"We serve this popular street food dish at my Red Lantern restaurant in Sydney. We poach the chicken in a master stock, then baste it with a honey and maltose mixture before hanging it until the skin becomes completely dry. To then achieve a very crispy skin, we ladle very hot oil over the skin again and again until it blisters and becomes crispy. I have kept my master stock alive now for 15 years, and it develops more flavour every time I use it." Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's Street Food Asia
- 4 chicken marylands
- 125 ml (½ cup) white vinegar
- 1 tbsp liquid maltose
- 1 litre vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, sliced
- ½ bunch watercress, sprigs picked
- 1 tbsp nuoc cham, plus extra for dipping
- 150 ml light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- 3 black cardamom pods
- 150 g (¾ cup) jasmine rice, cooked, left in the fridge overnight
- 50 g butter
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated puree)
- salt, to season
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
Cooling time 1 hour
Standing time 2 hours
To prepare the master stock, in a large saucepan combine 3 litres water, both soy sauces and the salt, then bring to the boil over high heat. Tie the cinnamon, star anise and cardamom pods in a piece of muslin (cheesecloth), then add to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly for 30 minutes to infuse the flavour, then turn off the heat and allow to cool. If not using immediately, the stock can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen until required.
When ready to cook, place the master stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Meanwhile, wash the chicken well under cold water. When the stock comes to the boil, add the chicken, then bring the stock back to the boil and turn off the heat. Allow the chicken to steep in the stock for 45 minutes, then remove the marylands from the stock and place them, skin-side up, in a colander.
Place the vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then stir through the maltose until it dissolves and remove from the heat. Place the colander containing the chicken into a large bowl and spoon the vinegar mixture over the chicken, making sure to cover all of it. Transfer the vinegar that has collected in the bowl under the chicken back to the saucepan and spoon it back over the chicken, then repeat the process two more times. Place the chicken marylands on a wire rack over a tray and stand in a cool, airy position for 2 hours to allow the skin to dry.
Place the oil in a wok and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds.
Place 2 chicken marylands, skin-side up, on a spider ladle and hold over the wok, then using a ladle, continuously pour hot oil over the skin for 4–5 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden. Once done, place skin-side up on a cutting board and repeat with the remaining marylands.
To prepare the red rice, place the cooked rice into a large bowl. Wet your hands slightly so the rice doesn’t stick to them, or don a pair of plastic gloves, and break up the rice.
Place a wok over medium heat, add half the butter and the garlic and stir-fry until the garlic is fragrant, then add the rice. Increase the heat to high and, using a wooden spoon, stir and toss the rice. Add the tomato paste and continue to stir-fry, working the tomato through the rice until it is evenly coloured. Add the remaining butter and fry until it is incorporated. Season with salt.
To serve, using a heavy cleaver, chop each maryland into 4-5 pieces. Place on a serving platter with the red rice and a salad of tomato, cucumber and watercress, dressed with a little nuoc cham plus extra sauce on the side for dipping.
• To maintain the stock for repeated use, add 1 tablespoon salt and return to the boil. Skim off the fat and impurities from the surface, strain into another pan and allow to cool, then store as mentioned above.
• Each time you use your stock you will need to adjust the water level and seasonings. Top up with water to the 3 litre mark, add 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce and 2 tablespoons light soy sauce and replace the aromatics about every third use. It is good practice to always taste your stock, this way you will understand if the seasoning and aromatics need adjusting.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok.