Total time: 2-1/2 hours
Equipment required: stock pot large enough to submerge a whole chicken in broth, container large enough to submerge a whole chicken in an ice bath.
3 lb (1.5 kg) whole chicken, preferably free range/organic
3 tsp (15 ml) salt
3 tsp (15 ml) rice wine
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock, or water
8 cups (2 L) water
2 spring onions or scallions
2 oz (65 g) Chinese celery or celery heart
2 in (5 cm) ginger, sliced and lightly pounded
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp (5 ml) white peppercorn
4 cups (1 L) ice
1 cucumber, thinly sliced on a bias
3 cups (750 ml) fragrant rice
3-4 tablespoons (45-60 ml) chili sauce
1⁄4 cup (65 g) coriander sprigs or cilantro, minced
- Prep chicken: Remove innards (if any). Rinse the chicken and gently pat dry, being careful not to tear the skin. Remove any fat from the cavity and reserve for the rice.
- (optional) Gently loosen the joints without breaking the skin.
- Gently rub the outside of the chicken with salt and rice wine. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow to come to room temperature.
- Bring the stock and water to a boil.
- Lightly crush the spring onions and celery into a small bundle. Stuff into the cavity with the ginger, garlic and peppercorns.
- Lower the chicken breast-side down into the boiling stock, and add feet if separate. The chicken should be completely covered. If not, add more boiling water to cover.
- Poach the chicken, as follows:
Gently stir until the stock comes back to a simmer, about 5-10 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Skim any impurities from the surface. Gently turn the chicken breast-side up. Drain the cavity of stock and refill by gently rocking up-and down. Return to heat and gently stir until the stock comes back to a simmer. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for another 20 minutes. Again, skim any impurities from the surface, then drain and refill the cavity. Gently turn the chicken breast-side down. Return to heat and gently stir until the stock comes back to a simmer. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for a final 20 minutes.
- While chicken is poaching, prepare the ice bath.
- Gently lift the chicken out of the stock and submerge in the ice bath. Do not discard the stock.
- Remove aromatics from the cavity and discard. Gently rock the chicken to get cold water into the cavity. Let rest in the ice bath for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the ice bath and pat dry.
- Carve the chicken. Slice breasts across the grain. Let rest for 5-10 minutes to come to room temperature.
- Serve with cucumber, rice, and chili sauce. Garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro).
- To serve the stock, allow 1/2-1 cup per person. Season with salt and pepper before serving. Freeze any remaining stock for next time.
Adapted from the original version taught to me by Ruqxana at Cookery Magic.