Wednesday, July 6, 2011

White Cut Chicken With Oyster Sauce 蠔油白斬雞 - "Malaysian Monday 45"

I was not a big fan of white cut chicken (白斬雞) as a child; the picky little boy that was me would only eat the breast meat without the skin and plenty of ginger and spring onion dipping sauce to disguise it, these days I simply can't have enough of it. 

As I mentioned in my siu yuk/five spiced crispy pork belly (燒肉) post recently, a white cut chicken is a must when it comes to ancestor worship and that happens on every important occasion according to the Lunar calender. To make the dish a little more appealing to the children, many tricks were applied and a delicious sauce poured over the chicken was just one of them. Funnily enough I am doing just that to try convincing my friends how delicious the pale looking cooked chicken really is.

So what is a white cut chicken? I hear you say. Well it really is just a whole chicken poached/steeped slowly with a few very basic ingredients (the cooking technique is basically the same as making soy poached chicken (豉油雞)) then chopped up and served with a ginger and shallot dipping sauce. The golden rule is to only use the best chicken you can afford due to the simplicity of the dish. And apart from the juicy and tender flesh; the smooth silky skin and the layer of jelly between them are also crucial to the success of the finished dish.

P.S only 3/4 of the cooked chicken was used for our dinner, you may use the balance for bang bang chicken, topping for congee or noodle dishes. I will be showing you how to turn it into the most delicious crispy skin chicken in my next post.

serves 4 to 6 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
1 free range or cornfed chicken
5 cm piece of ginger, sliced
4 spring onions (white part only), bashed
6 cloves of garlic, bashed
1/4 cup of Chinese cooking wine
1 star anise (optional)
enough water to cover the chicken
a bunch of bokchoy, sliced lengthwise and blanched at the last minute
5 cm piece of ginger, julienne
2 spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths and julienne lengthwise
2 red chilies, julienne

for the oyster sauce;
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 cm piece of ginger, chopped
1/2 cup of premium quality oyster sauce*
5 tbs of light soy
1 tsp of sesame oil
3 tbs of sugar
dash of white pepper
* Lee Kum Kee premium oyster sauce (李錦記舊庄蠔油) is reccomended

for the chili sauce;
4 garlic cloves, chopped
5 bird chilies, chopped
3 tbs of sugar
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbs of light soy

Clean chicken throughly and put half of the spring onions, ginger and garlic into the cavity.

Place chicken in a pot together with the rest of the aromatic, cooking wine and seasonings. Pour enough water to fully submerge the bird. Bring it t a boil then turn it down to simmer for 10 minutes before turning off the heat, cover and let the chicken steep in the hot stock for 2.5 hours. Do not attempt to open the lid before the time is up. 

While the chicken is cooking/steeping; prepare the garnishes, chili sauce and bokchoy.

Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and let the chicken cool down completely, this will enable the jelly to form between the skin and the flesh. Once you get this right you will be able to make the best Hainanese chicken rice and Ipoh bean sprout chicken which I will be posting soon. Add a few chicken bones to the cooking liquor and turn it into a delicious stock.

To prepare the sauce - saute chopped ingredients with cooking oil until they turn a light golden.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the sauce is a little thick and syrupy

Chop chicken Chinese style and arrange some blanched asian green around the plate. 

Pour the sauce over.

And top with the garnishes.

This tender piece of chicken is delicious as it is but can always do with some extra kick with the tasty chili sauce I think.

My friend Sharon from Test With A Skewer is hosting the event for the month of July, please send all your entries to To find out more about MMM, please click here.


  1. I love chicken cooked this way the most. I would very much love to prepare this at home except the chopping up of the chicken scares me. I probably mangle it to death. Btw, added your blog to my blogroll. I hope you don't mind :) have a lovely day.

  2. All homemade, and the BEST!
    Can I do the same with just 2 chicken thighs?

  3. I have never given the white cut chicken a second look when I am at the Chinese bbq place. The sauce sounds good and the chicken from the last photo looks very tender, nice!

  4. This is exactly what I do for my hainanese chicken rice! OH SO SO GOOD. I can never get enough of boiled chicken chicken rice! My fave food all time, across borders n lifelong :P

    But I love your oyster sauce splashed over it. I never could get that right. I am so making-making this! Like tomorrow. oh so YUM!

  5. Boiled chicken alone sounds very unappealing to me, but I sure the sauce makes it delicious.

  6. That looks good, especially the sauce!

  7. I like this, haven't had it for some time!

  8. i like boiled chicken but it really has to have some sauce over it.

  9. I wish I could cook like you! This is so fascinating.

  10. This is my favourite! Skin and all :)

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