Straightforward, versatile and delicious, this is a super useful recipe to add to your repertoire
1 x 1.6 kg free-range chicken
6 litres cold water
3 cups shao hsing wine or dry sherry
8 spring onions, trimmed and cut in half crossways
12 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 cups ginger slices
1/3 cup sea salt
1. Place all stock ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
2. Rinse the chicken under cold water. Trim away excess fat from inside and outside cavity, but keep neck, parson's nose and winglets intact. Lower chicken, breast-side down, into simmering stock, ensuring it is fully submerged. Poach chicken gently for exactly 14 minutes. There should be no more than an occasional ripple breaking the surface; adjust the temperature, if necessary, to ensure stock does not reach simmering point again.
3. Remove stockpot immediately from the stove and allow chicken to steep in the stock for 3 hours at room temperature to complete the cooking process. Using tongs, gently remove chicken from the stock, being careful not to tear the breast skin. Place chicken on a tray to drain and allow to cool. Strain the stock and freeze it to use for another dish. Meanwhile, make the two dipping sauces: ginger, coriander and spring onion and black bean and ginger.
4. Chop the chicken Chinese-style and serve with dipping sauces on the side.