Chickety China the Chinese Chicken

Chickety China the Chinese Chicken

Duck in the Hen House
Chicken in the Duck Pond
Duck Fried Chicken
Crispy Fragrant Duck (Made with Chicken)

Crispy Fragrant Duck is quite possibly my second favorite Asian thing that I usually wont make myself, for several reasons – none of which is I’m lazy..

With the price of duck these days, I just can’t wrap my head of spending $22.00 for a carcass and frying the crap out of it. In my mind, it’s too much like buying a whole tenderloin and  making chicken-fried steak out of it.
So, I am attempting to kinda, sorta recreate the crispiness and depth of flavor you get with duck in a $3.95 small chicken fryer

Crispy Fragrant chicken with PF Hoisin Sauce

First, a couple of disclaimers:

  • Fair warning, this is going to be terribly time consuming – so plan on three days.
  • I’ve based this recipe on 4 different preparations, and made my own corrections and alterations, so no one recipe gets a particular nod one way or another.
  • While the end result is a rather tasty Asian-ish delight, I in no way mean to lessen the opulence and succulence of the original dish. It is, in short, divine.

Right then,
First, the list of players:

1 Small Fryer – 3 to 4 pound
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Dried Tepin Chilis – or other Small Medium Hot Chili
2 Cloves
2 Tablespoons Chinese 5 Spice Powder, plus an additional 2 Tablespoons for Brining
1/4 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Candied Ginger
2 Cups Chicken Stock
4 Scallions – Whole, cut into thirds
4 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch
1 Tablespoon Powdered Ginger
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Water
2 Teaspoons Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
Canola Oil for Frying
Plate Fodder Hoisin Sauce – Recipe Follows
Large Wok with Steaming Tray
Flat Strainer
2 Gallon Zipper Bags
1 – 10″ Pie Plate
Heavy Duty Knife or Cleaver
Mortar and Pestle
Medium Sauce Pan
Cutting Board
 – If you’re keeping count in relation to traditional spice mixes, you’ll undoubtedly notice a lack of Star Anise – except as it appears in the 5 spice mix. With chicken being more delicate that duck, I felt we could dispense with some of the heavier notes and concentrate more on a lighter, decidedly ginger profile.

Day 1
Place the stock, 2 tablespoons of 5 spice, 1 tablespoon of the candied ginger,  and 1/2 the tepin peppers in the sauce pan and bring to a boil
Remove and chill to cool completely

Place the bird into a zipper bag with the prepared and chilled Brining liquid.
Refrigerate for 1 day – turn the bag over at least twice during the brine.
– I’ve added a Brining stage to the process to intensify the chicken flavor. Unlike duck, which is mostly dark, dense, heavily flavored muscle, chicken is particularly light in comparison. In order to compete with the aggressive spices, I felt the chicken would need a boost.

Day 2
Place the Cloves, Remaining 5 Spice, Peppers, Salt  into the mortar and grind until finely powdered
Remove the chicken from the brine bag and discard the liquid
Dry the cavity and skin of any excess liquid

Place the  bird breast down on the board. With your knife, cut off the wings at the drummette joint.
Trim off any excess fat and slide it under the breast skin to add a little extra fat to the meat
Since we’re going to make this “look” a little more like duck,  Place you hands over the lower “hip” area. Squeezing the  cavity – press down onto the cutting board to break the hip bones so the carcass thins out
With the twine, truss the legs and the wing drummettes

Place 1/2 of the powder inside the cavity and rub well to coat, Massage the rest of the spice mix into the skin, making sure everything is well coated
Place the seasoned bird into the second zipper bag and refrigerate for 2 days – turn the bag over at least two times per day
 – Typically duck is marinated at room temperature for a day…. being chicken, I just felt that wasn’t all that wise.

Day 3
Take the marinade out of the fridge and let the bird come to room temp. Massage the wine inside the cavity and into the skin

Place 1/2 of the candied ginger and  inside the cavity and lay the rest on the top of the bird
Fill the wok to 1″ of the steam rack and place the pie plate with the chicken on the rack
Cover the wok and steam the chicken for 1 hour
When the hour is up, carefully remove the pie plate and pour off any collected liquid (Save this stock for soups later)

Refill the water level, replace the plate and steam another 30 minutes
Carefully (the meat will be extremely tender at this point) transfer the chicken to a rack and air dry for 2
to 3 hours, until the skin is dry to the touch and no longer tacky

Mix together the slurry and set aside
Place the carcass on the cutting board, remove the trusses, and cut the bird in half, lengthwise.
With your knife, remove the back bone
Rice and thoroughly dry the wok, fill with about 3″ of oil and heat to 375

While the oil is heating, coat the halves generously with the slurry – massaging it into the inner cavity and skin
With the strainer, carefully place the half bird into the oil skin side up
With the ladle, immediately begin bathing the skin in the oil – do this for 2 minutes
Carefully (again) turn the bird over and bath with oil for another 5 minutes
Transfer to paper towels to drain and repeat with the other half
Cut each half into 4 pieces across the section
Serve on a platter with Hoisin Sauce and buns
– Since we’ve Americanized this a bit – I’ve used pretzel rolls

Plate Fodder Hoisin Sauce
Makes 1/2 Cup

5 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoons Fermented Black Beans
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/4 Cup Diced Prunes (Sunsweet Plum Amazins come already diced)
2 Teaspoons Rice Vinegar
1/8 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Small Sauce Pan
Food Processor
  • Place all the ingredients in the sauce pan and bring to a boil
  • Transfer to the processor and pulse until smooth

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