Chicken: Tangerine Smoked Chicken

posted by Liz Thomas 03-03-101 10:31 PM

reproduced from our magazine "Celebration City Macau" Vol 2. No. 1, Dec 1997.

Tangerine Smoked Chicken

Many smoked chickens you buy ready cooked have never seen real smoke, the flavour is provided by chemicals. You can make your own “real” smoked chicken very easily. Although this dish uses Chinese ingredients the taste is not strongly Oriental. Good hot or cold and excellent for sandwiches.

To make dried tangerine peel, wash and peel a tangerine, scrape of as much of the inner white pith as possible (the edge of a sharp teaspoon makes a good tool), cut into approximately 1” squares and dry in the sun or a very low oven till crisp.

1 (3 lb) roasting chicken
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 spring onions, sliced
1” piece of fresh ginger, crushed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp white port (actually, any port would work fine)
4 pieces dried tangerine peel
1 whole star anise (baht goh) or half if it’s a very large one
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp tea leaves (any type but not a scented one like Earl Grey)
Honey to glaze

Thaw the chicken if frozen, wash and dry thoroughly. Mix soy sauce, port, salt and sugar and rub all over the chicken inside and out. Truss the chicken and leave to marinate for at least an hour.

Steam the chicken: Place about 3 inches of water in a wok, add the spring onions and ginger and place the chicken over it on a rack. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil and then steam for 20 minutes. While this is going on crush the tangerine peel and star anise to a powder in a pestle and mortar – it helps to toast them in a dry pan for a minute first – and mix with the brown sugar and tea leaves.

Remove the chicken on its rack from the wok keep warm. It will now be full of juice so be careful not to pierce the skin and lose all the lovely flavour.

Discard the steaming liquid and wash out the wok and line it with slightly wrinkled heavy duty foil. The wrinkles are to stop the smoking mixture collecting in one pile at the bottom. Sprinkle evenly with the smoking mixture and place the rack with the chicken over it. Make a big tent of heavy duty foil to go over the top of the chicken, place the wok lid on top and then fold the excess foil down tightly over the edge of the wok.

Place over high heat till you see smoke starting to escape from under the foil, then turn the heat down and smoke for 30 minutes. If you do this in the kitchen open all the windows and have your extractor fan going full belt. If you have a portable gas burner (like they use for sukiyaki in Japanese restaurants) the best bet is to do it outdoors. (These burners are not expensive and you can use them to show off at picnics!) It’s important to keep the heat as low as possible.

When cooking time is up, remove the chicken to a roasting pan (again being careful not to pierce the skin). It will be a gorgeous mahogany brown by this time. Brush over with a little melted honey and roast in a hot oven for about 10 minutes to glaze the skin.

Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes before eating hot so that the juices are absorbed back into the flesh. If you want to eat it cold, let it cool completely and wrap and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before eating.

Totally delicious, and although it sounds complicated it really isn’t and doesn’t take that long to do.
This is my adaptation of Smoked Tangerine Chicken (Chan Pei Fun Gai) from the Compete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon.

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