White-Cooked Chicken with Rice, Greens and Ginger-Soy Dressing

by Oct 1, 2018

“White-cooked chicken” is a Cantonese recipe that gets its name from the fact that there’s no soy sauce in the poaching liquid, so the chicken remains white. The time required is about the same as roasting a chicken (1 hour), but because half of the time is spent off heat allowing the hot broth to gently cook the meat, it’s an easier and cleaner cook. This dish, adapted from Milk Street magazine’s Fall 2016 charter issue, can be served warm or room temperature with rice (use some of the poaching liquid for cooking), any variety of greens and a ginger-soy dressing.

White Cooked Chicken with Rice, Greens and Ginger-Soy Dressing

adapted from Milk Street, charter issue Fall 2016


  • 1 3–4 lb. whole chicken, giblets discarded

Poaching Broth

  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves reserved
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 4 1/2 quarts water (18 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 4-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into 4 pieces and smashed
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Serving Accompaniments

  • cooked rice (see note)
  • ginger-soy dressing (see note)
  • shredded napa cabbage or other greens I like to use a baby braising green mix
  • reserved cilantro leaves
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal


Poaching Broth

  1. Remove chicken from refrigerator, unwrap and let sit at room temperature while making the broth.

  2. Chop the cilantro bunch in half crosswise, separating the leaves from the stems.  Reserve the leaves for serving time and tie the stems and scallions into a bundle with with kitchen twine.  

  3. In large pot (at least 8 quarts), combine the remaining broth ingredients and add the cilantro-scallion bundle.  Bring to boil over high heat.

  4. Using tongs, lower the chicken into the broth breast side up, letting the liquid flow into the cavity.  If the chicken isn't fully submerged, weigh it down with a plate.  Allow broth to return to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 25 minutes, flipping the chicken breast side down after 15 minutes.  

  5. After the 25 minutes of cooking time (previous step), turn off the heat, remove the pot from the burner, cover and let the chicken rest in the broth for 30 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a carving board and let rest 15 minutes.  Save the broth.


  1. While the chicken rests, prepare a batch of ginger-soy dressing (separate recipe, link in text) and add a 4 tablespoons of poaching liquid.

  2. Cook rice using poaching broth 1:1 for any water called for in your recipe or rice cooker.  

  3. Cut chicken:  start by removing the legs, separating the drumstick from thigh, then then carve the breast meat from the bone and cut each breast crosswise into 4 pieces.  Discard the chicken skin.

  4. Assemble on serving platter:  greens of choice, chicken, cilantro leaves, and sliced green onions.  Pass the rice and dressing.

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • Save remaining broth for use in future soups, sauces, braises or rice; freeze in 2-cup portions so its easy to use.
  • Ginger-Soy Dressing from RIPE
  • Cook rice in rice cooker or on stovetop.  For stovetop: use 1 1/2 cups rinsed long grain white rice:2 cups poaching broth.  Bring to simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is fluffy, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, keep the lid on, and let rest at least 5 minutes or until you're ready to serve.

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