Scallion Oil Chicken

This is a homely recipe for scallion oil chicken or “cong you ji” (葱油鸡) in mandarin. It’s also known as green onion chicken. It’s really simple to make, while the results are restaurant-worthy :)

Spring Onions (Scallions)
To me, the star of this dish is the scallion (over here we call them spring onion) for making scallion oil. I only make this dish when I can get my hands on beautiful spring onions, either at the wet market, or on a lucky day at the supermarket.

Related Recipe:
See Also:

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe
A perfect scallion oil chicken must have tender & juicy meat after cooking. So it is important to use the thigh cut and ensure that the chicken is not overcooked. It must also be neatly deboned for ease of eating.

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe

Step-by-Step Photos

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe
Lay aromatics (ginger, garlic and bottom white portion of scallions) on a steaming dish.

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe
Place marinated chicken thighs on top of the aromatics.

Cut of chicken to use: The chicken thigh pictured above is the best cut to use if you want to debone chicken effortlessly. Choose chicken thighs that are large and with their skin overlapping the meat if possible. This is to combat the shrinkage of the chicken after steaming. If you have good knife skills (which I lack) to cut the drumstick, you can also use two chicken leg quarters instead of 4 thighs. Note: chicken breast is also easy to debone, but breast meat will not be as tender and juicy as the thigh.

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe
Steam the chicken at high heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the stove. With the lid still covered, keep the chicken on the stove for another 10 minutes to allow continued slow-cooking. This prevents over-cooking so that meat is still tender and shrinkage is minimized. Picture above is steamed chicken after 10+10 minutes of cooking. See all that yellow golden liquid? They are pure concentrated essence of chicken.

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe
Filter this liquid through a sieve to make the scallion sauce later.

How to debone & cut the chicken

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe
Let the chicken cool completely (if you are in a hurry, submerge them in a bowl of ice water) before attempting to cut the chicken. Thigh cut is easy for cutting because there is only one bone as pictured above. Carefully take out this bone while still keeping the meat in one piece….

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe
… then cut the chicken to 3 or 4 sections. Isn’t this super easy?!!

Scallion Oil Recipe
The scallion oil sauce is really quick to make. First slice a few stalks of fresh spring onions. Place them in a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the filtered chicken liquid to a boil and pour it over the bowl of scallions. Season to taste with fine sea salt. The scallion oil should be slightly over-salted for it to be delicious. I recommend starting with 1/2 tsp salt, then add 1/8 tsp at a time until the desired saltiness is reached. In total, you will probably use 3/4 to 1 tsp salt.

Scallion Oil Chicken Recipe

Steamed Scallion Chicken Recipe

The scallion oil should be slightly over-salted for it to be delicious. Season the scallion oil with a little salt at a time until the desired saltiness is reached.

Check out the step-by-step photos on the previous page.


  • 4 large bone-on & skin-on chicken thighs about 100 grams per thigh
  • 4 cloves garlic bruised
  • 8-10 thinly sliced ginger
  • bottom white portion from 2 scallions (spring onions) cut to sections
  • 2 stalks scallions chopped thinly
  • sliced cucumber for garnish

Marinade for chicken thighs

divide equally among the chicken thighs:

Scallion Sauce

  • 3 stalks spring onions finely chopped & placed in a heat-proof bowl
  • steaming chicken liquids filtered through a fine sieve
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt to taste


  1. Prep and steam chicken. Marinade chicken flesh with salt and wine. Rub sesame oil on the skin. Place chicken thighs in a large steaming plate lined with garlic, ginger slices and the bottom white scallion stalks. Bring steamer to a boil, steam chicken at high heat for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and keep lid covered for another 10 minutes to finish cooking the chicken. Filter the concentrated chicken steaming juices through a sieve and set aside.
  2. Cool & cut the chicken. Let the steamed chicken cool down completely (submerge them in a bowl of ice water if in a hurry). Remove the bone from each thigh, and cut the chicken to smaller pieces. Arrange cut chicken in a serving plate garnished with cucumber.
  3. Make the scallion sauce. Place chopped spring onions in a heat-proof bowl. Heat up the filtered chicken steaming juices (on the stove or microwave) until hot, then pour the liquid over the chopped spring onions. Season with sea salt, to taste, until it is just slightly over-salted. Stir well and set aside in a small serving saucer.
  4. Serve the dish. Serve the plate of cut chicken with a saucer of scallion sauce. Just before eating, pour scallion sauce over the chicken.