Hot, sweet, sour & numbing chicken

The dressing on the chicken is great on fried duck, crisp-fried fish (either whole or fillets) or over crisp-fried chicken wings. You can tone down the chilli oil if desired.


  • For the chicken
  • 2/3 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 1/3 cup sea salt
  • 3cm knob ginger, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 spring onions, bruised
  • 2 chicken Marylands

  • For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 3 tbsp Chinese light soy
  • 3 tbsp Chinkiang black vinegar
  • 70g Chinese sesame seed paste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chilli oil, or to taste
  • 100ml chicken stock

  • For the salad
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, julienned
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 4 spring onions, sliced into rounds


Start the chicken the day before.

For the chicken, place all the ingredients except the Marylands in a large pot with 2 litres of water. Bring to a boil then add the chicken pieces. Reduce to a simmer and cook gently for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the chicken legs steep for a further 2 hours.

Remove chicken from the stock and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, carefully take the chicken off the bone while keeping in one piece as much as possible. Roll the chicken into a log, wrap tightly in cling film, twisting and tying at the ends, and refrigerate overnight to set.

For the dressing, dissolve sugar in soy and vinegar. Whisk through sesame paste until well combined, with no lumps. Add oils and slowly whisk in chicken stock. Check seasoning: you should have a balance between hot, sour, salty and sweet.

Remove cling film and slice the prepared cold chicken into 1cm thick pieces. Place the cucumber and bean sprouts on a large plate and lay the sliced chicken on top. Pour sauce liberally over the chicken. Garnish with sesame seeds, chilli flakes, Sichuan pepper and spring onions.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
Try the Pewsey Vale Prima Riesling 2015, Eden Valley, SA.

Riesling works a treat with this warming dish. Lychee and white nectarine jumps from the glass, and the palate has layers of guava, mandarin and spice. This deft hint of fruit sweetness marries well with the broth's heat before finishing with mouth-watering acidity.

First published in the Good Weekend. Photography by William Meppem and Jennifer Soo. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.