The Cantonese have always enjoyed their reputation for being the finest roasters of poultry in all of China (the residents of Beijing are of course legendary for their Beijing Duck and would vehemently disagree with the Cantonese being the best, but that’s another recipe…). Another dish I have always been very partial to in the Cantonese repertoire is “Soy Sauce Chicken”, where the traditional recipe calls for boiling the chicken in soy sauce mixed with rock sugar and spices.
I have decided to combine both recipes into one and have based my version closely on that developed by the unmatched master of Chinese cooking on eGullet, W.K. Leung (“Ah Leung”) aka “hzrt8w”. I have modified the marinade heavily and added the Cantonese technique of basting the skin of the bird with boiling vinegar to make it ultra-crisp and flavorful.
To make this properly, you will need to (easily) make “custom-made” hooks to roast this in the Chinese way in a regular oven! Each hook looks like this:
Go to a hardware store or a wire fence dealer and get some aluminum “ties”. They are about the same or heavier gauge as wire hangers but they are not coated with paint or varnish. Bend them to shape as shown. Set the oven rack at the top slot. Then hang two of these hooks from the oven rack. Then place the skewers on the bottom rail of these hooks. They work beautifully.
I’ve also tweaked the condiment called “Chung Yao” or scallion oil to include some chicken bouillon powder, which adds a great savor and is a secret ingredient used in this recipe by many Chinese roasted meat restaurants. It is traditionally served with roasted chicken.
Citizens – this Cantonese recipe does involve a bit of effort on your part, but you will be rewarded with the finest chicken you will probably ever taste. 🙂 Chinese red vinegar can be purchased from here or at your local Chinese grocer for a lot less. Dark soy sauce is NOT regular soy sauce – you can buy it here or at your local Chinese grocer.
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