This is a short post to describe a (relatively) recent go I had at this classic Chinese way of poaching a whole chicken. I could go into huge detail for my enthusiasm for Chinese food, from hand made noodles to steamed buns, dumplings, all sorts of dim sum, bitter kai lin in oyster sauce, pickled dace with black beans, Szechuan anything, etc etc, but instead I’ll just layout this simple way of subtly flavouring a chicken and keeping it really moist. You basically fill a big pot with Chinese and Japanese booze (hence the name), flavour it with ginger and spring onions and then simmer a chicken in it for an hour. It’s juicy and tender and makes amazing sweet chicken stock that you can use for noodle soup afterwards.
1 whole chicken
1 litre shaoxing rice wine
60g palm (or brown) sugar
2-3 tblsp of light soy sauce to season
4-6cm ginger, thickly sliced
6 roughly chopped spring onions
3 finely sliced spring onions for garnish
Put the liquid ingredients, ginger, roughly chopped spring onions and chicken in a pot, add enough extra water to just cover the chicken and bring it to the boil, before reducing the heat to a simmer. Taste the broth to check the seasoning – if it’s not salty enough, add some more soy. Then let it simmer for an hour.
Take the chicken out of the liquid and strip the meat off the steaming carcass. Chop it roughly and put it on a platter/shallow bowl with the sliced spring onions to decorate and some of the broth spooned over, alongside chinese greens (choi sum, pak choi, kai lan etc) fried with a bit of ginger, garlic and seasoned with soy sauce, and plenty of rice. Don’t forget to save the strained broth for making noodle soup – it’s very, very good.