Neil Perry's crispy chicken legs and spicy beef and tofu

Neil Perry
Let the banquet begin: Crispy Chinese-style chicken legs.
Let the banquet begin: Crispy Chinese-style chicken legs. Photo: William Meppem

Crispy Chinese-style chicken legs

8 chicken drumsticks

2 tbsp soy sauce

4 cups vegetable oil

1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 bunch of garlic chives, washed and cut into 5cm lengths

2 tbsp Shaoxing wine

2 tbsp kecap manis

generous pinch of ground white pepper


3 tbsp water

2 tbsp caster sugar

2 spring onions, finely sliced

Serves 4 as part of a shared banquet

Cut the drumsticks in half. Where the meat is thick, make a few cuts to allow the soy to infuse. Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce for 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until it reaches 180°C, then carefully add the chicken. Fry until the skin is crisp and golden, remove with a strainer onto kitchen paper and drain.

Carefully drain the oil from the wok, leaving 2 tablespoons. Place the wok back on the heat and stir-fry the ginger and garlic until they are fragrant. Add the garlic chives and Shaoxing wine, kecap manis, pepper, water and caster sugar. Bring to the boil, then remove wok from heat.

To serve, place the chicken chunks in a pile on a plate, pour the ginger and garlic sauce over and sprinkle with spring onions.


Spicy hot beef and tofu

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup minced beef

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 spring onions, sliced

2 tbsp hot bean paste

125ml fresh chicken stock

1 tsp Shaoxing wine

1 tsp light soy sauce

1/2 tsp dark soy sauce

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp caster sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

300g silken tofu, cut into 2cm cubes

generous pinch Sichuan pepper

1/2 tsp sesame oil

coriander leaves, to garnish

Serves 4 as part of a shared banquet

Heat a wok until smoking. Add the vegetable oil and when hot, add the minced beef, garlic, spring onion and hot bean paste and stir-fry until fragrant.

Add the stock, Shaoxing wine, soy sauces, chilli flakes, caster sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, add the tofu and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, until the liquid thickens slightly. Add the Sichuan pepper and sesame oil and gently mix together.

To serve, gently transfer the contents of the wok to a platter and garnish with coriander.


• For the perfect shared banquet, serve these dishes with steamed fish, broccoli in oyster sauce, and rice.

• The chicken legs are a little sweet - a nice counterbalance to the tofu - but if you like it hot, add chilli flakes with the garlic.

• If you like a bit more texture, the beef is great with firm tofu, either sliced into thin large pieces or small squares.

• You can replace the beef with minced pork, chicken, duck or even quail.

• There are two types of chilli in the tofu dish. If you're feeling "shy" you can take out the chilli flakes, but the hot bean paste is required for body.


The guys at 4 Pines in Sydney's Manly are handcrafting some interesting beers. Their German-inspired Kolsch ($20 a six-pack) is clean, crisp and lightly malty, with citrus notes - perfect to wash down a side of crispy Chinese-style chicken legs.

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Dominic Smith.