Soy-braised chicken

This dish can be prepared the day before and eaten cold, but it is nicer served on the same day it is cooked.

1 fresh farm chicken (3-3 1/2 lb, 1. 4-1. 6 kg)
1 tbsp freshly ground Sichuan pepper (black or white peppers can be used instead)
1-2 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger root
5 tbsp soy sauce (3 of light and 2 of dark if possible)
3 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp oil
1 lettuce
Radishes or tomatoes for garnish (optional)


Wash the chicken and dry it thoroughly (use the giblets for other recipes), then rub both inside and out with freshly ground pepper and finely minced ginger root (dried ginger powder should not be used). Marinate the bird with the soy sauce, sherry and sugar in a deep bowl for at least 3 hours, turning it over now and then.

At this stage, you should start preparing other dishes, but when you return to cook the chicken, heat the oil in a pre-heated wok or large saucepan, take the chicken out of the marinade and brown it lightly all over, then add the marinade diluted with about 1 pint (600ml) water. Bring it to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 40-45 minutes under cover, turning it over 3-4 times but taking care not to break the skin.

To serve, remove the chicken from the wok or pan and let it cool down a little before chopping it into bite-size pieces. Arrange them neatly on a bed of lettuce leaves, then pour over a couple of tablespoons of sauce. To add colour, you can decorate the edge of the plate with radishes or tomatoes. The remains of the sauce could be stored in the refrigerator almost indefinitely, and can be used for making a wonderful egg dish. You could serve this chicken dish cold as a starter or as a part of the main course. It would certainly make an ideal buffet-style meal.

© Deh-Ta Hsiung and reproduced with his kind permission.