Crispy-skin chicken with master stock

Crispy-skin chicken with master stock

Poulet croustillant au fond

Luke Nguyen's France
Alan Benson

Master stocks are essential for the poached and braised chicken dishes of China; this one is easy enough to make at home. This recipe uses a Bresse chicken — a local French breed whose rearing is controlled by government regulations. The flavour of the meat is rich and revered.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Master stock
1.6kg whole bresse chicken, or a good free-range one
125ml white vinegar
1 tablespoon maltose, (see glossary)
1 litre vegetable oil, for deep-frying
dijon mustard, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
125ml oyster sauce
60ml hot water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons caster sugar


Quantity Ingredient
1 carrot, julienned
1 green apple, julienned
6 baby radishes, halved
4cm knob of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
1 teaspoon fresh dill
3 coriander sprigs, chopped


  1. Bring the master stock to the boil in large saucepan. Meanwhile, wash the chicken well under cold water to clean out the insides. When the stock is at a boil, add the chicken. Bring back to the boil, then turn off the heat. Allow the chicken to steep for 1 hour, then remove it from the stock and place it in a colander, breast side up.
  2. Bring the vinegar to the boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the maltose, combining well. Place the colander with the chicken in a large bowl, then spoon the vinegar mixture over the chicken, taking care to cover it all. Transfer the vinegar that has collected in the bowl to the saucepan and spoon it back over the chicken. Now repeat the process twice more. Place the chicken in a cool, airy position for 2 hours to allow the skin to dry.
  3. Pour the oil into a wok and heat to 180˚C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds.
  4. Using kitchen scissors, cut the chicken in half along the breast bone. Place it in the oil, skin side up. Fry for 3–5 minutes, carefully ladling the hot oil over the top, until the skin is crisp and golden.
  5. Place the chicken on a cutting board, skin side up. Use a heavy cleaver to separate the legs from the breasts. Chop the breasts into four pieces, and the legs into three pieces.
  6. Thoroughly combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Combine all the salad ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the dressing and toss to combine.
  7. Serve the salad with the chicken, drizzling more dressing over the chicken, with a small bowl of dijon mustard on the side.
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