When I ate at XO with Tales of a Confectionist, The Food Avenue and The Food and Wine Marshall for the Chinese New Year feast, one of the most discussed dish was the white cut chicken with ginger and shallot salsa. This is a quick and homey dish which nearly everyone can make at home. So I’m going to leave the recipe here for everyone to see and hopefully give it a go at making it.
白切雞, which translate to white cut chicken is one of the staple In many chinese households. This is usually served with the ginger and shallot sauce because the chicken is quite bland in flavour.
White Cut Chicken
Serves approx. 4-6 people as part of a shared meal.
1 chicken (approx. 1.9kg. preferably free range)
5 cloves of garlic*
2 stalks of spring onion
4 slices of ginger
1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns*
1/2 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorn*
- Bring a pot of water to the boil. The amount of water depends on the size of the pot. The pot I used was a 9.5 litre one which I filled 3/4 full.
- While the water is heating up, clean the chicken. By cleaning I mean rinsing out the cavity, removing the kidneys behind the chicken thighs and also the excess fat.
- When the water comes to a boil, add all the ingredients except for the chicken.
- Holding the chicken by the drumsticks dunk the entire chicken into the boiling water for 3 seconds and then lift it out of the water. Repeat this process 3 times^.
- Submerge the chicken breast side up and bring the water back to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, clamp on a lid and turn off the heat. Let the chicken sit for at least 45 minutes.
*Many people just poach the chicken in water with ginger and shallots, I like to add the peppercorns and garlic for extra flavour.
^This is a crucial process as the water warms up the cavity which ensures the chicken cooks evenly.
Cutting the chicken
- Place the chicken breast side down on the chopping board with the neck closest to you. With a sharp meat cleaver slice down on one side of the back bone. Cut the chicken through the centre of the breast bone. Remove the backbone by cutting along the other side.
- Remove the chicken wings by cutting through the joints. Chop the wings through the joints and place onto a platter.
- Next remove both the marylands from the breast and set aside.
- Place the blade of the knife on the joint where the chicken wind used to be and pull on the breast fillet, it should come off easily revealing the tenderloin beneath. Remove the tenderloin as well, slice up and place on top of the chicken wings.
- Slice both breast and place them on top of the tenderloins.
- Finally chop the maryland into smaller pieces.
Ginger and Shallot Sauce
Makes enough for the chicken
3 knobs of ginger
8 stalks of spring onion
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Asian ground ginger powder (optional)*
dash of white pepper
1/4 cup neutral flavoured oil (I used rice bran oil)
- Finely chop the ginger and spring onion. I like to chop it by hand as I find it tastes a bit better than using a food processor. But if you’re short on time, the food processor is fine.
- Place the finely chopped ginger and spring onion into a heatproof bowl and add the salt, pepper and Asian ginger powder if using. Mix thoroughly.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan until smoking and pour over the ginger and spring onion mix. Mix everything together and let it stand for 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
* The Asian ground ginger is also called seasoning ginger powder and is available in most Asian groceries. It gives an extra layer of earthiness to the sauce.
If there are extra ginger and shallot sauce leftover, don’t throw it out. It can keep in the fridge for up to a week and is really good on sunny side eggs and rice.
The leftover stock is very useful after the chicken has been taken out. You can turn it into a simple soup with some beaten eggs and spring onion or even use it to cook rice, which is super delicious.