dry steamed chicken

Vietnamese-Style Dry Steamed Butterflied Chicken

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Truth be told, I had no idea how to cook pinaupong manok until I read Erwin’s dry-steamed Rock Cornish hen.  Dry steamed in rock salt – how cool is that? I know right away I have to try it.

I’ve read about a Vietnamese dish very similar to pinaupo and like the traditional Filipino way, they also use clay pot.  Yup, I did a little research.  The chicken is dry-steamed in a clay pot over open fire for a shorter period of time though, about 15 minutes.  As I am going through my Vietnamese phase right now (Japanese, Thai and Korean has calmed down at least for now), I decided to try the cooking technique using Vietnamese flavors.  And so I grabbed lemongrass and lime at the market.  I don’t have a pot big enough to accommodate a huge chicken plus the fact that I’m only cooking for 3; hence I bought a smaller one.  I chose free range as I’ve also read it’s the best to use for this particular procedure and that frozen one is to be avoided.  I don’t normally buy free range thinking it costs more but it’s a welcome surprise to find very little price difference.  Cool.

At home I decided to butterfly the chicken to fit my pot.  Then thinking I shouldn’t let any part of the chicken touch the salt I also grabbed from my pantry whatever I thought would add to the flavors.  The result?  I tell you the cooked bird tastes different from oven-baked or steamed (like Hainanese chicken), as it is slow-cooked in flavorful smoke until tender.  Very much in my ‘Vietnamese mode’ I strongly feel it is best served with nuoc mam pha (Vietnamese dipping sauce).

Ingredients:
Size 14 free range chicken
Freshly ground pepper
Rock salt
Lemongrass stalks, crushed
1 lime, sliced thinly
Few pieces of dried kaffir lime leaves (fresh ones are better if you have)
Few ginger slices

Place chicken breast down on a cutting board. Using kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the backbone from the chicken butt all the way to the neck, removing the backbone completely.

You will see a white cartilage on the top of the breastbone. Make a cut along this white cartilage, and then bend both halves backwards. It will snap open to expose the breastbone inside.

Run your fingers under the breastbone to loosen it from the meat then you can easily pull this out to discard. You can now butterfly the chicken by laying it flat on a surface. You may totally take out the wing tip and, together with the backbone, use to make stock. As for me, I cut off that tiny bone part attached to it.

Dry on paper towels then rub a generous amount of salt and pepper all over chicken. Leave to marinate for at least an hour.

Line with aluminum foil a large pot with thick bottom. Throw in rock salt to cover the bottom completely. Then arrange lemongrass stalks on top.

Completely cover with ginger, lemon slices and kaffir lime leaves.

Place chicken carefully on top.

Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes. I suppose you can cover the chicken completely with foil while cooking but I didn’t, as I want to be able to see how it’s cooking.

It already looks beautiful after 45 minutes. I guess you may cook it more than that to get it more browned but I like it already.

It’s moist and fragrant and the meat tender.

Transfer to serving platter and serve alongside vegetables you like. I had cherry tomatoes and steamed baby potatoes.

Prepare nuoc mam pha as condiment.  Make a more potent version (below, right) and rub on the skin of the cooked chicken.  Condiment recipe here.


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5.0 from 1 reviews
Vietnamese-Style Dry Steamed Butterflied Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Ingredients
  • Size 14 free range chicken, butterflied
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Rock salt
  • Lemongrass stalks, crushed
  • 1 lime, sliced thinly
  • Few pieces of dried kaffir lime leaves (fresh ones are better if you have)
  • Few ginger slices
Instructions
  1. Rub a generous amount of salt and pepper all over chicken. Leave to marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Line with aluminum foil a large pot with thick bottom. Throw in rock salt to cover the bottom completely. Then arrange lemongrass stalks on top. Completely cover with ginger, lemon slices and kaffir lime leaves.
  3. Place chicken carefully on top. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes. (I suppose you can cover the chicken completely with foil while cooking but I didn’t, as I want to be able to see how it’s cooking.)
  4. Transfer to serving platter and serve alongside steamed vegetables and nuoc mam pha (Vietnamese dipping sauce).
Notes
Marinating time not included in prep time written above. Prepare nuoc mam pha as condiment. Make a more potent version (1 tbsp sugar, 3 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 clove garlic, minced, chopped dry chili) and rub on the skin of the cooked chicken.

 

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Iska
I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

13 thoughts on “Vietnamese-Style Dry Steamed Butterflied Chicken

    1. Your dad’s awesome! I’ve tasted quite a lot of duck dishes but cooking it intimidates me. I can only do pan-fried duck slices :-)

  1. I have heard of pinaupong manok but have no idea how to cook it and what does it taste like. Well this looks like an easy and healthy way to cook chicken. How about the fire, does it cook in low, medium or high heat?
    Gene recently posted Sbarro’s Puttanesca

    1. I am using a ceramic hob plus the fact that it was my 1st time to use this cooking technique, I was afraid to burn the foil or salt so I had it on medium to low heat. Foil didn’t burn :-) That was 45 minutes then left it for about 10 minutes before serving. Hope that helps :-)

  2. looks really great…sarap po siguro ng amoy nyan by having kaffir lime leaves, ginger, lemongrass and lime all together. thanks for sharing your recipe! visiting from FTF, hope to see you around. thanks and have a great week. :)

  3. oh wow…i like your version of the pinaupong manok. you’re making me want to grab some money and go to the market to get me some ingredients! :) bookmarked!

    thanks so much for sharing over at Food Friday, Iska
    maiylah recently posted Food Friday

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