This process gives you firm chicken with silky skin, succulent from the bird’s juices, which turn into jelly after being submerged in iced water. It’s perfect for cold cuts, chicken salads, and is great cut Chinese-style and served with spring onion oil or pickled cabbage dressing. Unlike master stock, the cooking medium is not kept. However, I find that the liquid has a nice chicken flavour and can be kept
- 1 x 1.6 kg–1.8 kg (3 lb 8 oz–4 lb) free-range or organic chicken
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) shaoxing
- ½ bunch spring onions (scallions), dark green ends only
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 large knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
- Lots of ice
- Ginger & spring onion oil
- 1 large knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
- ²⁄³ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil
To prepare the chicken, remove the fat from the cavity, rinse in cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
In a heavy-based pot large enough to fit the chicken snugly, add the shaoxing, spring onions, garlic, ginger and 3.5 litres (14 cups) water, and bring to the boil. Add the chicken to the pot and return to the boil, then reduce the heat to a high simmer. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave the chicken to steep for 20 minutes (do not be tempted to lift the lid or the heat will dissipate).
Remove the lid and carefully lift the chicken from the stock. Drain the cavity and submerge the chicken in a large pot of iced water, leaving it to cool for 15 minutes. Thoroughly drain the chicken, put it on a plate and chill it in the refrigerator to completely set the juices.
Meanwhile, to make the ginger and spring onion oil, pound the ginger into a fine paste in a mortar with a pestle. Add the spring onions and salt and continue to pound until combined. Heat the oil until just smoking and pour it over the ginger and spring onion mixture.
Chop the chicken Chinese-style, arrange it on a serving platter and serve with the ginger and spring onion oil.