Chefs' Recipes

Sunda's masterstock-poached chicken with ginger and spring onion relish

A beloved staff meal at Melbourne restaurant Sunda.

By Khanh Nguyen
  • 35 mins preparation mins
  • 45 mins cooking mins (plus steeping, cooling)
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Poached chicken with ginger and spring onion relish
"This is another staff meal loved at Sunda," says chef Khanh Nguyen. "The masterstock is really aromatic and pretty much lasts forever. After each use, strain the stock, bring it to a rapid boil, chill it down quickly, and then freeze it until the next use. The flavour of the stock improves with each use, though you'll need to top it up with water, light soy and dark soy sauce, and every 3-4 uses you'll need to add fresh spices. The chicken is served with a traditional relish."


  • 1 whole chicken (about 1.6kg), at room temperature
  • Steamed Chinese greens dressed with oyster sauce, to serve
  • Steamed fresh chow mein noodles or rice (optional), to serve
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 piece cassia bark (see note)
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 black cardamom pods (see note)
  • 2 tsp Sichuan pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried licorice root (see note)
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 1 long red chilli
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 450 ml light soy sauce
  • 150 gm rock sugar (see note), coarsely crushed
  • 200 ml dark soy sauce
  • 450 ml Shaoxing wine
  • 80 gm caster sugar
  • 30 gm ginger, sliced
  • 5 spring onions, coarsely chopped, plus extra cut into julienne to serve
  • 3 coriander roots
Ginger and spring onion relish
  • 50 gm ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 2 spring onions (equal parts green and white), thinly sliced
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 pinches of caster sugar
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar


  • 1
    For masterstock, dry-roast spices in a frying pan over low-medium heat until fragrant (5-6 minutes). Heat 3cm oil to 160°C in a saucepan and fry garlic until crisp (2-3 minutes), then drain on paper towels. Add garlic and spices to a large saucepan with remaining ingredients, 3 litres water and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer until stock is fragrant (30 minutes).
  • 2
    Add chicken to masterstock and bring back to the boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat, weigh down chicken, cover saucepan, then steep until chicken is cooked through (1 hour). Remove chicken from stock and cool.
  • 3
    For relish, blend ginger and 1 tbsp water in a small food processor to a smooth paste, then strain. Add ginger and spring onion to a heatproof bowl. Heat oil in a small saucepan over high heat until shimmering, then pour over ginger mix and refrigerate to cool. Season with sugar, vinegar and salt to taste.
  • 4
    Carve chicken and transfer to a serving plate, spoon over masterstock (remaining stock will keep frozen for 3 months, and can be used again). Top with spring onion, and serve with greens, noodles and relish.


Cassia bark, black cardamom, dried licorice root and rock sugar are available from Asian supermarkets.
Wine suggestion 2015 Cobaw Ridge Chardonnay. Wine suggestion by Brad Hammond