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Drunken chicken salad with green onion and ginger dressing

You'll need

  •  
  • Chicken
  • 1.5 kg
  • chicken thighs, boned, skin on
  • To garnish:
  • green onion curls
  •  
  • Marinade
  • 80 gm
  • ginger, thickly sliced
  • 70 gm
  • salt
  • 70 gm
  • sugar
  • 4
  • green onions, cut into 5cm lengths
  • 2
  • star anise
  • 2 pieces
  • dried mandarin peel
  • 250 ml (1 cup)
  • Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 100 ml
  • Mei Kui Lu Chiew spirit (see note)
  •  
  • Green onion and ginger dressing
  • 200 gm
  • ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5
  • green onions, cut into 5cm lengths
  • To taste:
  • sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup)
  • vegetable oil

Method

  • 01
  • For marinade, combine ingredients except for Shaoxing and Mei Kuei Lu Chiew in a saucepan with 1½ litres of water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 15 minutes to allow flavours to develop. Remove from heat, then add Shaoxing and Mei Kuei Lu Chiew. Cool completely, add chicken and marinate for at least 2 hours.
  • 02
  • Remove chicken from marinade and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap to form a cylinder. Place a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water and steam chicken over gentle heat for 25-30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
  • 03
  • For green onion and ginger dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • 04
  • To serve, unwrap chicken, thickly slice and arrange on a platter, scatter with green onion and serve with dressing to the side.
Note Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (translated as ‘rose dew wine’ in some cookbooks) is a spirit made from sorghum and other grains and infused with rose petals and is available from Chinese grocery stores. The quality varies so it pays to buy the best; about $17 a bottle.

This Chinese classic has many claimants. Some authors suggest its origin is Beijing while most believe it is from the Shanghai region. I have also come across references that date it back to the Tang Dynasty, but these claims are rather dubious. Because of its long pedigree, there are several ways to make this delicious cold starter. One of the best I’ve ever tasted is at Man Wah Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong – made all the more exciting with the addition of a green onion and ginger dressing. The recipe below is adapted from that fabulous restaurant.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
  • 15 min preparation
  • 45 min cooking (plus marinating)
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
  • 15 min preparation
  • 45 min cooking (plus marinating)

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