Crispy Skin Chicken with Master Stock

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 15 min (includes drying time)
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Master Stock:

1 cup light soy sauce

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons salt

6 whole star anise

6 whole black cardamom pods, crushed

4 whole cinnamon sticks

Chicken:

One 3 1/2 pound whole chicken

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon malt sugar

4 1/4 cups oil, for frying

Salad:

6 baby radishes, halved

3 sprigs cilantro

1 green apple, julienned

1 carrot, julienned

One 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, julienned

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

Dressing:

1/2 cup oyster sauce

3 tablespoons hot water

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons superfine sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. For the master stock: In a large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 gallons water, the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Tie the star anise, cardamom and cinnamon sticks in cheesecloth, then add to the pan. Slowly simmer to infuse the flavor, 30 minutes, then turn off the heat and cool the stock. If not using immediately, the stock can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen until required.
  2. For the chicken: Bring the master stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, wash the chicken thoroughly under cold water to remove any viscera. When the stock is at a boil, add the chicken. Bring the stock back to a boil and then turn off the heat. Allow the chicken to steep for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the chicken from the stock and place it breast-side up in a colander.
  4. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan, then stir in the malt sugar until it dissolves. Place the colander containing the chicken into a large bowl and spoon the vinegar over the chicken, taking care to cover all of it. Transfer the vinegar that has collected in the bowl under the chicken to the saucepan and spoon it back over the chicken, then repeat the process two more times. Place the chicken in a cool, airy position to allow the skin to dry, 2 hours.
  5. Pour the oil into a wok and heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted into the oil reaches 350 degrees F, or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Cut the chicken in half along the breast bone, and place it in the oil skin-side up. Fry, carefully ladling the hot oil over the top of the chicken until crisp and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Once cooked, place the chicken on a cutting board, skin-side up. Separate the leg from the breast. Chop the breast into 4 pieces with a heavy cleaver, then chop the leg into 3 pieces.
  6. For the dressing: Combine the oyster sauce, hot water, sesame oil and sugar, and mix well.
  7. For the salad: Add the radishes, cilantro, apples, apples, carrots, ginger and dill in a mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the dressing and combine. Place the salad on top of the chicken, drizzle more dressing over the chicken and serve with Dijon mustard.

Cook’s Note

To maintain the stock, add 1 tablespoon of salt and return to a boil. Skim off the fat and impurities from the surface, strain into another pan and allow to cool, then store as mentioned above. Each time you use your stock you will need to adjust the water level and seasonings. Top up with water to the 1 1/2 gallon mark, add 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce and 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, and replace the aromatics about every third use. It is good practice to always taste your stock, this way you will understand if the seasoning and aromatics need adjusting.

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