One of Cheong Liew’s favourite dishes is Steeped Chicken – good-quality chicken poached whole and served simply with chicken rice and a dressing of fresh spring onion, ginger, chilli and soy.
“Steeped Chicken can also be served with finely minced fresh ginger, rice wine, ground ginger and a little hot oil, in the style of Chinese Hakka cooking,” says Liew.
“Or you can add some fermented cockles, finely minced spring onion, ginger and oyster sauce to some warm oil. Sometimes hot oil is used to caramelise soy sauce and Shaoxing wine.
“To add a special touch, place star anise, ground ginger, spring onion and fresh ginger in the cavity (when seasoning). I like all these options and many more.
“The key to this dish is cooking the chicken with care and sensitivity.“
Cheong Liew’s Steeped Chicken
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 to 55 minutes
1.6 – 1.7kg fresh free-range corn-fed chicken
4 litres chicken stock or water
5cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
1 stalk of spring onion, finely grated
¼ cup salt flakes
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
For the seasoning, squeeze grated ginger into a small bowl to create 1 tablespoon of ginger juice. Next, squeeze the grated spring onion into the same bowl, creating 1 teaspoon of spring onion juice. Add salt and Shaoxing wine, stirring to combine. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken, including inside the cavity. Place in a non-metallic bowl covered with plastic wrap and marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
To poach the chicken, bring stock or water to the boil in a large saucepan and carefully submerge the chicken in the liquid. Return the stock to the boil and remove from heat. Allow chicken to stand for 30 minutes for a 1.6kg bird and 40 minutes for a 1.7kg bird. Carefully remove chicken from hot poaching liquid and plunge into ice cold water to stop the cooking.
Meanwhile, bring the stock back to the boil. Add chilled chicken, remove from heat and poach for a further 15 minutes. Carefully remove cooked chicken from stock and drain. Joint the chicken and slice the breast meat.
To serve, accompany the chicken with chicken rice, made using the poaching liquid and the absorption method. Sprinkle spring onion curls over the chicken and serve with flavoured oil – for example, finely minced spring onion and ginger in oil – and a soy dipping sauce with red chilli and ginger pounded together using a mortar and pestle.
Serves 4 to 6
Join Cheong Liew at the Adelaide Central Market Community Kitchen at 6pm on Friday, September 30, for a free cooking demonstration celebrating the Festival of Asian Flavours.
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