Steamed chicken with sea buckthorn dressing

Ching-He Huang peps up steamed chicken thighs with tangy berries and peppery Alexander seeds for a sour and spicy touch
By Ching-He Huang
Steamed chicken with sea buckthorn dressing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the chicken

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 2.5 cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • pinch ground toasted alexanders, seeds
  • 1 large spring onion, sliced lengthways
  • 1 handful baby spinach

For the dressing

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 cm piece root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 medium red chilli, seeds removed and and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 small handful sea buckthorn berries, juice only
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground toasted alexanders, seeds

For garnish

  • 1/2 orange, cut into segments
  • few buckthorn berries
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced lengthways

Tips and Suggestions

Alexanders seeds have a strong, rather herby flavour and are broadly similar to sage or rosemary - so if you can't find them, use either sage or rosemary instead.

Bright orange buckthorn berries are thought to be good for the heart and are rather tart in flavour.


1. For the chicken: place the chicken in a heatproof bowl (that can fit inside a steamer) and drizzle with the rice wine. Place the ginger matchsticks on top of the chicken, season with salt and ground Alexander seeds and drape over the spring onion.

2. Place the bowl in a bamboo steamer, cover with a lid and steam over a pan of simmering water (making sure the water does not touch the base of the steamer) for 25-30 minutes (depending on the size of the thighs), or until the chicken is cooked through. Check the water level during the cooking and top up with boiling water if necessary.

3. For the sour and spicy dressing: place all of the dressing ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine.

4. Remove the bowl of chicken from the steamer. Pour any of the cooking juices into another bowl and set aside. Transfer the chicken to a chopping board and chop into long rectangular chunks.

5. Place a layer of baby spinach on two serving plates and top with the chicken pieces. Garnish with orange segments and spring onion. Add two tablespoons of the reserved chicken juices to the dressing and mix well, then drizzle the dressing generously over the chicken.

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