White-Cut Chicken

Photo by wendalicious/flickr

Serves 6.


1 x 1.5 kg/3 lb roasting chicken
2 spring onions with leaves
6 slices fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 sprigs celery leaves
2 teaspoons salt


Wash the chicken well, removing any fat from the cavity. Cut off the tail as described in the recipe for Chinese Chicken Stock above. Choose a pot just large enough to hold the chicken, put in the ingredients and enough water to submerge the chicken. Put the chicken in the pot to check that there is enough water, but take it out again and bring the water to the boil with the remaining ingredients.

Put a stainless steel spoon into the cavity of the chicken as this serves to conduct heat. Gently lower the chicken into the pot, breast downwards, and let the water return to a simmer. Skim if necessary. Put lid on pot and simmer for 20 minutes, then turn off heat and leave for a further 40 minutes without uncovering the pot as this would mean loss of heat, and it is the stored heat which is used to finish cooking the chicken.

Have ready a large pan or bowl with cold water and at least 3 trays of ice cubes in it. Remove chicken from the hot liquid, drain liquid from cavity and remove spoon. Place chicken in the container of ice and water, making sure there is enough ice to cover it completely. Leave to soak and chill for 15 minutes. Drain, put into a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

To serve: The chicken meat may be carefully removed from the bones, keeping the skin intact because this method of quick chilling results in a layer of jellied stock between skin and flesh. Arrange on serving plate and keep covered in the refrigerator until serving time. Serve brushed with 3 parts light soy sauce to 1 part sesame oil. Or have a dipping sauce of 3 tablespoons soy sauce mixed with 2 teaspoons ginger juice (press grated fresh ginger against small strainer) and 1 teaspoon sugar. If preferred, the chicken can be chopped through the bones into bite-sized pieces.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)