Deep-fried chicken with finger-lime sauce

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

"Lemon chicken is one dish I don't look back at with nostalgia - there's no love lost there," says Kylie Kwong. "This is my interpretation, which steers well clear of the processed sauces from a jar. Instead, I prefer to celebrate this country's native finger limes in what's become my riff on the old-school stalwart."

  • 1 chicken (1.6kg), rinsed and excess fat trimmed
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  •  
  • White master stock
  • 500 ml (2 cups) Shaoxing wine
  • 100 gm ginger, thickly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and halved
  • 3 tbsp sea salt flakes
  •  
  • Finger-lime sauce
  • 80 gm white sugar
  • 1½ tbsp finely diced ginger
  • 125 ml (½ cup) lemon juice
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce, or to taste
  • Flesh of 8 large finger limes
01   For white master stock, place all ingredients in a large stockpot with 3 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and gently simmer for the flavours to infuse (10-15 minutes).
02   Bring stock back to the boil, add chicken breast-side down and weight with a plate to keep submerged. Reduce heat to low-medium (there should be no more than an occasional ripple breaking the surface) and poach for 14 minutes, then remove from heat and stand at room temperature for 3 hours to gently finish cooking (juices of chicken will run clear when a thigh is pierced with a skewer). Carefully remove the chicken from stock, being careful not to tear the skin, place on a tray and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 3 hours to allow the flesh to firm up and skin to dry out (the drier the skin, the crisper it will be when fried). This can be done a day ahead.
03   For finger-lime sauce, pound sugar and ginger to a paste with a mortar and pestle, then stir in lemon juice, fish sauce and finger lime.
04   Place the chicken breast-side up on a chopping board and cut through the centre of the breast with a sharp knife or cleaver, then cut through the breastbone. Separate the halves with your hands, then cut down either side of the backbone to separate into two halves.
05   Heat enough oil to cover half the chicken in a large wok over medium-high heat until surface starts to shimmer and oil reaches 190C. Carefully lower one chicken half into oil (be careful, hot oil will spit) and deep-fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp (6-8 minutes). Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining half. Cut into bite-sized pieces and serve hot drizzled with the finger lime sauce.

Topics:

FINGER LIME, CHICKEN, SHAOXING WINE, MAIN, GINGER, CHINESE

Recipe:

KYLIE KWONG

Photography:

BEN DEARNLEY

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES AND LUCY TWEED

FEATURED IN

July 2017

July 2017

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