ROASTED CHICKEN WITH FIVE-SPICE LACQUER (Chinese roasted chicken, for four)
For the chicken:
1 tablespoon bean sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon sugar
3 star anise
1 whole cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons whole Sichuan peppercorns
¼ cup reduced salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 slices fresh ginger, 2 inches by 1/8 inch
3 whole garlic cloves, crushed
3 whole scallions
8 sprigs fresh coriander
a 3-1/2 pound chicken
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the glaze:
1 tablespoon light corn syrup mixed with 1 tablespoon boiling water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
½ teaspoon five-spice powder
a few sprigs of fresh coriander for garnish
Ginger sauce to accompany
1. Prepare the chicken for roasting. Remove the giblets from the cavity and either discard them or reserve them for another use. Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold tap water and pat it dry. Rub both the inside and the outside of the chicken with the salt. Remove any excess fat from the bird and tuck the flap of skin at the neck end under. Fold wings akimbo.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the bean sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns and chicken stock.
3. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the oil and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the ginger, garlic and scallions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour the mixture from the bowl into the wok and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the wok from the heat, toss in the fresh coriander and allow the mixture to cool thoroughly. Pour the mixture from the bowl into the chicken cavity and close the opening with toothpicks or a trussing needle and twine. Cross the ends of the drumsticks and tie them together, looping around the “bishop’s nose“, using kitchen twine.
4. Combine the ingredients for the glaze and mix thoroughly. Using a pastry brush, cover the outside of the chicken with the glaze. Place the chicken on a rack over a shallow baking pan and allow to dry in a cool, breezy place for 1 to 2 hours, or until dry. Alternatively, dry in front of a room fan for 1 hour, or place in the refrigerator overnight.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 450*.
6. Put the chicken, still breast side up, in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 400* and bake for another 50 minutes, or until done (see note below). Let the chicken cool.
7. Transfer chicken to a chopping board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Using a cleaver, disjoint and chop through the bone to make bite-size pieces, or carve Western-style at table. Arrange pieces on a serving platter and garnish with coriander. Serve at room temperature.
NOTE: Cooking time must increase if your bird is larger than 3-1/2 pounds. Calculate between 20 and 25 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven) total cooking time for each pound, or until a meat thermometer registers 170* in the thickest part of the breast (do not touch the bone) and 185* in the thigh meat.
adapted from Millie Chan’s Kosher Chinese Cookbook