This dish was an unusual one for me. The recipe is by Alvin, one of the contestants on Masterchef Australia, and was voted by the judges as being the best dish of the entire series. Needless to say, I was eager to try it out for myself, and amassed all the ingredients to have a go one weekend.
The verdict? Well, I have to say that I really didn’t enjoy this dish I found it too much too sweet. On the plus side however, the chicken was cooked to perfection – plump, tender and juicy.
Even though this dish wasn’t for me, I’ve decided to include it on Sumo Kitchen since it was so well received by the judges on Master Chef, and I am sure that someone out there will feel the same way too. My advice – maybe have a go at cooking this in a smaller portion, so at least you can test whether you like the flavours before cooking a whole chicken. Also, add the mirin and palm sugar gradually so it doesn’t get too sweet.
1L shaoxing (Chinese rice wine, available from most Asian supermarkets)
1-2L water, or enough to cover chicken
50g gula melaka (Malaysian palm sugar)
1 whole chicken
4-6cm ginger, thickly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbs roasted peanuts
1 tbs dried shrimp, soaked, drained
2 bird’s eye chillies
2 lime cheeks
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
6 snake beans, cut into 4cm lengths
2 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbs very finely chopped gula melaka (Malaysian palm sugar)
Juice of 2 limes
2-3 tbs fish sauce
Pour the shaoxing, mirin, water and palm sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, add water to your dried prawns to rehydrate them. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the chicken to cool in the poaching liquid.
Chop the ginger and add to the soup with your whole chicken, making sure it is completely immersed. Cover and simmer gently for 45-60 mins.
The bruised salad is so called since the heat of the dish is controlled by how much you ‘bruise’ the chili. Put the garlic, peanuts, red chili, dried shrimps (discard the water and drain) and lime cheeks in a pestle and mortar and pound to a coarse paste. Chop the cherry tomatoes, beans and cucumber and mix together with the paste.
For the dressing, place the palm sugar and lime juice in a bowl and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add fish sauce to taste and whisk to combine. Then add to the rest of the ingredients, stirring together well. Pile the salad onto a plate and drizzle with sesame oil.
Remove the chicken from the broth and place in a sieve or on a chopping board. Cut off the legs (thigh and drumstick), then chop off the end of the drumstick and trim the end so it is free of skin. Cut the legs into 2 pieces through the joint. Slice the breasts off the carcass and cut each one cut into 5 thick slices. Place the pieces of chicken in a shallow bowl, pour over a little broth and serve with the bruised salad.