Cantonese Steamed Chicken

Cantonese chicken

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Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
392 Calories
17g Fat
10g Carbs
46g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 392
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 198mg 66%
Sodium 619mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 46g
Vitamin C 3mg 14%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 640mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chicken dish is one of the easiest dishes of Cantonese cuisine. It’s probably also one of the leanest because the chicken is steamed after briefly marinating it. The traditional way to cook the chicken is in a bamboo steamer but if you don’t own one, a pot with a steamer insert works as well.

It’s up to you what parts of the chicken you use but cut them into even bite-sized pieces to ensure fast cooking.

A key ingredient in this recipe are dried Shiitake mushrooms. They need to be soaked, which adds about 20 minutes to the preparation but this is still a relatively quick dinner to make. To speed up the soaking, use hot water. The hotter the water, the quicker the mushrooms will soften.

The mushrooms, which are also called Chinese dried black mushrooms, add an earthy flavor to this recipe. Soak the mushrooms whole, including the stems, to infuse the soaking liquid but remove the stems after soaking, as they are tough and chewy.

This recipe calls for Chinese rice wine, which you can find at Asian grocery stores. Two products are referred as Chinese rice wine: mijiu and Shaoxing. Miju is the rice wine mostly used in Chinese cooking whereas Shaoxing rice wine with a higher alcohol content of 18 to 25 percent, it is mainly served as a beverage. If you cannot find Chinese rice wine, use dry sherry instead.


  • 4 to 6 Chinese mushrooms, medium-sized, dried

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces, bone in

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 slices ginger, shredded

  • 1 green onion, diced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Soak the dried mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes, or until they have softened. Squeeze out the excess water, cut the stems off the mushrooms, and thinly slice. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mushroom soaking liquid.

  3. Use a heavy cleaver to chop the chicken through the bone into bite-sized pieces. Place in a heatproof bowl and add the salt, pepper, soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, sugar, sesame oil, reserved mushroom liquid, and cornstarch. Allow to marinate while bringing water to a boil for steaming.

  4. Place the bowl on a rack in a pot for steaming or in a steamer such as a bamboo steamer in a wok. Place the chicken pieces in the middle of the plate and surround with the mushrooms. Sprinkle the shredded ginger and green onion over top.

  5. Steam the chicken over boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes, making sure it is thoroughly cooked. Serve over rice.