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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
White cut chicken is a gently poached chicken, usually whole, that is then chilled after cooking. For service, it is cut into the logical body parts, sliced, and then usually served in reassembled order to look like the whole bird or parts. Served with a one or a few of some different sauce choices but ginger scallion sauce is most common, geung yung.

To westerners, myself included, this doesn't sound appealing. I wondered why I kept running across this in cookbook after cookbook. I think it revolves around a few concepts of what the Chinese value in food that are not as prized in other cultures.

The hsien taste--Chinese Gastronomy uses this term, though I think the current pinyin is xian. Which means immortal in Taoist contexts, or umami in a food context. Though I see different translations too. Flavor, taste, sweet, pure...

The way I see it expressed in Chinese cooking is that you're correcting flavors with the seasonings more than seasoning directly for the specfic taste. I talked about this once already Need Recommendation for Chinese cookbook

I ranted on this in the runup to reviewing My Shanghai by Betty Liu Phil's Cookbook Reads of 2021 There she used the word pure. When we look at Mai Leung's version of white cut chicken, she calls it Pure Cut chicken, so this usage seems to have some spread in the English speaking Chinese Diaspora

So You blanch tofu to remove the beany taste
You season with a little sugar to enhance the fresh taste--definitely about xian
You do many different things with meat to fix the fishiness or remove off flavors. Blanch, season with white pepper, use ginger, spring onion or wine...

It crops up in a number of Mike Chen's food videos. He usually uses the word sweet for it, at least as I interpret what he says.

In googling on the xian taste to find better explanations, a food additive company, angelyeast kept coming up in the results. Their keyword search terms are loaded with the ideas the Chinese value in their food. The topic is "Pure & Clean Taste" and they discuss xian/umami, and mouthfeel texture ideas.

Pure & Clean Taste
On consideration of healthier formulation and better mouthfeel, more and more manufacturers prefer to use Yeast Extract as an ideal substitute for MSG and I+G to boost the flavor in the recipes. Because Yeast Extract comes from a natural source - edible yeast, and its production is a natural biodegradation process that degrades proteins, peptides, nucleic acids, and a variety of nutritional components of yeast into taste giving properties. These savory properties yeast extract contains make foods taste more natural and yummy, give richness and fullness for seasoning, and balance the overall taste profile.

As a beloved natural flavor enhancer, it works great in enhancing Xian/Umami taste and Hou-feel/Mouthfullness in a variety of food applications.
And mouthfeel leads to the next valued characteristic, Textural interest

Chinese culture values foods texture in ways the west does not. And this covers a lot of texture ranges. In the case of white cut chicken I think there are three textures valued.

The skin. Poached chicken served cold does not appeal to me. But it's often talked about in the cookbooks. The jelly like texture. The fattiness. This arises in part from the cold water shock after poaching, to tighten the skin up. But also helps to gel the liquid trapped below the skin.

The gelled rendered liquid below the skin, a mouthfeel change and also a flavor burst. By shocking the bird, you are hopefully gelling this juice so it can be enjoyed when the bird is eaten.

The tender chicken meat itself. By poaching the bird gently, you hopefully avoid overcooking the bird and keep the meat juicy and firm but with tenderness preserved, especially the breasts.

Ingredients are usually just salt and chicken and water. Size of the chicken impacts timing and the cooking vessel so pick accordingly. Generally birds under 4 pounds are preferred as they will cook fast enough to cook evenly. Larger birds could overcook on the outer portions before finishing in the deeper flesh.

White Cut Chicken originates in Guangdong region, home of Cantonese cooking, Canton being the older romanization. You'll also see Kwangtung/Kwangtong/Kwangteung and more wouldn't surprise me. But those are some I've seen anyway.

But poaching a bird probably happened long before any written records so I'll go no further into that. What makes white cut chicken interesting beyond just poaching is how the method generates the taste and the textures discussed above.


Is nearly universal in just ensuring an opening in the neck and the rear of the carcass. Then dipping the bird into the boiling water a few times. This is to help equalize the cooking of the inside and outside of the bird, as well as tightening the skin. When you dip the bird, the opening in the neck allows incoming water to push out the air in the interior. However, the water inside the bird will quickly cool down and can't be heated easily. So raising the bird drains the water, allowing it to mix and equalize temperature before the bird is dipped again.

After a few dips, the heat is shut off and the bird poaches to completion. I liken this to the falling oven idea inherited from cooking with live fire as your coals burn down. In china, this would have saved fuel and made the stove available for other cooking for the meal. So the historical stove I'm thinking of looks like this.

Doneness tests usually involve poking the dark meat and checking the juice color. I think using an instant read thermometer will ensure no mistakes.

The bird is then shocked in lots of ice water, turning a few times to help it all cool down equally. kind of repeating the dipping procss in a way. When cooled down, hopefully room temp roughly, or somewhat lower it is chopped and served.

I wonder about how this step developed in history. White Cut Chicken is a popular New years dish so perhaps it was made mostly for Lunar New Year/Spring celebrations, and so ice might be available (though maybe not in Guangdong? I think this also holds up with some comments made on the Youtube channel Modern History TV about European knights lifestyle. You didn't kill the bird producing eggs except as a show of wealth and celebration, it was otherwise too important a source of food. Intersting to think about.

Made with Lau demonstrates the chopping thing well and I like his recipe for ginger scallion sauce.


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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm not going in chronological order this time, but more in an order showing the technique and flavor development.

The Frugal Gourmet Cook's Three Ancient Cuisines, Jeff Smith, 1989

This doesn't quite reach the completion of white cut chicken. I include it because it was my first exposure to the ideas behind White Cut dishes (there is also white cut pork that I know of). I would think that Jeff Smith knew of the dish but also knew that his audience would struggle with valuing the dish. I would have. But here we see the multiple dips into the hot water, the off heat gentle completion and so on.

Chinese Poached Chicken

I did this dish for you a few years ago when we fist began thee shows in Chicago. It is the most simple chicken recipe I know. It is so simple that some people have called to say that they doubit it will work. Everyone who has tried it, however, loves it. The final product is moist and favorful. Since there is no salt in this dish you must add whatever seasoning you like when serving.

Read the instructions carefully and you will be very pleased. The dish was given me by my adopted Chinese aunt, Mrs. Mary Young. Please try it.

fill a 12-quart kettle almost full of water and bring it to a boil. Place 1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds, in the boiling water. The water will sop boiling in just a moment or so. Using wooden spoons so that you do not tear the skin, remove the chicken from the water and place it on atray. Cover the pot and bring the water back to the boiling point. Pus the chicken back into the pot, cover, and turn off the heat. Leave the bird in the pot and the pot on the burner, but you will need no more heat. The water will be hot enough to cook the bird. After 1 hour the chicken is done. Remove, cool, and debone the chicken.

I save the skin and bones for a later soup stock. I use some of the poaching water for covering the meat, which is then refrigerated. Some of the poaching water can be used for the soup stock. It has no flavor of its own.

This chicken can be used in the preparation of several other dishes. It is also great for chicken salads, chicken with pasta, etc.
Chinese gastronomy, Hsiang Ju Lin, 1969

This one is surprising to me by using half commercial stock for the cooking liquid but no salt. Canned stock would have an excess of salt at this time so I can see where he's going with this. I like his discussion of how the method and seasoning are focusing on the flavor and texture, those features prized somehwat differently than in the west.

The Best Flavour of Chicken: Plain Chicken, with three sauces: Sesame Soy Sauce; Oyster Sauce; Fresh Ginger Sauce

Cooking chicken is such a delicate operation that it requires a great deal of thought. At its best, the hsien (sweet flavour) is tasted not only in the skin, but also in the meat and marrow. The fat should be fragrant but firm, the meat tender and juicy, the bones succulent, This stage comes at a precise point between the inedible, metallic taste of raw chicken and fibrous dryness. How does one capture it? In the following recipe, these measures are taken:

Seal the skin to keep the juices in. The Cantonese method outlined below requires plunging the chicken into boiling stock, to firm the Skin instantaneously.

Poach but never boil chicken. The white meat of chicken is easily overcooked. It becomes fibrous when the meat shrinks, contracts and separates from the juices. This must not be allowed to happen. Keep the heat of the chicken below boiling point at all times. The chicken which has been plunged into boiling stock is allowed to cool down to room temperature while immersed in the stock. During the slow cooling down of the stock, the chicken becomes cooked.

Time precisely. Since the chicken is cooked by the heat of the surrounding liquid only, the volume of hquid should be exactly such that, when both reach room temperature, the meat is just tender, but the marrow still a little raw. One prolongs cooking time by increasing the volume of liquid. If larger chickens are used, increase the volume of stock.

Supporting ingredients. Ginger and spring onions (scallions) are added to the liquid to suppress the rank flavours. These are essential ingredients. Chicken stock is preferable to water, as the latter dilutes the flavour. The chicken is served cold, chopped up, with any one of several sauces. If a thick-skinned, plump, tender chicken iS prepared in this fashion, no sauce is really necessary.

*3, Plain Chicken

2 1/2 pints (6 cups) water
2 1/2 pints (6 cups) canned chicken consommé
2 spring onions (scallions)
3 slices ginger or 1 level teaspoon ginger powder
One 3-lb. chicken, trussed

Bring water and chicken consommé to the boil with spring onions and ginger or ginger powder. Immerse the chicken breast side down, so that the thickest part is in the centre of the pot. Bring it quickly to the boil again and immediately cover the pot; turn off the heat and remove the pot from the heat. Let it cool, covered, to room temperature. This takes 5 to 6 hours, or it may be left overnight.

Remove the chicken from the pot, discard the string, and drain it well. Rub it lightly with oil. If possible, chill the chicken so that the juices set. Chop it up into small pieces. It is best to chop it just before serving, so that the juices stay in the meat.

Serve the chicken cold, with one of the following sauces.

*4. Sesame Soy Sauce

5 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 level teaspoon MSG
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Stir ingredients together and pour over the chopped chicken.

*5. Oyster Sauce

4 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons chicken stock
2 1/2 level teaspoons sugar

Stir until sugar is dissolved, and pour over chicken.

*6, Fresh Ginger Sauce

2 level tablespoons chopped spring onions (scallions)
2 level tablespoons peeled and very finely slivered or minced fresh ginger
1 level teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons oil

Do not attempt this recipe unless the ginger is very young and tender and free of fibres.

Place spring onions, ginger and salt in a heatproof 1-pint jug or Pyrex container. Heat oil almost to smoking point and pour it over the mixture in a thin stream. Stir the sauce and let it stand for at least 15 minutes. Spoon mixture over cold chopped chicken.

New Classic Chinese Cooking, Mai leung, 1998

The addition of star anise is new as is her translation of white to pure. I wonder if this is related to the usage of xian in some way.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
This dish and the salt roast chicken in the preceding recipe are the most famous dishes of Kwangtung Province. This good unadorned style of cooking and serving chicken is true art—simple and pure.


4 whole star anise
2 tablespoons salt
¼ cup Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
2 chunks (each the size of a pecan) fresh ginger: crush slightly
2½ gallons water
1 fresh chicken, 4 pounds: rinse, pat dry
¼ cup shredded scallions for garnishing

double recipe Ginger-Scallion Dip (see page 313) or Oil-Oyster Sauce Dip

(see page 315)


1. Add star anise, salt, wine, and ginger to the water in a large pot (a lobster or stock pot) and bring to a rapid boil. Immerse chicken in water to cover completely. Cover pot and bring water to a boil again. (It will take a few minutes.) As soon as the water boils rapidly, turn off the heat. Do not uncover for at beast 2 hours. Do not peek, even once, at the chicken during the entire 2 hours because the heat and hot steam cooking the chicken must not be allowed to escape. The chicken can stay in the water for up to 3 hours.

2. Fifteen minutes prior to serving the chicken, turn heat to medium and bring the water to a boil; summer for 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Drain chicken and put iz on a chopping board. Carve and slice chicken. Put on a serving platter. Garnish with scallions. Serve hot. Serve dip in individual dishes for each person.

The Chinese Cookbook Craig Claiborne, 1972

I'm surprised that he starts the chicken in room temperature water and brings it to a boil. He's usually more in tune with common pratice.

Chinese cooks, like European cooks, have a penchant for sauces. But whereas most European sauces are cream or brown sauces, Chinese sauces are frequently made with a base of soy sauce and oil, with the spice of ginger and the delicate flavor of scallions.


whole chicken (2½ to 3 pounds)

Sesame oil *
6 tablespoons of peanut, vegetable, or corn oil

¼ cup finely shredded fresh ginger *

3 scallions, green part included, trimmed and cut into 4-inch lengths, then cut into fine strips

2 tablespoons light soy sauce *

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon dry sherry or shao hsing wine °

½ teaspoon monosodium glutamate (optional)

* Available in Chinese markets and by mail order. For more information see Chapter XL

L. Place the chicken in a kettle and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken stand in the cooking liquid just until warm. Drain, reserving the broth for another use. Run the chicken under cold water, drain, pat dry, and rub lightly with sesame oil.

2. Cut the chicken into serving pieces, then chop into bite-size morsels, Arrange neatly on a platter,

3. Heat the peanut, vegetable, or corn oil in a saucepan, and when it is hot add the ginger and scallions, Cook about 30 seconds. Drain, but reserve the oil.

4. Scatter the ginger and scallions over the chicken.

5. To the oil add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and pour over the chicken. Serve at room temperature.

YIELD: 4 to 8 servings

My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen, Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, 2006

In her Cantonese cookbook, she talks abou this food as an offering to the Kitchen God during the New Years feast and at other festivals as well.
White Cut Chicken

Chicken is a recurring food of the New Year. Its symbol is the phoenix, the bird that rose from its own ashes, and it symbolizes rebirth. That is one reason that I have given my granddaughter her Chinese name of Siu Fung, or Little Phoenix. This dish is a New Year must, but is a dish of choice at other feasts as well. It is called “white” because of its color after poaching. For offerings to our ancestors, it was always cooked with head and feet on, and presented whole, then cut up later to eat.
My grandmother insisted this dish be made with a fresh-killed chicken. Fresh-killed poultry is not so common these days, but if available it should be used, for it is best made with a chicken that has not been refrigerated.

10 cups cold water
3 scallions, trimmed, cut in half across
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 4-pound chicken, fat and membranes removed, washed, cleaned
thoroughly and drained

In a large pot or Dutch oven, place water, scallions, salt and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Place chicken in pot, breast side up, cover and return water to a boil. Lower heat, simmer 20 minutes. Turn chicken over in pot, cover pot again and simmer for another 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Allow chicken to rest in pot, covered, for another 30 minutes. Remove from pot, drain well, make certain there is no water in body cavity. Place on a chopping board and cut into bite-size pieces.

White Cut Chicken is best served room temperature with this dipping sauce of ginger and soy sauce.

Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons Chicken Stock (page 13)
2 tablespoons minced ginger
4 tablespoons scallions, white portions only, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon sugar

Mix dipping sauce ingredients well, divide among small soy sauce dishes. Serve with the chicken.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
All Under Heaven, Carolyn Phillips, 2016

White-Cut Chicken
Báiqiē jī 白切雞


The Chinese name of this dish and its English translation don’t sound very exciting, which might be why such an iconic southern way of poaching chicken has remained a secret to many outsiders. It works like this: instead of actually cooking the chicken in water over an open flame, the bird is boiled for only ten minutes and then left to sit in the hot water for an hour or so. During that rest, the heat travels into the center of the chicken, slowly but fully cooking the flesh while preserving all the juices. The resulting chicken is served with two simple dipping sauces made of ginger and green onion.


1 whole fryer chicken (3 to 4 pounds)

1½ tablespoons sea salt

1 tablespoon white liquor

Ice water and ice cubes, as needed

Toasted sesame oil


3 green onions, trimmed

2 teaspoons sea salt, divided in half

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled

½ cup peanut or vegetable oil, divided in half

1. Start this recipe at least 10 hours or even a day before you plan to serve it. Remove all of the viscera stuck in the back ribs of the chicken, pluck out any stray pinfeathers, and remove any extra fat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place it in a medium work bowl. Rub the salt and white liquor all over the outside and inside of the chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours. Remove it from the fridge about 1 hour or so before you start to cook, then tie the chicken as directed on this page.

2. Note that you should not refrigerate the chicken after cooking, so plan your cooking time accordingly. Select a pan that is wide enough to just hold the chicken and tall enough that the chicken can be covered by at least 3 inches of boiling water—a pasta pot is a good bet here. Fill it with water, bring it to a boil, and carefully lower the chicken into the boiling water, adding more water as necessary to cover it by at least 3 inches. Cover the pot with a close-fitting lid, boil the chicken over high heat for 10 minutes, and then turn off the heat. Let the chicken sit in the covered pot for 1 hour. Check to see that the chicken is cooked through by piercing the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, the chicken is ready. If the juices are pink, return the pot to a boil, turn off the heat, and let the chicken sit in the covered pot for 10 to 15 minutes, until the juices are clear.

3. Prepare an ice bath that is large enough to hold the chicken and place it next to the pot. Gently remove the hot chicken from the stock, drain off all of the hot liquid from the bird, and lower it into the ice bath. (Reserve the stock for something else.) Roll the bird around in the ice water until the skin cools and tightens. Drain the chicken well, pat it dry, lightly rub sesame oil all over the skin, and place on a rimmed plate. Cover the chicken lightly and place it in a cool spot. Don’t refrigerate it unless it’s absolutely necessary.

4. When the chicken is completely cool, you can prepare it a number of ways. If you are eating it at home with friends and family, serve it whole and let everyone rip off their own pieces (see Tips). Traditionally, however, the chicken is chopped into 1-inch pieces (for directions on cutting up a chicken properly, see this page). If you are serving this at a fancier dinner, remove as many bones as possible without destroying the skin or shape of the chicken; the drumsticks and wings can keep their bones. Cut each boneless part into ¾-inch pieces and arrange the meat on a serving platter so that it looks like a complete bird. Place the wings and drumsticks in their appropriate positions.

5. To make the dipping sauces, cut the green onions as finely as possible, place them in a heatproof small bowl, add half the salt, and rub the salt into the onions. Grate the ginger as finely as possible, remove any long fibers, pile it into another small heatproof bowl, add the rest of the salt, and rub the salt into the ginger.

6. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. When it starts to smoke, pour half of it over the onions and half over the ginger. Lightly stir each bowl, then serve these alongside the chicken.

I recommend that you serve the chicken whole and let diners cut off pieces at the table. I don’t really like slicing up the bird before serving it because the bones are sometimes still a bit red, and there’s nothing like blood leaking out of the marrow to ruin an appetite. When the meal is finished, the carcass can be tossed back in the pot to make a flavorful broth.

If you do decide to chop up the bird and run across some bloody parts, you can either quickly steam them or drop them back into the hot poaching liquid to quickly cook the marrow.
Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees, Kian lam Khok, 2015

I don't think letting the chicken sit at room temp for 20 minutes is really going to make a difference. It's still darn cold if coming from the fridge.



Steeped chicken is a classic technique used in the southern provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, and Hainan. The meat is always perfectly cooked and tender. Varieties of dipping sauces can include ginger soy sauce, chile sauce, and galangal sauce. | SERVES 4 OR MORE, PAIRED WITH A VEGETABLE DISH

1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds)

½ cup white rice wine

1 (2-inch-long) piece of fresh ginger

2 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces


¼ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking.

Combine 3 quarts water, the wine, ginger, and scallions in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Submerge the chicken in the boiling liquid and let the liquid return to a boil. Immediately turn the heat off and cover the pot. Let the chicken steep in the hot liquid for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Remove the chicken from the stockpot and drain it well. Test for doneness by inserting a fork through the thickest part of the chicken near the thigh. The chicken is done if the juice flowing out is clear and not pink. You can also use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thigh. It should read 160°F when done. If the chicken is not done, heat the liquid to a boil and steep the chicken again for another 10 minutes or so before retesting.

Let the chicken rest until it is cool enough to handle but still warm. Cut up the chicken by separating the legs and wings from the body first. Separate the thighs, drumsticks, drumettes, and wings, then cut the thighs and drumsticks in half; arrange them on a serving plate. Remove the breast meat from the bones and cut it into ½-inch-thick strips. Add the breast meat to the serving plate as well. (The bones can be returned to the stockpot to make chicken stock by simmering them for an hour or so in the broth.)

Combine the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a small bowl and drizzle this all over the chicken. Serve the chicken warm, with the dipping sauce on the side.
My Shanghai, Betty Liu, 2020

This recipe is not for White Cut Chicken, but she discusses how it is based on that dish and how to adapt to it. Kind of an interesting way to approach it.
Scallion Oil–Poached Chicken
葱油鸡 | cōng yóu jī | Makes 4 servings

This poached chicken is refreshing, clean, and fragrant. It’s also incredibly tender. This poaching method is one of my favorite ways to cook chicken. When the chicken is served cold, it’s a forgiving recipe that’s hard to overcook. The chicken is gently boiled in water with aromatics, then the heat is turned off and the chicken slowly poaches, lid snugly in place, for half an hour. This is a crucial resting period. The still-hot stock slowly cooks the chicken just right, so that while the flesh is fully cooked, the bone marrow may still be pink. If you’re nervous, you can check the doneness with a meat thermometer—the thickest part of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C). After removing the chicken from the pot, you plunge it into an ice bath that shocks it, rendering it superbly succulent and pure in flavor.

There are many recipes in this book that highlight scallions as the main flavor, but instead of the toasty scallion flavor that Scallion Oil Noodles relies on, this dish capitalizes on fresh scallions.

The flavoring is subtle and meant to complement the chicken, so the quality of the chicken is paramount. I like to use a free-range, young whole chicken. In China, people use only one species of chicken for this dish, 三黄鸡 san huang ji, “three-yellow chicken,” called such because of its yellow feet, skin, and beak. This small chicken is known to have flavorful, tender flesh.

You can make this into 白斩鸡 bai zhan ji, “white cut chicken.” It’s one of the simplest Shanghainese dishes and brilliantly pure in flavor. To make this variation, follow all the steps below, but instead of making a scallion oil sauce to pour over it, serve as is, chilled, with a side of high-quality soy sauce for dipping.

This dish does wonderfully after a day in the fridge, giving it time to absorb all the flavors.

NOTE: Don’t break down the whole chicken while warm, otherwise the meat will fall apart. Wait until it is completely cooled, then chop the chicken into slices. For a small chicken, about 2½ pounds, the poaching time of 30 minutes is perfect. If the thermometer hasn’t reached 165°F (74°C), return the pot to a boil, then immediately remove the chicken from the heat, cover it, and let it poach for another 15 minutes. If you don’t feel like making a whole chicken, use chicken legs instead. Simply decrease the boiling time to 3 minutes, and then poach for 25 minutes.

4 scallions

1 (2-pound/910-g) young chicken

3 slices fresh ginger

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine

½ teaspoon sesame oil, for brushing

1 recipe Scallion Oil Sauce (recipe follows)

1.Separate the white and pale green parts of 2 scallions. Set the dark green parts aside. Julienne the white and pale green parts, then soak them in cold water until ready to use.

2.In a large stockpot, bring enough water to cover the chicken to a boil over high. Gently dunk the chicken in the boiling water, then lift it out, then dunk it back in again, two or three times. This step evens out the temperature throughout the whole chicken, allowing for more uniform cooking.

3.Place the chicken completely in the water and return the water to a boil. Add the remaining 2 scallions and the green parts of the others, the ginger, and wine. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and gently boil the chicken for 7 minutes (a larger chicken may need 10 to 12 minutes). Remove from the heat and let sit with the lid on, undisturbed, for 30 minutes.

4.Meanwhile, prepare a large pot of ice water. Gently remove the chicken from its cooking liquid and place it in the ice water, reserving 1 cup (240 ml) of the chicken stock for the scallion oil sauce. Let the chicken sit in the cold water for 15 minutes, turning it periodically to ensure complete cooling. If the ice melts, add more to keep it cold. If you poke the chicken with chopsticks, it should release a transparent, colorless liquid, not a red one.

5.Drain the chilled chicken and pat dry. Brush the skin with sesame oil for extra fragrance. Cut the chicken into thick slices, then pour scallion oil sauce over it and garnish with the julienned scallions. Serve chilled.

Scallion Oil Sauce
6 scallions

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, such as canola or grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

1 cup (240 ml) chicken stock (reserved in the recipe above)

1.Slice the white parts of the scallions into 1-inch (2.5-cm) segments on a diagonal and set aside. Finely chop the green parts and toss them with the ginger and salt; place the mixture in a small saucepan and set aside.

2.Heat the cooking oil in a small saucepan over low, then add the white parts of the scallions and cook until they become golden yellow and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes.

3.Add the Sichuan peppercorns and stir for 30 seconds, then pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the saucepan with the green parts of the scallions. Pour the reserved stock into the saucepan and bring to a boil over high. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before pouring over the chilled slices of chicken.

Chinese Cookery Secrets, Deh-Ta Hsiung, 1993

I include the white cut pork just to show the idea extends beyond just chicken.

Serves 18–20 as a starter, or 10–12 as a main course.

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour & cooling time.

‘White-cut’ is a Chinese cooking method used for white meats that are very fresh and tender. They are cooked in large pieces in a relatively short time, then the heat is turned off and the remainder of the cooking is carried out by the retaining heat.

Besides being served cold either on its own or as a part of an assorted hors d’oeuvre, any leftovers can be used for a number of recipes which call for ready-cooked meat, such as Twice-Cooked Pork (see page 145).

1 kg (2¼ lb) leg of tender pork, boned but not skinned

For the sauce:

1–2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions

1 teaspoon caster sugar

4 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon red chilli oil (optional)

Place the pork, tied together in one piece, in a large pot, add cold water to cover, and bring it to a rolling boil. Skim off the scum and simmer gently under cover for about 1 hour. Leave the pork in the liquid to cool, under cover, for at least 2–3 hours before removing it to cool with the skin side up for a further 4–6 hours.

To serve: cut off the skin, leaving a very thin layer of fat on top like a ham joint. Cut the meat into small thin slices across the grain, arrange neatly on a plate; mix the sauce ingredients, and pour the sauce evenly all over the pork.


Serves 8–12 as a starter, or 4 as a main course.

Preparation & cooking time: 25 mins & cooling time.

1 whole chicken (about 1.25kg (2½–2¾lb) without giblets)

about 1.5 litres (2½ pints) water

2–3 spring onions, each tied into a knot (see page 45)

2–3 pieces ginger root, unpeeled and crushed

3–4 tablespoons Chinese rice wine

1 tablespoon salt

For the sauce:

6–8 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon caster sugar

2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (optional)

1 teaspoon chilli sauce (optional)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Clean the chicken well, then pat dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a saucepan or pot, gently lower the chicken into the water with its breast-side up, and add the spring onion knots, ginger and rice wine. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and bring the water back to the boil, then add the salt and reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes only, keeping the lid very tightly shut all the time. Then remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 6–8 hours; the bird will continue to cook gently in the hot water provided you put something heavy on top of the lid to make sure there is no escape of heat.

About an hour before you serve it, remove the chicken and drain. (The liquid can be used as a base for stock making.) Chop the chicken into 22–24 bite-size pieces with a Chinese cleaver (see pages 38–39), then reassemble the bird on a serving platter. If you do not possess a cleaver, then carve the meat off the bone, and arrange neatly on a serving dish.

Mix all the sauce ingredients with a little liquid in which the chicken has been cooked. Either pour it evenly all over the chicken, or put it out on 2–3 small saucers to be used as a dip.

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11,800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Mister Jiu's in Chinatown, Brandon Jew 2021
This is a complicated recipe and hard to get into the forum. I'll be editing in a few pictures hopefully. The book has fabulous step by step photos.


Food Tableware Dishware Recipe Fines herbes

The galantine is a dish of French culinary mastery, the most notorious of cooking-school final exams. It calls for removing every bone from a chicken, grinding some of the meat to a smooth paste and carefully butchering the rest, and then forming it all into a cylinder encased in its own skin. Mike Tusk at Quince first showed me the technique, and I really enjoyed learning its intricacies. The butchering and assembling we do in this version is French, but the cooking and flavors are all Chinese, which makes this one of the most demanding recipes that we pull off in our kitchen in not just the mechanics but in controlling flavors and textures. The closest flavor inspirations are Cantonese white-cut chicken, baahk chit gāi (白切雞), and the related Hainan chicken, two dishes that require their own show of mastery. To make white-cut chicken, you poach a whole chicken (preferably small, male, and castrated) in a concentrated chicken stock multiple times until the meat is just seconds away from set, then shock it in cold water to tighten up the skin, before cleaving it just so at the bones to expose the red marrow. You serve it reconstructed with a side of green onion–ginger sauce. Both the galantine and white-cut chicken are served cold or room temperature and require precision. Both are about eating the whole animal—dark meat, light meat, skin, and bones made into stock. To me, our white-cut galantine isn’t so much showing off as it is about how cultures can think differently of what’s “delicious” and “refined” and still meet at the same place.

Active Time — 3½ hours

Plan Ahead — You’ll need about 12 hours for chilling and poaching the meat, gelling the aspic (optional), and overnight for setting it in the refrigerator, plus time to make Chicken Stock and Wok Salt

Makes 16 servings

Special Equipment — Food processor, boning knife, cheesecloth, kitchen twine

Chicken Galantine

1 Tbsp neutral oil

¾ cup / 45g thinly sliced (crosswise) green onions

⅓ cup / 45g finely chopped celery

One 4-lb / 1.8kg whole chicken

3½ Tbsp cold heavy cream

Kosher salt

2½ to 3½ qt / 2.4 to 3.3L cold Chicken Stock (this page)

Green Onion–Ginger Sauce

½ cup / 30g thinly sliced (crosswise) green onions

⅓ cup / 50g peeled and minced ginger

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp granulated sugar

⅓ cup / 80ml unrefined peanut oil

5 egg whites, at room temperature

1½ lb / 680g ground chicken

1 Tbsp peeled and coarsely chopped ginger

1 Tbsp thinly sliced (crosswise) green onions

1 tsp white peppercorns

One ¼-oz / 7g envelope powdered gelatin

2 Tbsp minced shallot

2 Tbsp sweet potato vinegar

1 lb / 450g haricots verts, tops trimmed

1 tsp light soy sauce (生抽, sāng chāu)

Wok Salt (see this page)

Crushed roasted, unsalted peanuts for sprinkling

Chervil for sprinkling

To make the galantine: Warm a wok or small frying pan over medium heat. Add the neutral oil and heat it a few seconds. Add the green onions and celery and cook until just tender but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.

Have a large plate or baking sheet handy for the galantine parts, as well as a plate for bones and scraps.

Position the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board with the legs facing you. Keeping the skin intact in one piece, use a boning knife to cut a vertical line down the backbone through the skin from the neck to the tail until you hit bone.

Working with one side at a time, pull the skin away from the backbone and cut it and any meat, including the oyster, attached to the skin away from the bones by sliding the knife along the rib cage. When you get to the ball joint where the thigh attaches to the backbone, dislocate the thighbone by pushing it up. This will expose the ball joint; cut around it so that you can keep cutting down, stopping when you get to the skin covering the breasts.

Dislocate and pop up the ball joint where the drumette of the wing attaches to the backbone, toward you to expose it, then cut around the joint. When both sides are done, the chicken should lie flat like a book with the spine at the center.

Lift the chicken at the neck to locate the V-shaped wishbone at the base. Hold on to the wishbone as you pull the neck, backbone (with the tenderloin still attached), and rib cage up and away from the rest of the bird. – Cut off the wings at the drumettes. There will be holes in the skin where the wings were; cut from the holes to the edge of the skin so that the skin can lay flat. Place the wishbone, backbone, and wings on the bone plate.

Using your hands and the knife as needed, carefully separate as much of the skin from the legs as you can. When you get near the bony end of the drumstick, pull the leg and skin in opposite directions so that you can remove the whole leg from the skin, like taking off a tight shirt. There will be holes in the skin where the drumsticks were; once again, cut from the holes to the edge of the skin so that the skin can lay flat.

Cut between the meat on the breasts just until you hit the skin. Peel each breast from the skin. Trim off any scraps of meat still clinging to the skin and place on the galantine plate. Being careful not to puncture the skin, scrape off and discard any pockets of fat or blood. If you have a cooking vessel that’s at least 15 inches long, like a fish poacher, keep the skin in one piece to make one long galantine. Otherwise, cut the skin in half from the neck to the tail to make two galantines, then transfer to the galantine plate.

Hand Plant Wood Gesture Trunk

Cut the breasts lengthwise into ½-inch-wide strips, then transfer to the galantine plate. Cut the tenders (the long strips of meat) out of the breastbone, trim off any white slivers of tendon, and place on the galantine plate.

Separate the thighs and drumsticks by cutting through the joint between them (if you have trouble finding the joint, dislocate the thighbone first by pushing it up toward you). Cut and scrape the meat from the thighbone, removing any thin white slivers of tendons or bone fragments. Small-dice the thigh meat, then run your knife through it a few more times so that it’s a little stickier. Transfer to the galantine plate.

Cut the meat off the drumsticks the same way, again removing all the tendons or bone fragments. Small-dice the drumstick meat and any reserved scraps of meat, then run your knife through it until it’s stickier than the thigh meat. Transfer to the galantine plate.

At this point, the galantine plate should have breast strips, two tenders, diced thigh and drumstick meat, and one or two pieces of chicken skin. Save the wings, carcass, and any other trimmings for making stock.

Cut the tenders crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Weigh the tenders and add enough chicken breast strips until you reach 5 ¼ oz / 150g. Place back on the plate in a separate pile.

Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and setting a medium bowl inside.

Transfer the thigh and drumstick meat to the bowl set over the ice bath, so that the meat stays cold. Place the chopped tenders/breasts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse about ten times, until it balls up around the blade. Check for and remove any stray tendons. With the motor running, slowly pour in the cream and process, stopping the motor and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until very smooth and gluey in texture, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the thigh meat, making sure to scrape everything off of the food processor blade.

Add the green onion mixture to the bowl, weigh the contents of the bowl, then calculate and add 2 percent of the weight in salt. Mix until this farce is thoroughly incorporated. Weigh the chicken breast strips, then calculate and toss with 2 percent of the weight in salt. Set both aside in the refrigerator.

Dampen the counter with a few drops of water to help sheets of plastic wrap stick. For one galantine, use two slightly overlapping sheets that are 24 inches long. (For two galantines, use two separate sheets that are 20 inches long.) Position the skin(s) smooth-side up with the legs closest to you on the bottom third of the plastic wrap, arranging gently so there are no major gaps.

Portion the farce into halves (or fourths, if doing two galantines). Spread one portion of the farce across the center of the skin(s) in a band, leaving a 2-inch border on both sides of the length of the skin. Stack the chicken breast strips over the farce. Spread another portion of the farce over the top, using an offset spatula or table knife to mold and smooth the farce to completely cover the strips. (Repeat with the second galantine, if making.)

Food Hand Ingredient Recipe Animal product

Fold the skin on the sides over the farce, then tightly roll up from the bottom. It’s okay if there are a few small patches not covered with skin, but the skin should be perfectly smooth. Roll it up tightly in the plastic wrap. Twist the plastic wrap on one end as tight as you can and tie a knot as close to the galantine as you can. Holding on to both ends, roll the galantine along the counter a few times to tighten the plastic wrap. Twist and knot the other end. The bundle should feel taut like a balloon. If you find you’re not getting the plastic tight enough, hold the roll vertically while twisting and let gravity help. Set aside in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Line the counter with one 24 x 20-inch (or two 20 x 16-inch) sheet(s) of cheesecloth. Cut the ends off of the plastic wrap on the galantine(s), then carefully unwrap and place near the bottom of the cheesecloth. Working slowly and carefully, roll the galantine up as tightly as possible in the cheesecloth. After each roll, it’s best to smooth the cheesecloth over the galantine and pull the remaining cheesecloth taut before continuing to roll. Twist the cheesecloth on one end as tight as you can and tie a knot as close to the galantine as you can. Tie kitchen twine between the knot and the galantine to make it even tighter. Holding on to the tied end and the loose end, roll the galantine along the counter a few times to tighten the cheesecloth. Twist and tie the other end with a knot and kitchen twine. Set aside in the refrigerator for 2 hours more.

Place the chilled galantine(s) in a fish poacher, large pot, or Dutch oven wide enough that the galantine(s) sit flat. Add enough cold chicken stock to cover by ½ inch, keeping track of how much stock you use, then add 1½ tsp kosher salt for every 1 qt / 950ml stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit until room temperature, about 4 hours (the galantine will cook in the residual heat). Transfer to the refrigerator, still in the poaching liquid, and let sit overnight.

To make the sauce: In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the green onions, ginger, salt, and sugar. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the peanut oil until it is just starting to smoke. Pour over the green onions and ginger and stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes, then cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Remove the galantine(s) from the stock, unwrap and discard the cheesecloth, and then rewrap tightly in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator. Place the stock in a large pot, preferably one that is tall instead of wide.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the ground chicken, ginger, green onions, and peppercorns and fold until combined. Place in the cold stock and spread into an even layer. Warm over medium heat until it reaches a bare simmer and the egg mixture coagulates and forms what is called a “raft” at the top.

Poke and scoop out a hole about 3 inches wide in the center of the raft. Do not stir, but continue to cook at a low-enough temperature that the stock is moving but bubbles don’t break the surface and it never comes to a boil. Occasionally ladle out some stock through the hole and pour it over the raft, which acts as a filter, until the stock is very clear and now a consommé, about 45 minutes.

Line a fine-mesh strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and fit over a large bowl.

Ladle out the consommé through the hole into the prepared strainer (nudge the raft aside if needed), stopping when it gets too difficult to scoop out just the liquid. Discard the raft and the contents of the strainer.

Transfer 1¾ cups / 415ml of the consommé into a small saucepan. Transfer ¼ cup / 60ml consommé into a small bowl and refrigerate until chilled. (Save the rest of the consommé for sipping or using for soup.)

Sprinkle the gelatin over the chilled consommé and stir so all the gelatin is hydrated. Let sit while you bring the saucepan of consommé back to a boil. Remove the consommé from the heat and whisk in the hydrated gelatin until dissolved. Transfer to a 1-pint container. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate until it sets into a savory jelly, about 2 hours.

Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water (it should remind you of seawater) to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl by filling it with ice cubes and a little water.

In a small bowl, stir together the shallot and vinegar.

Drop the haricots verts in the boiling water and blanch until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain the haricots verts, then place in the ice bath. When cooled, remove from the water and pat dry.

Drain the vinegar from the shallots, then place the shallots in a large bowl. Add the haricots verts, soy sauce, ¼ cup / 120ml green onion–ginger sauce, and ¾ tsp wok salt and toss to combine. Taste and season with more green onion–ginger sauce or wok salt as needed.

Unwrap the galantine(s) and cut into ½-inch-thick slices. Top with dollops of aspic jelly and sprinkle with peanuts and chervil. Serve with the haricots verts salad alongside.

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11,800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hainanese Chicken Rice is an evolution of White Cut Chicken. It's a descendant also of Wenchang chicken, a white cut chicken dish from Wenchang region specifically using Wenchang breed of chickens said to have a special flavor from the coconut in their diet.

Most often, I see Hainanese Chicken Rice served as three dishes: the chicken (garnished with cucumber), the rice, and the soup. And one to multiples of sauces: sambal, ginger, sweet soy.

To my taste, the extra aromatics seasoning the chicken and creating a stock while cooking; Then using the chicken fat and stock to make a rice pilaf and serving the soup as well all elevate this above White Cut Chicken with out appreciably complicating the process.

All Under Heaven, Carolyn Phillips

Hainan Chicken and Rice
Hǎinán jī fàn 海南雞飯


If you’ve ever been to Southeast Asia, you’ve probably tried Hainan Chicken and Rice. It is the most famous dish to have emerged from China’s second-largest island, and it was most likely brought to the more tropical parts of Southeast Asia by Chinese immigrants. It developed out of another local specialty, Wénchāng jī 文昌雞 (Wenchang village chicken), a similar dish that is also popular on Hainan.

This recipe is basically the same as White-Cut Chicken, but it includes rice that has been cooked with the leftover chicken stock. As with White-Cut Chicken, the secret lies in the timing: the bird must be poached all the way through but not cooked so much that it begins to dry out. I recommend serving this with any—or even all—of the four dipping sauces described here.


1 whole frying chicken (3 to 4 pounds)

1½ teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon white liquor

Boiling water, as needed

Toasted sesame oil


2 cups long-grain white rice, like jasmine

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

3 bay leaves

5 slices fresh ginger

2 green onions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

½ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

3 cups stock from the chicken (including the fat)


A 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

B 2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon pale rice vinegar

1 tablespoon black vinegar

2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

C 3 red jalapeño peppers, finely diced

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or pale rice vinegar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Sugar to taste

D Fresh limes

Cilantro sprigs

1. Prepare the chicken as directed for White-Cut Chicken up through Step 3. Do not cut it up yet and reserve the poaching liquid for cooking the rice.

2. Rinse the rice and drain it well. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the bay leaves, ginger, green onions, and salt. Mix them around in the oil until you can smell their fragrance, then toss in the raw rice. Stir-fry the rice until it begins to turn opaque. Stir in the stock, bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to very low. Slowly cook the rice for 17 to 20 minutes, until the stock has been completely absorbed and the rice is fluffy. Turn off the heat, cover the wok, and let the rice steam while you prepare the rest of the meal. Just before serving, pluck out and discard the bay leaves, ginger, and green onions.

3. You can make as many of the sauces as you like. To make sauces A, B, and C, combine all of their respective recipe ingredients in a small pan and cook lightly and quickly over high heat. You just want to take off the raw edge of the aromatics and seasonings, so as soon as they come to a boil, pour each sauce into a separate small heatproof bowl and taste and adjust the seasoning. To make sauce D, slice the limes and coarsely chop the cilantro. (Diners can squeeze the lime over the chicken and sprinkle the cilantro over top.)

4. If you want to serve the chicken cut into pieces, now is the time to do it (for directions on how to properly cut up a chicken, see this page), but that’s not how I like it. If you’re like me and prefer to make this chicken even juicier, heat up the stock to a simmer, turn off the heat, and then place the whole chicken back in the stock for a minute or two to warm it up. Remove the chicken, reserving the stock, then place it on a rimmed plate. Pull off all the meat with your fingers and reduce the meat to bite-sized pieces. Cut the skin into thin shreds. Return the bones to the stock and serve this broth at the end of the meal.

5. Have ready 4 dinner plates, and a single rice bowl to use as a mold. To serve, scoop a quarter of the rice into the bowl, smooth off the top, and then turn the bowl upside down onto a dinner plate to unmold. Repeat with the rest of the rice and plates. Arrange the chicken alongside and on top of the rice. Serve while everything is still hot, and pass around whatever dipping sauces you’re using.

HAINAN’S CULINARY CULTURE ENCOMPASSES the Leizhou Peninsula, which stretches from the Guangdong mainland down toward Hainan. In the port city of Zhanjiang, in particular, the foods and language show a distinct relationship with Southern Fujian and Chaozhou, rather than with Guangdong.

The original inhabitants of Hainan were most likely the Li people, who still constitute the largest minority on the island. Calling themselves the Hlal, they—like the native people of Southern Fujian—are probably descendants of the ancient Yue tribe (see this page) who settled there millennia ago, and they retain remnants of their unique language, customs, and culture.

However, South Fujian and Chaozhou flavors are what define Hainan’s foods. Pounded sticky rice, or ciba, is filled with crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, sugar, and coconut. Dough made out of sticky or regular rice is sometimes flavored with fresh coconut milk and the emerald green of aromatic pandan leaves (see this page) to make luxurious treats.

Rice is beloved in savory dishes, too. Hainan’s tamales, or zongzi, are stuffed with salted egg yolks, pork, and chicken, and the outer layer of sticky rice is scented with banana leaf wrappers, a stunning combination of tropical flavors mingled with the taste of a distant culinary homeland.

Until only a few decades ago, Hainan and its surrounding islets were administered as part of Guangdong Province, and that is probably why some of the local dishes, such as Hainan Chicken and Rice, have such a distinctly Cantonese cast. Chickens and goats do not require much in the way of care or grazing land, so they are the main food animals in the rain forests that cover much of the island.
Makan, Elizabeth Haigh, withdrawn. While withdrawn from print for plagiarism, I have a copy and I have made this version. So I want to include it as I can discuss it from experience. I think the use of Pandan is important to the dish.
Hainanese Chicken Rice

I remember watching my mum making this dish. My version here is how my mum would cook it. It’s really difficult because there’s no defined rule about how to make it, but is all about tasting and using your senses to suit your preferences. Its success depends on the ingredients you use and the time and effort you put in to make it right. You certainly can’t rush it and you need to take care with all of the components – some would say that the rice is more important than the poached chicken. My favourite memory of this dish is my mum Asian-squatting on the newspaper-covered floor and using her scarily intimidating cleaver to smash down through the chicken bones with surgical precision. I don’t recommend doing this unless you are happy to have chicken bones in your food – I joint the chicken to serve. Be sure to use a good-quality, free-range bird no bigger than 1.2kg as otherwise it would take too long to poach. If cooking for more people, I recommend using two smaller birds rather than one larger one, as this gives a better flavour to the stock.

Many people don’t realise that chicken fat is key to this dish. Ask your butcher for chicken skin or fat, which they normally would give you free. Failing that, the inner cavity of supermarket chickens normally has fat pockets that you can just tear out.


3–4 litres water, depending on the size of the chicken

a thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and thickly sliced

3–4 pandan leaves, tied into a knot

a 1–1.2kg chicken, inside fat removed and reserved

8 garlic cloves, smashed

toasted sesame oil for coating

fine sea salt

For the rice

2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (see method), or cooking oil

8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

a thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and thickly sliced

480g Thai jasmine rice, rinsed

3–4 pandan leaves, tied into a knot

a pinch of fine sea salt (optional)

For the soup

reserved reduced chicken stock (see method)

½ teaspoon white pepper

watercress or thinly sliced Chinese leaves (optional)

For the chilli sauce

10–12 (180g) fresh, medium-hot, red Dutch chillies, deseeded and chopped

5–6 (8g) bird’s eye chillies (optional)

3 garlic cloves, peeled

5 slices (12g) of root ginger, peeled

2 tablespoons caster sugar

4 tablespoons white rice vinegar

1 tablespoon chicken stock

1 teaspoon sea salt

lime juice to taste

For the garlic and ginger sauce

5 garlic cloves, peeled and blanched

a slice of root ginger, peeled

50ml hot reserved reduced chicken stock (see method)

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon salt

For the dressing

2 tablespoons rice wine (shaoxing or sake)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

To serve

1 cucumber, peeled and thickly sliced

small bunch of coriander, leaves picked

2 spring onions (white parts), julienned (reserve the green tops for the stock)

kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) for dipping (optional)

Use a large stockpot that is taller than it is wide, as you want the chicken to be just covered with enough water to poach it. Heat the water in the pot. Add trimmings from the ginger and the pandan leaves to flavour the stock as well as the green parts of the spring onions for garnish.

Rub the chicken generously with fine sea salt all over the skin and inside the cavity, then rinse off with cold water. This gives you a much smoother skin finish, so don’t skip this step (be careful when rinsing not to splash all around the kitchen, and make sure to wash your hands after handling the chicken). Stuff the chicken with the garlic, ginger and pandan leaves. Set aside ready to poach.

Put any chicken fat and/or skin you have gathered into a saucepan and render the fat on a medium heat. Set the rendered fat aside.

When the water in the stockpot comes to the boil, it’s ready for the chicken. Hold it over the pot and either dunk the chicken into the water to fill the cavity, then lift it out, or ladle the hot water into the cavity of the chicken. The objective is to help warm the chicken through for a more even poach. Place the chicken back in the water and turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer. Cover and poach for about 30 minutes.

Check to see if the chicken is cooked – the meatiest part behind the thigh should register 73°C on a probe thermometer. If it doesn’t, remove the pot from the heat and leave the chicken to cook in the residual heat of the water for a further 20 minutes or until it reaches temperature. Cooking time will depend on the size of the bird.

Lift the chicken out of the stock and place immediately in an ice-bath that’s seasoned with fine sea salt. Cool for 15 minutes to prevent the chicken from overcooking and to ensure that prized glutinous skin. (If you would prefer to have warm meat, omit the ice-bath.) Transfer the chicken to a tray and pat dry, then coat with toasted sesame oil. Leave to rest for at least 15 minutes (total resting time from cooking is around 30 minutes if you have skipped the ice-bath stage).

While the chicken is resting, taste the chicken stock and season with salt if necessary, then use some of the stock to cook the rice. Heat up a wok with the rendered chicken fat (or cooking oil), add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for 3–4 minutes to release the fragrance. Add the rice and stir in quickly to coat each grain with the rendered fat, garlic and ginger. Transfer the rice mixture to the rice cooker. Add 550ml of the chicken stock, the pandan leaves and salt (if needed). Turn on the rice cooker to cook.

Reduce the remaining stock to about 2 litres, season with the pepper and keep hot.

While the stock is reducing, prep the sauces to go with the chicken rice, the dressing and the garnishes. Put all the ingredients for the chilli sauce into a blender and blend until smooth. (How much chilli you use depends on how spicy you want the sauce to be; for a less spicy sauce, add more lime juice and stock.) Pour into a bowl. Put the ingredients for the garlic and ginger sauce into the cleaned blender and blend until smooth. For the dressing, mix together the rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.

Portion the chicken into thighs and drumsticks, wings and breasts. Separate the chicken fillet from each breast, then give the breast a little squash and slice it.

Serve the chicken on a platter with the cucumber underneath – my mum would always place breast (white) meat on one side for my husband and herself, and leg or thigh (dark meat) on the other side for the rest of us. Ladle a little hot reduced stock over the top, followed by the dressing, then garnish with coriander and spring onions. Strain the remaining reduced stock and serve in bowls with the watercress or Chinese leaf, if using, and the sauces on the side with sweet soy sauce.

Tip: If I run out of time to prep the 2 accompanying sauces, I don’t see any shame in using shop bought sriracha chilli sauce (Flying Goose brand), mixed with a little sugar, lime juice and chicken stock. Please don’t tell my mum though.
The Food of Singapore, David Wong, 2005
Pandan, the pilaf rice, he's doing the right things.
Classic Hainanese Chicken Rice

The classic Singapore dish made with fresh chicken to achieve a perfect combination of flavours and textures, accompanied by fluffy rice cooked in chicken stock, soup and 3 types of sauces.

8 cups (2 litres) chicken stock or 4 teaspoons chicken stock granules dissolved in 8 cups (2 litres) hot water

1 large fresh chicken (about 11/2 kg/3 lbs), cleaned and patted dry

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

1 spring onion, thinly sliced, to garnish

1 sliced tomato, to garnish

1 sliced cucumber, to garnish

Sprigs of coriander leaves (cilantro), to garnish

Chicken Rice

1 tablespoon oil or chicken fat

1 clove garlic, unpeeled

1 slice of fresh ginger, peeled and bruised

2 cups (400 g) uncooked long-grain rice, rinsed and drained

2 pandanus leaves, tied in a knot (optional)


1 portion Chilli Ginger Sauce

5 cm (2 in) fresh ginger ground with 1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons black soy sauce

1 Make the Chilli Ginger Sauce by following the instructions on page 31

2 Bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil in a pot and add the chicken. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let the chicken steep for 15 minutes. Then remove the chicken from the stock, plunge it in ice water to cool for 1 minute, and drain. Bring the stock back to a boil, return the chicken to the pot and repeat the steeping process another 3 times so that the chicken has a total of 60 minutes of steeping in the stock. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Keep the stock warm to cook the Chicken Rice. When cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into serving pieces. Drizzle the soy sauce and sesame oil over and garnish with coriander leaves.

3 To cook the Chicken Rice, heat the oil in a pan over medium to high heat and brown the garlic and ginger, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pandanus leaves, if using, and 4 cups (1 litre) of the reserved stock, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is cooked. Alternatively, cook the seasoned rice in a rice cooker.

4 Place each of the Sauces in separate serving dishes. Pour the remaining chicken stock into small individual bowls and garnish with freshly sliced spring onion. Serve the chicken with the hot Chicken Rice, Sauces, sliced tomato and cucumber, and small bowls of the chicken stock on the side.

Serves 4-6 Preparation time: 25 mins Cooking time: 1 hour 25 mins

Singapore Cooking, Terry Tan, 2009
Terry Tan has written so much on these topics, he deserves a mention.
Hainanese chicken rice

You know a dish deserves ambassadorial status when it appears on a Singapore Airlines menu. Originating from Hainan Island, this dish was originally made using a special breed of chicken with yellow fat and particularly flavourful flesh, from Wenchang province. The chilli sauce is a purely Singaporean invention.

Cooking time 45 mins

Preparation time 30 mins

1 large chicken

10 cups (2.5 litres) water

3 cloves garlic, peeled

2 slices fresh ginger root

Sesame oil, for rubbing

Thick dark soy sauce, fresh sprigs of coriander leaves (cilantro), cucumber slices, crispy fried shallots, to serve


600 g (3 cups) uncooked rice

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

2 pandanus leaves, tied into a knot

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste


6 red finger-length chillies

3–5 bird’s-eye chillies

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


100 g (½ cup) peeled and sliced fresh old ginger root

1 tablespoon oil

1 Clean the chicken thoroughly. Remove the excess fat and reserve. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a large, deep pot. Fully submerge the chicken in the boiling water. Return to a rolling boil. Simmer vigorously, partially covered, for 15 minutes, then cover tightly, switch off the heat and let stand for 20 minutes.

2 Remove the chicken from the stock. Rub the chicken skin with the sesame oil and set aside.

3 To prepare the Rice, wash the rice grains well and drain, then spread out on a large plate and let it dry, 10–15 minutes.

4 Chop the reserved chicken fat into small pieces. Combine with 2 tablespoons cold water in a small pot and cook over low heat for 10–15 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the fat has rendered.

5 Heat 5 tablespoons of the rendered chicken fat in a wok over medium heat. Stir-fry the garlic, ginger and shallots for the Rice until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add the rice and stirfry gently for 2–3 minutes or until the grains turn translucent. Transfer the rice to a rice cooker, add the pandanus leaves, salt and 750 ml (3 cups) of the stock from the chicken pot. Switch on the rice cooker and leave to cook.

6 Make the Chilli Sauce by blending all the ingredients to form a paste, then add 2 tablespoons of the chicken stock and blend until combined.

7 Make the Ginger Sauce by blending the ginger to a paste, then add the oil and 1 tablespoon of the chicken stock and blend until combined.

8 Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces before serving with the cooked rice, sauces and garnishes. Serve any remaining chicken stock as soup.

Serves 4–6

· Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Chicken Long Rice is a Hawaiian dish adopted from Chinese immigrants. I haven't found any discussion of what dish the Chinese were cooking but the similarities to White Cut Chicken and more so Hainanese Chicken Rice seem pretty obvious though certainly adapted.

There is a poached chicken in aromatic broth, there is starchy accompaninment and there is soup, but usually the noodles absorb most of the broth. But now it's all combined and the rice has morphed in to mung bean starch noodles--glass noodles, cellophane noodles--vermicelli--so many naming options but here just called long rice. The ginger scallion sauce is now part of the soup.

And something I've noticed about older Hawaiian dishes is that they don't use pepper.


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Hawaiians have adapted the meal of chicken long rice from Chinese immigration. Although I haven't found any mention of the dish the Chinese were preparing, the similarities to White Cut Chicken and, more specifically, Hainanese Chicken Rice, appear quite evident, though undoubtedly modified.

Although there is a poached chicken in an aromatic broth, starchy side dishes, and soup, the noodles often absorb most of the stock. But now that everything has been blended, the rice has changed into mung bean starch noodles, glass noodles, cellophane noodles, vermicelli, and more, all of which are simply referred to as long rice in this context. The soup now contains the ginger scallion sauce.

Additionally, I've noticed that traditional Hawaiian foods don't utilise pepper.

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3,487 Posts
You've been busy. How fascinating and informative.
I've been making Galatines for years. I've done duck, turkey, chicken and capon, even a torchon of foi-gras wrapped in duck skin.
A hot Galantine is called a Ballotine, and is usually made from the leg-thigh portion.

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The bit about "xian" strikes me as curious. It's a very common phoneme, and in Mandarin you'd have huge numbers of homonyms. Certainly 仙/僊 xiān means "immortal", but usually the same sound in reference to food would be 鲜 which could be translated "sweet" in the way we might speak of meat or fish as being absolutely fresh and "sweet." Chinese terminology being what it is, I wonder if there might be a pun here. Do these recipes provide characters at all?
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