Red-cooking is a classic Cantonese technique of braising food in dark soy sauce and Shaoxing wine to give it a burgundy hue. Inspired by a recipe of Cheong Liew’s, I use those ingredients to marinate chicken before baking it. Cheong served a deep-fried version of this dish as part of Neddy’s weekly 7-course Chinese banquets; they cost $14.80 in the late ’70s, how I wish I’d been around for them! The quantities here will feed 2 as a main course with steamed rice and you can cook a large chicken, or any chicken pieces, in the same way, you may just need to increase the marinade and the cooking time a little. Use any salad leaves or Asian herbs you like to accompany the chicken, including mizuna, perilla, oak leaf lettuce, Thai basil and coriander. While it’s not traditional, I sometimes serve a little dish of prickly ash on the side, and I love the savoury complexity of Ochota Barrels Surfer Rosa with my Chinese red-cooked chicken salad.
Serves 4 as a starter
Chilli Vinaigrette (makes about ¼ cup)
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