It has all the hallmarks of classic Cantonese village cooking
4 fresh chicken legs, (drumstick and thigh together, ideally with back attached, it holds up nicer when steaming)
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing Wine
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- Pinch white pepper
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large knob fresh ginger, peeled, sliced and lightly bruised
- 6-8 whole scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 8 whole star anise, soaked in Shaoxing Wine or water
- To make the marinade, combine soy sauce, Shaoxing Wine, salt, sugar and white pepper in a large bowl.
Add chicken legs and massage until combined. Add cornstarch and mix well. The cornstarch will help bind the marinade together and give the chicken its silky, slippery texture. Add oil and mix well. Let stand on the counter for at least 1 hour, or ideally, overnight in the fridge.
- Remove chicken from the fridge
1-2 hours before steaming and allow to come to room temperature.
- Place a metal steaming rack stand in a large wok or pot and add enough water to reach 1 inch below the top of the stand. Cover and bring to boil over high heat.
- Meanwhile, place chicken legs in a high-sided plate or dish in a single layer. Don’t overcrowd the plate—there should be enough room around the chicken to allow steam to circulate and cook evenly. If you can’t fit all 4 chicken legs in the plate, steam in batches. Add ginger and scallions (leaving some scallions for garnish), placing them around and between but not on top of the chicken. Place 2 star anise on top of each chicken leg.
- Using folding retriever tongs (or regular tongs or heat safe mitts), carefully place the dish on the stand in the wok, cover and let steam over medium-high heat for
18-22 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Garnish with remaining scallions, turn off heat and let chicken rest in wok, slightly covered, for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove dish from wok, and serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice and poached Gai Lan. Spoon drippings over chicken and rice and enjoy!