"Picture this: hungry international students left on campus by their compatriots, yearning for some sense of home. We’re desperate to participate in the great American tradition, but we’re resistant to chalky turkey breast and mushy stuffing. To this day, I just don’t understand the textural challenges of holiday food.
So we did what any sensible Chinese kid would do: We bought a whole Hong Kong soy sauce chicken and a pint of fried rice from the local Chinese restaurant, and we stuffed the former with the latter.
In a lot of ways, I still prefer that version, at the very least as an instant bastardized holiday main. But I guess if you insist on putting it together yourself, this is what you need to know:
Make sure you have the right stockpot. It should be tall and narrow, and it should be able to fit enough liquid that would submerge the entire chicken. The recipe below is for an 8-quart pot, but if yours is smaller, you can scale down the recipe for the braising liquid.
For best results, make the chicken one day or at least a couple hours ahead of time so it can be stuffed. To reheat, the entire chicken will be steamed so that all its excess fat will render and drip into the rice that's stuffed inside its cavity." —Lucas Sin
Lucas Sin is the chef at Junzi Kitchen and a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree. —Food52
Soy sauce chicken
(3 to 3 1/2–pound) chicken, free-range if possible
In a tall, narrow stockpot, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Carefully submerge the chicken and bring the pot back to a boil. Immediately strain and wash the chicken with cold water. This tightens the skin and prevents it from splitting during the braise.
Clean the stockpot. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and scallions. Stir-fry until aromatic.
Add water, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, shaoxing wine, and optional spices. Bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil for 10 minutes with a lid on.
Turn heat off and carefully lower the chicken into the braising liquid. Replace the lid and set a timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove chicken from the braising liquid and let cool, uncovered, until easy to handle. Save 2 cups of the braising liquid. Discard the rest.
Sticky rice stuffing
Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over high heat. Add Chinese sausages, dried shrimp, and scallions. Stir-fry until aromatic, about 3 minutes.
In a bowl, combine cooled sweet sticky rice and the stir-fry. Add optional fried shallots. Mix well with gloved hands until thoroughly combined.
Stuff the chicken with sticky rice. About half of the prepared rice will fit inside the cavity. Save the other half to eat alongside the chicken.
To finish the chicken, set up a steamer over medium-heat. (This needs to be big enough to fit the chicken; also, chicken should be at room temperature so it cooks evenly.) Place the chicken on a plate inside the steamer and gently steam for 15 minutes to bring to temperature; an instant-read thermometer should read 165°F.
While the chicken is steaming, make the "gravy": In a skillet, reduce the 2 cups of braising liquid by half. Serve immediately and revel in the synergy of chicken fat, Chinese sausage, and sticky rice.