By Terry Tan and Christopher Tan, Singapore Cooking
This delicious dish is Cantonese in origin. Leftover sauce can be used to braise another chicken, or in fact any meat.
Cooking time: 1 hour
Preparation time: 10 mins
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 whole chicken, excess fat removed
6 1/2 cups (1.5 litres) water
5 tablespoons thick dark soy sauce
Large walnut-sized knob of galangal root, bruised
3/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
Sliced cucumber and sliced green onions (scallions), to serve
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 Heat the oil and sugar together in a wok over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch it like a hawk; when the sugar has melted and caramelised into little brown globules, add the chicken and roll it around in the caramel to coat.
2 Add the water, soy sauce, galangal, five spice powder and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, covered, for 45–50 minutes, turning the chicken once, or until the chicken is tender but not falling apart. Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the hot liquid, covered, for another 10 minutes.
3 Gently lift out the chicken and transfer to a chopping board. Slice into small pieces. Pull any stray bits of meat off the bones and heap them in the centre of a serving platter, then surround with the chicken pieces. Garnish with cucumber and green onions.
4 Add the sesame oil to the sauce and reduce over high heat until slightly thickened, 6–8 minutes. Drizzle a little sauce over the chicken and serve any extra on the side.
Note: You can braise a duck in the same manner; use 10 cups (2.5 litres) of water and simmer the duck for 2 hours.