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 and 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. If using this as a main course, I often serve Cheong’s steamed eggplant with tomato chilli sauce as a side dish (see video below). 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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