Recipe type: Curries
Red-cooked chicken is a common method to cook chicken in Eastern China. The red color is actually not really red but more like a reddish-brown tinge imparted by the use of soy sauce. Originally the cooking method would be to slowly simmer a whole chicken in a spiced mixture of soy sauce, rice wine and water.
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 green onions (white and green parts), roughly chopped
- Two ½-inch slices ginger, lightly crushed
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
- 1 strip (about 3 inches) orange zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
- Wash the chicken and dry thoroughly. Remove the gibblets and discard or reserve for another use. Cut off any lumps of fat. If you have time, place the chicken on a plate and refrigerate it uncovered for a couple of hours. The drier the chicken is, the more color it will absorb from the sauce.
- Combine the red-cooking liquid ingredients in the crock and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the chicken and turn to coat it with liquid. Leave it breast side up. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
- Carefully turn the chicken over, breast side down, using a sturdy wooden spoon inserted in the cavity and a rubber spatula to help you guide the chicken; take care to avoid splashing. Cover and cook on HIGH until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180°F, about 1 hour more.
- Remove the chicken from the cooker. If you wish to serve it cold, refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled before cutting it up. To serve the chicken warm, put it on a cutting board and allow it to cool a bit. Then carve the chicken Western style, or if you have a heavy cleaver, chop it into 2-inch pieces.
- Arrange the chicken on a platter and drizzle a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid over it.