Daily Cooking Quest

Steamed Chinese Herbal Chicken

Chinese herbs are most commonly prepared as soup, but they can be made into healthy, easy, and delicious dish by steaming. Here I prepare a simple dish by steaming together marinated chicken drumsticks with slices of rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, along with my favorite Chinese herbs, which include angelica root (dang gui), american ginseng, jujube fruit (hong zao), wolfberry (gou gi zi), and codonopsis root (dang shen). If you do your grocery in Asian market such as Marina or 99 Ranch, you should be able to find all of the Chinese herbs used in this recipe in the Chinese herb aisle except American ginseng. You will need to ask for American ginseng from one of the shop keepers since most likely they are stored away. I think this is because American ginseng is pricey compared to the rest, and they don’t want to risk people stealing even one tiny packet ;)

Ingredients for Steamed Chinese Herbal Chicken

I totally understand if the task of finding these Chinese herbs on your own can be daunting. My advice is to just show the shop keeper the photo above and ask them to help you finding them. For the chicken, if you are traditionalist like my Mom, she’ll insist on using one whole young chicken, cut up into pieces. As for me, I usually use 8-10 pieces of drumsticks since I think using oiler part like drumstick in steamed dishes make for a better dish. In any case, marinade chicken pieces with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, sugar, and ground white pepper for 2 hours. You can marinade the chicken in steamed proof dish so they can just go in the steamer without needing to transfer from mixing bowl to steamed proof dish, less dirty dishes to wash.

Steamed Chinese Herbal Chicken

Just before the chicken is ready to be cook, stir again so the sauce coats the chicken pieces evenly, then scatter the Chinese herbs along with thinly sliced rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, bruised garlic cloves, and thinly sliced ginger. If your steamer is tiny, feel free to cook in batches, or make smaller portion to fit your steamer.

Steamed Chinese Herbal Chicken

Steamed Chinese Herbal Chicken

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Serves: 8


  • 8-10 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 5 dried shiitake
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised
  • 2 inch ginger, thinly sliced
  • 20 gram codonopsis root (Chinese: dang shen), cut into 2" pieces
  • 20 gram angelica root (Chinese: dang gui), cut into 4-8 pieces
  • 5 gram American ginseng
  • 10 gram wolfberry (Chinese: gou gi zi)
  • 16 jujube fruit (Chinese: hong zao)


  1. Marinate drumsticks with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, sugar, and ground white pepper for 2 hours. You can marinate chicken in steamed proof dish.
  2. Rehydrate shiitake in hot water until soft. Remove steam, and cut into thin slices.
  3. Prepare a steamer on medium-high heat.
  4. Once the chicken is ready to be steamed, add thinly sliced shiitake, garlic, ginger, and all the Chinese herbs. Cover the steamed proof dish with aluminum foil, and steam for 50 minutes.

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