My standards for dinner success are pretty minimal in this period of tiny people and their enormous needs, and this recipe for soy and ginger chicken with rice and vegetables fits the bill when it comes to achievable meals (without making me resort to canned spaghetti or grilled cheese).
In our house, the current requirement is for dinners which are a) simple, b) can be mostly done ahead so they’re ready to quickly cook or reheat at dinner time, and c) adaptable to suit the varying tastes of a spice and chilli-loving husband and a hungry but not so adventurous three year old. And me, though I’ll take dinner any way it comes as long as no-one is throwing a tantrum (the three year old) or crying (the three month old) while it’s eaten.
Tips for adapting steam oven chicken with soy and ginger
First developed when I was doing in-person steam oven demos as a simple way to make a complete meal in the steam oven, this dish has become a home staple.
I mostly make it with chicken tenderloins because they’re quick and don’t need trimming or portioning, but sometimes I’ll do it with diced chicken breast, pork fillets or fish.
The marinade/sauce components can be altered to include, variously, ground Szechuan peppercorns, oyster sauce, coconut cream, peanut butter and chillies. All of them work well (though not all together!).
A Mediterranean version with lemon, garlic, herbs and olive oil (and olives?) would be a winner too, although I am yet to try it.
The dish is all in the timing – if you nail that you’ll forevermore be able to prepare and cook a healthy dinner of rice, protein and veg in your steam oven in 20 minutes flat.
I like to think about the timing as you would for an old-school stove top steamer, where you chuck in the things which take longest first and add those which need less cooking later.
Here, the rice tray goes in first, then chicken and veg, and they all come out together.
I’ve given the recipe using vegetables which take the same time to cook as the chicken, but you can take it one step further and add some faster-cooking veg such as peas or asparagus. Just work out how long you want them to cook for and toss them on top of the meat near the end of cooking time.
Below is the recipe in its simplest iteration – a master recipe, if you will – but feel free to take it in any direction you like – that’s the best kind of dish as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve listed my tried and tested variations at the bottom of the post, feel free to comment if you have any other suggestions. I really hope you’ll give it a go, and that it will give those of you new to steam oven cooking the confidence to experiment with your oven.
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Six variations on soy and ginger steam oven chicken
- Switch the dark soy for oyster sauce in the marinade.
- Switch the ketjap manis for 2 tbs honey in the marinade and add a couple of tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds at the end of cooking.
- Switch the ketjap manis for 3 tbs peanut butter – we use crunchy because it’s what we keep around but smooth will work fine. Sprinkle chopped roasted peanuts over the finished dish.
- Use a small can of coconut cream, a few splashes of fish sauce, a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and the juice of a lime instead of the above marinade. Still use the ginger, garlic and chilli, though.
- Switch the chicken for firm white fish or salmon fillets. You’ll probably need less cooking time with this option (around 8-10 minutes, depending on your fish), so put the vegetables in a separate tray and start them a bit earlier.
- Switch the chicken for diced pork fillet (about 1 inch pieces). Cooking time should remain the same.
Soy and Ginger Chicken with Steamed Rice and Vegetables
- 1 1/2 cups 300g jasmine rice or other long grain rice
- 2 1/4 cups 560ml water
- 1/4 cup ketjap manis Indonesian sweet soy sauce
- 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and grated
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 red chilli sliced (optional)
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins trimmed if necessary (I don’t usually bother)
- 4 scallions spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 red pepper deseeded and finely sliced
- 1 head broccoli a small head, broken into florets
- Set your oven to 212⁰F/100⁰C, steam only (100% humidity).
- Mix the rice and water in a shallow tray – I use the stainless steel one which came with my oven. Put it in the oven and set your timer for 7 minutes.
- While the rice gets started, mix the sauces, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, chilli and chicken and spread it out in a second pan - I mix straight in the dish to save time and washing up. Scatter the vegetables evenly over the top of the chicken.
- When the timer goes off for the rice, add the chicken and veg tray to the oven and set your timer for a further 12 minutes.
- At the end of cooking, check to make sure your chicken is done and cook for another minute or two if it’s not. Fluff the rice with a fork, then serve the chicken and veg over the rice, with the sauce drizzled on top.
Over to you – if you try this recipe I’d love to know about it! Share your comments below or on Facebook, tag @steamandbake on Instagram, or pin all your favourite Steam and Bake recipes over on Pinterest!
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