Steamed Herb and Garlic Chicken Wrapped in Leaves


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

A World in My Kitchen

A World in My Kitchen

By Peter Gordon

Published 2003

  • About

This recipe is just a starting block — it’s the technique that’s important; the flavours are really up to you. You can replace the olive oil with Austrian roasted pumpkin seed oil, add some ginger to the marinade or just use coriander as the herb ... I serve this with a mixed-leaf salad tossed with olives, capers and roasted hazelnuts.


  • 2 chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (e.g. rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil)
  • ½ teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika (also called pimenton dulce)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated mandarin zest or orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt few grinds black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2-4 large leaves to wrap the chicken in (I used Savoy cabbage leaves, blanched in salted boiling water until soft, but you could use chard, silverbeet or vine leaves)


    Lay breasts on a board and use a sharp knife to cut two slashes in the skin side of the flesh to a depth of ½ cm(¼ in). Combine garlic, herbs, paprika, mandarin zest, salt, pepper and oil and rub into chicken, especially into the slashes. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 1-4 hours.

    An hour before serving, take chicken from the fridge, then 30 minutes later bring half a deep saucepan of water to the boil with onion, bayleaf and a little sea salt added. Place a steamer on top. Put a plate in the steamer, this must be just large enough to fit, with at least a ½ cm(¼ in) gap around the outside. Place a lid on.

    Lay leaves flat on a bench, place a chicken breast in the centre and wrap leaf tightly around it. Turn chicken over so that the folded-in bits are on the bottom. Place in the steamer, cover and cook over a rapid boil 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. To test if chicken is cooked, remove it and gently cut through the thickest end – the juices should run clear.