药材皇帝鸡)“.

Copyright © 2014 The VianD · All Rights Reserved

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