March 6, 2011

One-pot steamed Chinese chicken mushroom rice

A classic Chinese comfort food is steamed chicken with winter/shiitake mushrooms (冬菇蒸雞飯). There are variations with dried lily flowers but I like the ones with mushrooms best. In Chinese cooking, shiitake/winter mushrooms are more commonly used dried than fresh. The dried ones have a stronger, more umami flavor to them that the fresh ones don't, and the best dried winter mushrooms can be quite expensive!

I adapted my recipe from this one I found online.

The only specialized equipment you will need is a rice cooker (found throughout Asia). Rice cookers are amazing things - see this blog post by Roger Ebert (yes, the film critic) if you need to be convinced of its usefulness.

  • Rehydrated winter mushrooms (or you can use any fresh ones that you prefer. A "meatier" mushroom would probably work better here.
  • I used boneless chicken thigh, cut into small pieces, because my boyfriend doesn't like bones. In cheaper restaurants in Hong Kong, the chicken in this dish can have a lot of bone splinters :(
  • Didn't have spring onion so I substituted coriander/cilantro - not strictly traditional but I feel that you have a lot more flexibility for savory dishes than with baked desserts.
  • Rice + about 2/3 of the normal amount of water you would normally use in your cooker because the soy sauce marinade for the chicken will make up the remaining liquid.
  • If you don't have Shaoxing wine you can use cooking sake/mirin/pale dry sherry/gin. Not quite the same but close enough.
  • It's OK if your rice gets a slightly burnt and crispy crust - that's the BEST part!
  • The main point is, don't worry about following the recipe too strictly, play around with it depending on what ingredients you have on hand and ENJOY. It will be yummy.

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