"White-cut chicken, in my opinion, is one of the great Chinese techniques," says Liong. "It preserves the succulence of the meat and showcases its silky texture. We've made it with a complex yet light dressing to add interest to a classic technique." Start this recipe a day ahead to make the salted chilli.
- 200 ml vegetable oil
- 1½ tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 100 gm chillies in oil (Lao Gan Ma brand)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) chilli oil (see note)
- 1 lemon
- 30 gm long red chilli, trimmed and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 10 gm peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
- 650 ml Shaoxing wine
- 80 gm fine salt
- 20 gm ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
- 1 large spring onion
- 4 chicken Marylands (about 350gm each)
- 30 gm raw peeled peanuts
- 125 ml (½ cup) soy sauce
- 60 ml (¼ cup) Chinkiang vinegar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) mirin
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1¼ tbsp sugar syrup (see note)
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated on a Microplane
- 5 gm ginger, finely grated on a Microplane
- 1For salted chilli, process ingredients in a small food processor with a generous teaspoonful (6gm) of fine salt until finely chopped, then transfer to a container with a lid, cover and stand at room temperature overnight to ferment. Refrigerate in an airtight container until required.
- 2For white-cut chicken, bring Shaoxing, salt, ginger, onion and 4 litres water to the boil in a large saucepan or stockpot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add chicken, bring back to the boil, cover, then turn off heat and leave chicken to cook until juices run clear when a skewer is inserted at the joint and internal temperature is 70C on a meat thermometer (40-45 minutes). Remove chicken from stock, cool briefly, then refrigerate until chilled (2-3 hours). Cut chicken at intervals through the bone and refrigerate until required.
- 3Meanwhile, for crisp peanuts, mix 2 tsp salt with 500ml water in a saucepan, add peanuts, bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until peanuts are al dente (20-25 minutes). Drain well in a colander. Heat 5cm oil in a wok over high heat until it shimmers. Add peanuts and fry, stirring continuously, until golden brown (2 minutes). Drain on paper towels and cool. Peanuts will keep stored in an airtight container for 4 weeks.
- 4For soy dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl. Dressing will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 weeks.
- 5Heat vegetable oil and Sichuan peppercorns in a wok over low-medium heat until peppercorns float and start to turn a lighter shade of red (1-2 minutes). Add salted chilli and cook until most of the moisture is cooked out and oil is aromatic (3-4 minutes). Add chillies in oil and cook until paste is uniform in colour (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat, add chilli oil and cool completely before using.
- 6To serve, place sliced chicken in a deep serving dish, pour soy dressing over, then salted chilli oil to taste (remaining oil will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month), sprinkle with chopped peanuts, spring onions, sesame seeds and coriander, and finely grate lemon rind over the top.
Note For sugar syrup, combine equal parts caster sugar and water, bring to the boil, then cool. Chilli oil is available from Asian supermarkets; Victor Liong prefers the Koon Yick Wah Kee brand.
Drink Suggestion: A German-style aromatic riesling with a bit of sweetness to counter the heat, such as a 2012 Heymann-Löwenstein Shieferterrassen Riesling. Drink suggestion by Masa Nishimoto