Shirley Chung - Soy Poached Whole Chicken 

Shirley Chung - Soy Poached Whole Chicken 
A dish representing happiness and prosperity.


  • 1 (2 ½ pound) whole chicken
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp (8g) Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) canola oil
  • 4 oz (112g) ginger, smashed & roughly chopped
  • 6 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 head of garlic (break up the cloves but don’t peel them)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 qt chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt


  • 1 lb baby bok choy
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp sliced ginger
  • ¼ cup Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tbsp cornstarch


  • 3 tbsp crispy garlic
  • Zest from 1 lemon

(Serves 4)


Tie all of the spices into a cheesecloth sachet. Heat up the canola oil over high heat in a medium size stock pot (8-quart to fit a whole chicken). When the oil is smoking hot, add the ginger, green onions, and garlic to the pot. Stir-fry for 30 seconds and when the aroma fills the air, push everything to the outer sides of the pot. Add the sugar into the middle of the pot and let it caramelize.  Stir the  sugar as it cooks. When it turns into a dark amber color (about 3 minutes) push and stir the ginger, scallions and garlic into the caramel.

Next, add the Shaoxing wine to the pot. Turn the heat down to medium, and stir and scrape the bottom of the pot so that all the bits melt.  Add the soy sauce and dark soy into the pot. When it comes back to a simmer, add the chicken stock and drop the sachet into the liquid. Season with salt and turn the heat down too low to simmer for 30 minutes.

Pat the chicken dry inside and outside with paper towels and turn the poaching liquid to high.  When the poaching liquid comes to a boil, put the whole chicken into the pot and turn the heat down to low again. Cover the pot with parchment paper that’s set directly on top of the liquid, so the body of the chicken is fully submerged. Cover with a lid.

Simmer the chicken to 20 minutes. Check and stir the pot every 10 minutes to make sure that then chicken is poaching evenly.  After the time is up, turn off the heat, and leave the chicken to continue soaking in the liquid for 15 minutes.  To make sure that the chicken is fully cooked, you can poke a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken thigh; the internal temperature needs to reach at least 160F degrees.

After the chicken is cooked, cut it up and pour a little soy liquid over it, and it’s ready to serve.

(Serves 4)


Wash and clean the bok choy, removing any yellow leaves but keeping the bok choy whole.  Heat up a wok or an 8-quart pot over medium heat.  When it’s hot, add the canola oil.  Sauté the ginger in the hot oil for 30 seconds, until the ginger starts to brown on the edges.  Deglaze the pot with Shaoxing wine and light soy sauce. Let it simmer for a few seconds to cook off the alcohol, then add the chicken stock, white pepper and salt.

Pick up all the bok choy with both of your hands, holding onto the leaves, and carefully lower the stems into the pot.  Cook only the stems for 1 minute.  Be careful not to burn yourself.  It’s important to cook whole bok choy like this because the stems and leaves cook at different speeds; we need to give the stems a head start.  After the stems change to a darker color green, lay the whole bok choy into the pot.  Cover with a lid, and let it simmer for 1 minute.  Meanwhile, mix the water and cornstarch to make a slurry, and when the minute is up, add it to the cooking liquid and stir well.  The liquid will slightly thicken.

Plate the bok choy and pour all the sauce over them.  Finish with crispy garlic and/or fresh lemon zest on top.

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