Savory Roasted Chicken Hugged by Flavorful Sticky Rice

August 4, 2023

There’s a cherished dish that evokes countless memories – roasted chicken with sticky rice. Reflecting on it, the urge to chronicle and spread the word about this favored recipe could very well have been the spark behind our food blog’s inception. As a child, this meal adorned every family gathering, masterfully assembled by my father. I’d watch in wonder, not fully comprehending its preparation. The longing for it intensified when my parents relocated to China, leaving my sister and me pining for those familiar tastes.

Fast forward seven years and our blog has blossomed with almost a thousand recipes. Each carries a tale, but this dish? It mirrors my family’s essence. And guess what? Now, anyone with a web connection can recreate this delicacy. Even… well, yours truly.

Having introduced this recipe shortly after the inception of our blog, it’s seen our readership surge. So, here we are, revisiting it, presenting it with fresh imagery, enhanced details, and added nutritional data. Our only hope is that it warms your soul as it does ours.

Why This Sticky Rice Chicken Stands Out

Rarely will you spot this succulent roasted chicken with sticky rice outside our home. Sure, there are dishes that revolve around chicken stuffed with rice in Chinese cuisine, but ours is refreshingly simple.

It was my aunt, a true innovator, who thought of integrating boneless chicken thighs, with the skin intact, into the dish. The result? A touch of Western innovation on a traditional Chinese plate.

Here’s the Magic Unfolded:

  1. Removing the bone from the chicken thigh – fear not, it’s straightforward.
  2. Immersing them in a fragrant marinade – think garlic, shallots, exotic five-spice powder, Shaoxing wine, and classic soy sauce.
  3. Preparing a stir-fried sticky rice, blended with earthy mushrooms and traditional Chinese sausage. Oh, and bacon fits in just perfectly too.
  4. Encasing this delectable rice inside the chicken, laying them neatly in a dish.
  5. A 35-40 minute roasting bath in a sea of chicken broth.

When you pull this dish from the oven, it’s a euphoric symphony of flavors. The chicken juices meld with the rice, resulting in a harmony of soft, mushy rice and melt-in-your-mouth chicken. Trust me, the first time I made it, my heart danced in joy, knowing I could relish my all-time favorite whenever the cravings hit.

I won’t sugarcoat it – the process can be lengthy, spanning 3 1/2 hours with some prep work. But, it’s a love-filled endeavor worth every second.

Preliminary Steps: Soak it Up!

This recipe entails pre-soaking dried mushrooms and sticky rice. Ideally, you’d immerse them overnight.

A simple hack: Just immerse the mushrooms in a bowl with water (cool for an overnight soak) and drench the sticky rice with ample water. Let them hydrate for 6-24 hours.

Chicken Thighs: The Bone Removal

Chicken thighs: A crucial element, yet often intimidating for many. Fear not! We’re diving into a brief guide:

  1. Lay the chicken thigh skin-down on a cutting board. Spot the bone that trails along the thigh. Using a sharp knife, trace along the bone, exposing it beneath the flesh.
  2. Gently shift the meat from the bone, make incisions on either side to expose more of it.
  3. Proceed to slice underneath the bone to free it from the chicken.
  4. Once mostly detached, tug the bone upwards, making any necessary final cuts to completely separate it.

Hold onto those bones! They’re a treasure for crafting homemade chicken stock.

With the deboning mastered, let’s embark on our culinary journey.


  • 8-10 dried shiitake mushrooms (pre-soaked)
  • 6 chicken thighs (skin-on)
  • 1 medium-sized onion (finely diced)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 plump shallot (finely diced)
  • 1 scallion (finely chopped)
  • 1-2 lean Chinese sausages (lap cheung; bacon’s a great alternative)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce (additional 1 teaspoon set aside)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or substitute with dry cooking sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder (and a pinch more for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups uncooked sweet rice (sticky rice)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (with a bit extra for garnishing)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth

Steps to Culinary Heaven:

  1. Kickstart with preparations. If you missed the overnight mushroom soak, speed things up with a 1-2 hour soak in hot water. Debone those chicken thighs. Prepare onions, garlic, shallots, and scallions. Segment sausages into discs and slice rehydrated mushrooms into slender strips.
  2. Mix shallots, garlic, soy sauce, wine, five-spice powder, and sesame oil in a non-reactive bowl. Coat chicken generously in this marinade, wrapping it up to refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  3. Transition to the sticky rice preparation.
  4. In a heated wok, simmer the onions until they’re translucent in vegetable oil. Toss in Chinese sausage, letting it sizzle for a minute. Follow with shiitake mushrooms, scallions, salt, and white pepper. Add the pre-cooked sticky rice, salt, and both soy sauces. Mix well, setting it aside to cool.
  5. Set your oven to a cozy 375 degrees. Equally partition the rice into 6 balls, encasing each with a chicken thigh. Place them in a baking dish, pouring in 2 cups of chicken broth.
  6. Mix salt with a dash of five-spice powder, lightly sprinkling it over the chicken. A 35-minute bake should do, but keep an eye, ensuring it doesn’t get too dry. If needed, drizzle more broth.
  7. For the final flourish, broil on a low setting for 2-3 minutes until the skin achieves a golden allure. Be vigilant; it can burn quickly! Serve piping hot and savor every bite.

Side Notes:

Remember, the overall time doesn’t account for preliminary preparations, particularly the soaking of sticky rice and dried mushrooms.

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