Monday, April 13, 2009

Soy Chicken in the Varoma

This recipe is based on a recipe in Kylie Kwong's book "Simple Chinese Cooking". The recipe has been adapted and a further adaptation would be to joint the chicken before steaming. That would reduce the cooking time and enable a larger bird to be used.

It is a simple dish and the marinade can be reserved like a master stock to be used again.

Soy Sauce Chicken in the Varoma


1 x 1.3 kg chicken
2 garlic cloves
2 cm piece of fresh ginger
1 cup shao hsing wine, or dry sherry
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
2 strips of orange rind, cut
with vegetable peeler
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1200 g water
4 spring onions, trimmed and cut in half
Cornflour, to thicken sauce, if desired


Place the garlic and ginger into the TM bowl and mince for 15 seconds on speed 7. Add all other ingredients except chicken and spring onions to TM bowl and cook for 20 minutes at 100°C on reverse + speed 2.

Wash the chicken and remove any excess fat from the cavity. Place the spring onions inside the cavity and then push down on the back bone of the bird to flatten it a little. Now, either place the chicken into a roasting bag or, breast side down, into a deep dish that will fit into the Varoma and place marinade in the bag or dish. Leave any marinade that does not fit into the bag or bowl in the TM bowl. Place the bag or bowl inside the Varoma.

Put more water into the TM bowl to make up to 1200 ml, position the lid and then Varoma and steam the chicken for 30 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 2. If using the bowl, you will need to carefully turn over the bird during cooking to allow it to be properly marinated.

After the steaming time has elapsed, if the bird is in the roasting bag and completely immersed in liquid, then just leave in the bag for 2 hours to cool. If you have used a bowl, then carefully remove the chicken to a pot or dish that will allow you to completely immerse the bird with marinade form the dish in the Varoma and the liquid from the TM bowl. Again, leave to cool for 2 hours. It needs to stay in the marinade to cook through.

Once cooked, carefully remove to a tray to drain and cool. Place 500ml of the marinade in the TM bowl and cook for 15 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 3. You may add some cornflour mixed with water to thicken the sauce more. Allow to cool.

To serve, chop chicken into serving pieces and arrange on a platter and spoon over some sauce.


  1. Hi

    This looks great and I tried to use your method to cook a chicken (different sauce though due to diet restrictions).

    Can I ask how you got it to cook in 30 mins?

    I had a 1.4kg chicken and after 30 mins it didn't look cooked so I did another 5 mins.

    I left it in the glad bag for about 20 mins, turning it over so the sauce got all over the chicken but was doubtful whether it was cooked.

    I opened it up, chopped chicken and it was still very raw towards the middle. I ended up cutting it in pieces and finishing it in the TM bowl for 15 mins.

    Any ideas why my chicken would have taken so long?

    Did you do something special to get your chicken to cook in 30 minutes in Varoma?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Sorry Rae, I don't seem to have explained properly - the chicken needs to stay immersed in the hot marinade for 2 hours after the inital cooking in the Varoma. When it is left in the hot marinade it slowly cooks.

    The same idea as the White Cooked Chicken. DO you have Stephanie's Cook's COmpanion? Check out her recipe for white cooked chicken - possibly explains it better.

    Sorry to have not explained it properly.

  3. Hi!

    Thanks so much for the follow up
    I did wonder if the 2 hours was required for it to cook.

    My bag had cooled down a LOT in the 20 mins it was out of the varoma.

    Should I have left the chicken, in the bag, in the varoma for the 2 hours, just not turned on?

    If this is so, 2 questions if you don't mind...

    (a) could I leave it there for more than 2 hours or would it dry out?

    (b) how would you cook the rest of the meal at the same time in the TMX - or maybe you wouldn't?

    I don't have Stephanie Cook's companion so thanks so much for taking the time to clarify - I really appreciate it.

  4. No problem - best to make sure that it is properly explained so nobody dies of food poisoning.

    The chicken could be left in the bag/marinade longer, but best in the fridge after the 2 hours - it will certainly not dry out in the marinade.

    For serving - I would cook rice if using the TM as usual (perhaps a little under done) and keep aside -maybe a bit of butter over it. Then to finish, put some (maybe 500 ml) of the marinade in the TM bowl and then you could place some vegies in the steamer basket and more in the Varoma on the tray. Cook the marinade as per the recipe above - you can put more sauce in and cook longer- depending on type, size of vegies.

    Hope it helps.

    A link for a white cooked chicken the normal way is here to compare - it is only cooked for 15 minutes befor eleaving to steep.

  5. mmm, makes lots off sense - thank you! I really appreciate it