Okay. So I LOVE this chicken with sticky rice. I pine for it. This sticky rice chicken recipe was one of the first we ever posted back in June 2013. In fact, now that I think about it, getting this recipe written down might have been one of my primary motivations for starting The Woks of Life in the first place.
Throughout childhood, I would request this dish at every family gathering, depending on my dad to make it. How it came together was always a mystery to me. This was especially tragic when my parents relocated to China, and my sister and I were at a loss for how to make some of our favorite foods.
But no more, my friends. Seven years later, we’ve published nearly 1000 recipes (crazy, I know). Buried among them are the recipes most near and dear to our hearts––the dishes we really see our family in. For me, this is one of those recipes. And it’s available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. (Including…ahem…me.)
In the years since we posted this recipe (it was originally published on June 30, 2013…just two weeks after The Woks of Life was born), we’ve gained millions of new Woks of Life readers. So we’re pulling this one out of the archives, with new photos, more detailed instructions, nutrition info, and more. We hope you love it as much as we do.
What’s So Special About This Sticky Rice Chicken?
I’ve never seen this roasted chicken with sticky rice at a restaurant or anywhere else besides our house. There are Chinese recipes that involve stuffing chicken with sticky rice, but this version is a LOT easier.
I believe my aunt (my dad’s oldest sister) came up with the idea of using boneless, skin-on chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken, and baking them together in a casserole dish. A bit of American flair in a Chinese dish!
Here’s how the dish works:
- De-bone chicken thighs. (It’s not as hard as it sounds, promise. Plus, there are step-by-step photos and instructions below. We got you.)
- Marinate them with all sorts of wonderful things like garlic, shallots, five spice powder, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce.
- Make a stir-fried sticky rice mixture with mushrooms and Chinese sausage (bacon works too!).
- Stuff the chicken with the rice and line them up in a casserole dish.
- Roast for 35-40 minutes with lots of chicken stock.
When that pan comes out of the oven, it is like…
The juices from the chicken seep into the rice, and the tender chicken contrasts perfectly with its slightly soupy, ooey gooey texture.
The first time I made the dish for myself using this recipe, I pumped my fists in the air in triumph, because I knew I could have my favorite dish any time I wanted.
I will admit, it takes a bit of time to make––3 1/2 hours plus a little advanced prep. But nothing says love quite like it.
Prep In Advance: Overnight Soaking
This recipe involves soaking dried mushrooms and cooking sticky rice, which should ideally be soaked overnight before steaming (find out more in our post on a foolproof method for perfect sticky rice).
These steps can be done the night before or early in the morning (if you’re making this for dinner), so everything is soaked and ready to go when you’re ready to cook.
Just put the mushrooms in a bowl with water to soak (if soaking overnight, you can use cool water rather than hot), and also cover the sticky rice with at least 3 inches of water.
Allow both to soak overnight (anywhere from 6-24 hours).
How to Debone Chicken Thighs
You have to debone chicken thighs for this dish. There’s no way around it, unless you can ask your butcher to do it for you. Chicken thighs are usually sold bone-in/skin-on, or boneless/skinless. There’s no boneless, skin-on version at the grocery store!
The goal is to have an easy-to-cut-through boneless piece of chicken, while keeping the layer of crispy skin on top. The crispy skin, plus the meat, and the layer of rice are a trifecta of flavor and texture. Also, removing the bone allows the thigh to open up more and wrap around that ball of sticky rice like a meaty little blanket.
Deboning chicken thighs is easy. Here’s how to do it:
1. Start with the chicken thigh on the cutting board skin side down. Find the bone that runs along the length of the thigh (there’s only one bone to remove. Yay!). Run your knife along the length of it to reveal the bone underneath the meat. We find a sharp paring knife works great for this if you don’t have a boning knife.
2. Use your fingers to move the meat away from the bone. Angle your knife towards the bone, and slice down both sides of it to expose the bone even further. You can also scrape the knife along the bone to remove the meat cleanly and avoid leaving any meat on it.
3. Next, point your knife so it’s perpendicular to the bone. Holding the bone up, make an incision underneath it to separate it from the meat below. Slice both ways so the middle shaft of bone (between the two ends) is separated from the meat. Then, slice around and below one end of the bone to release it completely from the meat.
4. Now that the bone is only attached at one end, pull the bone up vertically. Make a few final cuts to remove the other end from the meat.
Done! Don’t throw those bones away. Put them in the freezer, and use them the next time you make chicken stock.
Ok, now that you’re an expert at deboning chicken thighs, let’s get on to the recipe.
Roasted Chicken with Sticky Rice: Recipe Instructions
Scroll down for the complete list of ingredients and printable recipe card. Below, we’ll take you through the recipe step by step with photos.
So the very first thing you want to do is soak your dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water if you haven’t already soaked them overnight. If using hot water, the process should take 1-2 hours, depending on the size of your mushrooms. A good trick is to put a plate on top of the bowl of mushrooms in water, to keep the mushrooms submerged.
At this point, you can also debone your chicken according to the instructions at the beginning of the post.
Also chop the onions, garlic, shallot, and scallion. Cut the Chinese sausages (lop cheung) into small discs. (If you can’t find Chinese sausage, you can substitute 4-5 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces.)
Combine the shallot, garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, five spice powder, and sesame oil into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add the chicken to the mixture and coat it in the marinade.
Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
Slice the mushrooms (after draining) lengthwise into thin strips.
Next, cook the sweet rice (sticky rice).
The best way to cook sticky rice is to soak it overnight and then steam it the next day. Find out more in our article on making foolproof sticky rice.
As I mentioned in the introduction, it’s best to soak the rice overnight. Or if you’re planning on making this for dinner, you can soak it first thing in the morning.
Once the rice is soaked, it only takes minutes to steam it and cook it through.
Heat the oil in a wok using medium heat, and cook the onion until translucent.
Add the Chinese sausage and cook for another minute. Then add the shiitake mushrooms, scallion, salt and white pepper. (We didn’t have scallions when we re-blogged this recipe, which is why you don’t see it in the photo below. Oops.)
Cook another minute and add in the cooked sticky rice.
Break up the rice with your spatula…
Mix thoroughly and then allow the rice mixture to cool.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide the rice into 6 equal balls, and wrap a chicken thigh around each portion, tucking all sides under.
Lay them in a baking dish. Add 2 cups of chicken stock (pour it evenly in between the crevices of the chicken) and reserve the rest if needed during baking.
Combine ½ teaspoon of salt with ¼ tsp of five spice powder, and sprinkle a dash of the mixture over the skin of each chicken portion.
Bake for about 35 minutes, and add additional broth if the bottom of the pan looks dry. Watch it closely, as you don’t want to overcook the chicken.
Once the meat is cooked through, broil it on low for 2-3 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Don’t walk away as it broils! Watch it like a hawk to prevent burning.
All you need is a vegetable on the side to make the meal complete. Maybe a side of stir fried bok choy? Garlicky broccoli is another great choice. You can also garnish with additional chopped scallions if you want to get fancy!
We hope you enjoy this Woks of Life family favorite sticky rice chicken recipe. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!
Here’s the printable recipe:
Roasted Chicken with Sticky Rice
- 8-10 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked and reconstituted)
- 6 chicken thighs (skin-on)
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 large shallot (finely chopped)
- 1 scallion (finely chopped)
- 1-2 lean Chinese sausages (lap cheung; can substitute bacon)
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce (plus 1 teaspoon, divided)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry cooking sherry)
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder (plus additional for topping)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cups uncooked sweet rice (sticky rice)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste, plus additional for toppinig)
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
- Make your preparations first, soaking the mushrooms (if you didn't soak them overnight already, this can be expedited into a 1-2 hour process if you soak in hot water) and deboning the chicken thighs. Chop the onions, garlic, shallot, and scallion. Cut the sausage into small discs and slice the mushrooms (after draining) lengthwise into thin strips.
- Combine the shallot, garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, wine, five spice powder, and sesame oil into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add the chicken to the mixture and coat it in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
- Heat the oil in a wok using medium heat, and cook the onion until translucent. Add the Chinese sausage and cook for another minute. Then add the shiitake mushrooms, scallion, salt and white pepper. Cook another minute and add in the cooked sticky rice, 3/4 teaspoon of salt (or salt to taste), the last 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce. Mix thoroughly and then allow the rice mixture to cool.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide the rice into 6 equal balls, and wrap a chicken thigh around each portion, tucking all sides under. Lay them in a baking dish. Add 2 cups of chicken stock (pour it evenly in between the crevices of the chicken) and reserve the rest if needed during baking.
- Combine ½ teaspoon of salt with ¼ tsp of five spice powder, and sprinkle a dash of the mixture over the skin of each chicken portion. Bake for about 35 minutes, and add additional broth if the bottom of the pan looks dry. Watch it closely, as you don’t want to overcook the chicken.
- Once the meat is cooked through, broil it on low for 2-3 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Don't walk away as it broils! Watch it like a hawk to prevent burning. Serve immediately.