This year, I’ll be embracing my cultural roots. Since moving out of home, I’ve been craving a lot of different Asian dishes. Some are my parents’ specialty and others are simply dishes I’ve become obsessed with ordering. I’m hoping to gain greater appreciation and knowledge of Chinese and Vietnamese cooking techniques and recipes.
A few friends were coming over for dinner the other night so I thought I’d give a go at cooking one of my favourite chicken dishes, Shandong chicken (山東燒雞) or sometimes spelt as Shantung chicken.
Shandong province is located on the eastern coast of the People’s Republic of China and is one of the leading regions for vinegar production in China.
Chinese black vinegars are rich and complex with a malty flavour. It is an aged product made from rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, or a combination thereof and may contain added sugar, spices, or caramel color. The resulting black vinegar will vary from province to province, brand to brand, and works well in stir-fries, braises and marinades.
Shandong cuisine is characterised by quick frying, stir-frying, braising, and deep frying, with an emphasis on aroma, freshness, crispness and tenderness. Its dishes are often clean and non-greasy but pungent as shallots and garlic are common ingredients for seasoning.
Shandong chicken is basically crispy skin chicken that has been twice cooked (boiled then deep-fried) and served in a classic Shandong dressing of black vinegar, chilli, soy sauce and coriander.
- 4 chicken Maryland pieces
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 carrot, quartered
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- Black vinegar dressing
- 3 tbsp black vinegar
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 small red chilli, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- Put the chicken pieces in a large saucepan with the onion, carrot and peppercorns. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken by 2.5cm and bring slowly to the boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely in the liquid (the chicken will continue to cook during this time).
- Drain the chicken, pat dry and hang in an airy place to dry thoroughly. To ensure a crispy skin texture, the chicken needs to be completely dry.
- To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, oil, soy sauce, chilli and coriander.
- Half-fill a heavy-based pan or wok with oil and heat to 190°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 10 seconds. Cook the chicken pieces, skin-down first for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Turn and fry the other side for another 5 minutes.
- Drain well and chop into bite-sized pieces. Arrange on serving plate then pour the dressing over the chicken, scatter the spring onion over the top and serve.
- Serving suggestion - with steamed bok choy and rice.
Served with blanched bok choy and rice, it was well enjoyed by all