Red Cooked Chicken

Portions: 16

Portion size: Vs chicken






Chickens, about 4 lb


(1.8 kg) each


2 cloves

2 cloves

Star anise

3 slices

3 slices

Ginger root


1 tbsp

15 mL

Sichuan peppercorns

12 pt

250 mL

Soy sauce


2 pt

1 L

Water or chicken stock


1 oz

30 g





2 fl oz

60 mL

Sherry or shaoxing wine

Calories, 260; Protein, 29 g; Fat, 14 g (49% cal.); Cholesterol, 90 mg; Carbohydrates, 3 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 990 mg.


Cut each chicken into eighths.

Tie the star anise, ginger root, and Sichuan peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag.

Combine the soy sauce and water or stock in a pot and add the spice bag, sugar, scallions, and sherry. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken. Simmer until tender.

Serve the chicken hot or cold. If it is to be served cold, cool it and store it in the cooking liquid. The liquid may be reused for another batch.


The star anise and Sichuan peppercorns may be omitted for a simpler version of this dish.

Other meats (using cuts appropriate for simmering) may be cooked this way, including pork, beef, tripe, and duck.


A popular misconception in the Western world about Chinese cooking is that nearly all dishes are stir-fried. An important advantage of stir-frying if cooking fuel is scarce is that, although preparation times are long, due to all the required cutting and slicing, cooking times are short. Once the mise en place is done, stir-fried dishes can be sent to the table in a matter of minutes.

Although stir-frying is an important technique in China, many other cooking techniques are also used, especially simmering and steaming. Two of the recipes in this section, Tea-Smoked Duck and Red-Cooked Chicken, are typical examples of steaming and simmering.

Although both these recipes begin with whole poultry, the birds are cut into small pieces before they are served. In a typical Chinese meal, meats, fish, and vegetables are not so much main dishes as they are accompaniments to rice or, sometimes, noodles. Portion sizes of protein items are small, and the dishes are served family-style in the center of the table. Each diner takes a small quantity of the desired dishes to eat between bites of rice.

Because China is so large and has such an array of climates, there is no single cooking style. The styles of Beijing in the north, Guangdong (Canton) in the southeast, and Sichuan (Szechuan) in the interior, are perhaps as different as the styles of Germany, France, and Italy.

408 Chapter 13 • Cooking Poultry and Game Birds Tea-Smoked Duck

Yield: 1 duck




■ Procedure

3 tbsp 1 tbsp

45 mL 15 mL

Coarse salt Sichuan peppercorns

1. Toast the salt and Sichuan peppercorns in a dry skillet over moderate heat, until peppercorns are fragrant.

2. Cool the mixture, then crush with a rolling pin.



Duck, about 5 lb (2.3 kg)

3. Clean the duck well, removing excess fat. Flatten the duck slightly by pressing down on the breastbone to break it.

4. Rub the duck inside and out with the salt and peppercorn mixture.

5. Put the duck in a hotel pan, weight it down, and refrigerate it for 1-2 days.

6 6 Scallions, trimmed 6. Rinse the duck.

4 slices 4 slices Ginger root 7. Put the scallions and ginger slices in the cavity.

8. Steam the duck for 1-1 '/2 hours, until tender.

Raw rice

Brown or black tea leaves Sugar

9. Line a large wok or other heavy pan with aluminum foil.

10. Mix together the rice, tea leaves, and sugar. Put the mixture in the bottom of the wok.

11. Put the duck on a rack over the tea mixture and cover the pan tightly.

12. Set the pan over high heat for 5 minutes, then over moderate heat for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and let stand another 20 minutes without uncovering.

13. Cool the duck. Chop it into pieces measuring 1-2 in. (3-5 cm), bones and all. Alternatively, bone it out and cut the meat into strips 1 in. (2.5 cm) wide. This dish is normally served at room temperature.

Per Vis recipe:

Calories, 520; Protein, 30 g; Fat, 43 g (75% cal.); Cholesterol, 130 mg; Carbohydrates, 2 g; Fiber, 1 g; Sodium, 2969 mg.

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