Many people associate steaming with bland, boring diet food, but in Chinese cuisine, the technique is used only for the freshest ingredients because it lets the quality shine through. Steaming is the best way to prepare top-quality fish, and it’s also excellent for fresh chicken, as seen in this recipe. Don’t use a previously frozen supermarket bird for this dish; instead, go to a poultry vendor and buy half a fresh chicken. Have the vendor cut the chicken into pieces appropriate for steaming.
Ginkgo nuts are available with or without shells, with the former sold by vegetable vendors and the latter in vacuum packs in the refrigerated section of supermarkets. If you buy the shelled nuts, skip the preparation step in the recipe.
Cut the ginger into fine julienne. Put the chicken pieces into a bowl and add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, cornstarch, salt, pepper, oil and ginger. Combine thoroughly then leave at room temperature to marinate for about 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.
Put the lily stems and wood-ear mushrooms in a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for about 30 minutes, or until fully hydrated. If the mushrooms have hard stems, remove and discard them. Cut the mushrooms into thin strips. Cut off and discard the hard knob at one end of the lily stem, then tie the stem into a knot. If you're using shell-on ginkgo nuts, bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add the gingko nuts and simmer for 15 minutes, then drain. While the nuts are still warm, remove the shell and the papery skin that surround the meat.
Mix the chicken with the ginkgo nuts, lily stems, lily bulbs and mushrooms, then spread the ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl. Scatter the wolfberries on top. Boil some water in the bottom of a tiered steamer. Place the bowl in the steamer, cover with the lid and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through.