Everyone loves this dish—especially the cook, who has it waiting to steam while he or she prepares their stir fries and salads. It’s a wonderful aid in preparing a Chinese banquet.Jerry Weinberg
The best way to make this is bones-and-all, cutting chicken into bite size pieces with a good Chinese cleaver—but avoid using cleaver for chopping through, for example, beef or pork bones. (I bought a nice cleaver for my friends Bert and Ruth—since I regularly cook at their place. Next time I went over, there was a huge 3/4 C-shaped bump protruding from the center of the blade. Seems their son Adam had had to shorten the trunk of that year’s Yule tree. What a guy!)
- 3 pounds whole chicken (or 2# mixed breast and thigh meat into bite sized pieces)
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons oil (OO or veggie)
- 10 dried mushrooms (quarter sized)
- 4-6 Chinese pork sausages (rinsed and sliced on the angle about ¼" thick)
- In a mixing bowl, cornstarch, soy, dry sherry, molasses, salt, oil. Stir to combine very well, add chicken, mix all together, cover and refrigerate.
- Put mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water to cover. Cool, squeeze out excess moisture, cut away roots, slice in half.
- To assemble—may be done the day before. In an attractive 9” diameter heatproof platter with sides, spread the chicken in an attractive layer. Then make a circle near the outside with the sausage. Make a circle of mushrooms an inch in from the sausage. Repeat till you have no more sausage or mushrooms.(I don’t like putting plastic wrap or aluminum directly on food. Here, make a 9” circle of wax or parchment paper, spread over the chicken and sausage, then cover with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator.)
- In a Chinese steamer with at least 5” of boiling water in the bottom, place the top level of the steamer, with the uncovered chicken sausage platter. Steam strongly for 1 ½ hours. Carefully remove the chicken platter and serve it on an adequate-size, stable trivet.
- Decorate when you put dish out, with shredded scallion greens and, if you like, cilantro leaves.
Note from Jerry: Variazione Italiano: It strikes me that you could do worse than making this dish with the same amount of boned chicken as above, 1 ½ cups of a good marinara or puttanesca sauce, Italian sausage (maybe a mixture of hot and mild), plus nice button mushroom halves or porcini. Serve with broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic and lemon juice, plus pasta with garlic and olive oil—and plenty of grated parmesan cheese. Next to Asian food—I love Italian!