Wrapping the chicken in blanched wombok and lotus leaves to cook seals in the flavours and juices for a supremely tender chook.






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Steamed chicken

  • 1 double chicken breast on the crown from a 1.5 kg chicken, wings reserved
  • 50 g rendered chicken fat, plus extra to season rice
  • 4 leaves wombok, blanched
  • 1 dried lotus leaf, soaked overnight in water

Rice stuffing

  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 100 g cooked warm jasmine rice
  • 1 salted duck egg, boiled for 6 minutes, peeled and chopped  
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce, plus extra for rubbing
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • white pepper, to taste

To serve

  • pickled mustard greens
  • black vinegar
  • smoked chilli paste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time: 20 minutes

Resting time: 10 minutes

  1. For the rice stuffing, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the shiitake mushrooms and fry for 1 more minute. Add the rice wine and cook for 1 minute, then add the cooked rice and break it up with a large spoon. Add the chopped salted duck egg, spring onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and the extra chicken fat. Toss to combine well, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  2. Keeping as much of the skin in-tact as possible, carefully push your fingers between the skin and breast meat to form a pouch between the skin and flesh. Take care not to break the skin. Gently force the cooled rice stuffing between the skin and breast meat to cover the crown evenly. Rub the chicken in rendered fat and season with light soy sauce and white pepper. Wrap the chicken in the blanched wombok leaves and finally wrap in the lotus leaf. Place the wings in a shallow bowl, then place the chicken, breast–side up in a large bamboo steamer basket and steam for about 45 minutes. Remove from the steamer and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the lotus leaf from around the chicken and discard. Separate the wombok leaves and set aside. Carefully cut the chicken breast lengthways and remove from the bone. Place in a warm bowl and serve with pickled mustard greens, black vinegar and smoked chilli paste.



Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.