I made this up b/c I was craving that moist, velvety chicken like some chinese restaurants have. You can season it with anything, really. CAVEAT: The skin is soft and pallid, not brown and crisp like a baked chicken.
1A few hours, or the day before: prepare a rub by toasting peppercorns and salt in a small skillet over med-high heat until salt turns beige or golden. You can double or treble recipe and save for future uses.
2when cool enough to handle, grind salt-peppercorn mixture in very clean coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle
3On a clean cutting board, split rinsed chicken down the breast with shears or a big knife. pull breast halves apart and push chicken flat on cutting board.
4Coat entire chicken with peppercorn mixture. Don’t oversalt! You may have some rub leftover. put chicken in non-reactive plate or bowl, cover with plastic wrap, leave to marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or, ideally, a day.
5Boil a couple quarts of water for steaming in the lower section of a large oriental steamer pan, or any steamer pan that will accommodate the chicken laid flat.
Place chicken skin side up on steamer insert atop boiling water.
6Sprinkle ginger and garlic on chicken, then scallions and cilantro sprigs. Cover, adjust heat to med-high for a steady boil.
7Steam for 30-40 minutes, until juices are clear, or meat at thigh joints are no longer pink when cut.
8Serve whole on a platter, or cut into pieces Chinese style before serving. Serve with rice, of course, and a your favorite Chinese green vegetable. Delicious at room temp or cold too, or as a Chicken Salad ingredient.
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