White Cut Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil

White Cut Chicken is a specialty found at Cantonese restaurants, and is commonly served during the Chinese New Year.  It’s an easy, healthy dish that requires very few ingredients, yet it’s incredibly delicious.

The best place to have White Cut Chicken?  A little shack of a restaurant in Waikiki located behind the International Market Place called what else but…Fatty’s!  I know, the name sounds like a joke, there are some serious Cantonese specialties that come out of this little food joint.  My family and I have gone to this hole-in-the-wall Cantonese eatery ever since the 1980’s.  It’s usually our first meal after having stepped on the island.

Ironically, White Cut Chicken, probably the least fatty thing on the menu, is my most favorite dish there.  This chicken is so fantastic, it’s worth hopping on a flight to Hawaii for…and that’s really no joke.

As I started writing this post, I discovered via Tripadvisor that after 35 years, Fatty’s has officially closed it’s doors.  Take my word for it, this is a really sad day for all you White Cut Chicken lovers out there who were thinking of stopping by Honolulu.  Now I’ve become that much more inspired to give you the best White Cut Chicken recipe I possibly can, reminiscent of my favorite meal in Hawaii that isn’t available anymore.

I think cilantro is the key ingredient to Fatty’s White Cut Chicken, so in my recipe I’ve used plenty, both in the cooking broth and the flavored oil.  Also, by adding some grassy Sencha into the liquid left from cooking the chicken, the broth develops an extra layer of vegetal fresh flavor.  This broth makes a soothing light soup that’s sipped alongside the meal.

For an extra special finish and because there is so much extra broth left, the infused tea broth is also used to make rice.  Rice cooked in tea is very gently fragrant, and makes a perfect side dish for meats that are also delicate in flavor like this poached chicken is.  As I always do when making White Cut Chicken, I’ve decided to use a lower-starch long grain jasmine rice here to continue the light and fragrant theme of the meal.

The most common way to serve this chicken is chopped up, in medium size pieces as seen in the first picture of this post.  Getting these pieces cut the authentic way involves owning a Chinese meat cleaver and a strong, deliberate, and heavy hand in hacking away at the bird.  To be honest, it’s really quite exhausting and a bit on the dangerous side, which is why I only chopped half the chicken.

With the other half, I went the easier route of shredding the chicken with my fingers.  I then layered the tea rice, chicken, and scallion oil in a few large bowls for a more enjoyable prep and eating experience.

Whether shredded or cut I’m sure you will love this fresh and light classic Chinese meal.  And since Fatty’s in Honolulu is officially closed now, it’s all the more reason to make this White Cut Chicken recipe at home.

White Cut Chicken with Scallion Ginger Oil and Green Tea Rice

Makes 1 whole chicken.

Ingredients:

{Chicken}

1- 3 to 4 pound chicken (brought to room temperature)

1 tsp salt

4 green onions

1 large knob of ginger, peeled

large handful cilantro

1-32 ounce carton chicken broth

{Ginger Scallion Oil}

1/2 cup canola oil

5 green onions

1 large knob ginger, peeled

1 large handful of cilantro

2 tsp salt

{Tea Broth}

1-2 Tbsp green tea (I used Sencha)

{Green Tea Rice}

1 cup jasmine long-grained rice

2 cups tea broth

Equipment:

large stock pot with lid

large slotted spoon or sieve scoop

Chinese meat cleaver (optional)

medium heat-proof bowl

small pot

large bowl

paper towels

basting brush

large tea filter bag or cheesecloth with tie

food thermometer

food processor or grater

medium pot or rice cooker

Directions:

1.)  Place room temperature whole chicken in large stockpot and pour in chicken stock.  Then add water until the liquid level completely covers chicken by 1″.  Remove chicken on a large plate.  Add salt, green onions, and knob of ginger, then set on high heat with lid on until water reaches full boil.

2.)  When water reaches full boil, place chicken in the pot, cover the lid, then let the water come back to the boil.  Once the water re-reaches the boil, turn off heat from stove top completely.  Let the chicken steep/poach in the hot water.  For a 3 pound chicken, it should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  For a 4 pound chicken, it should take about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

3.)  Ginger Scallion Oil.  Slice green onions thinly.  In food processor or with grater, grate ginger until it resembles a wet paste.  Chop cilantro finely.  Place green onion, ginger, cilantro, and salt in a medium heat-proof bowl.  Heat oil in small pot on high heat until it smokes, then let cool for 10 minutes.  Pour the hot oil atop the green onion mixture, mix, and set aside.

4.)  After cooking time (based on weight), remove the chicken from the water using the large slotted spoon or sieve scoop carefully, then place it in a large bowl filled with cold water to stop cooking.  Remove chicken over to a dish, pat dry with paper towels, then brush with top clear layer of cooled Ginger Scallion Oil.  Remove ginger knob, green onions, and cilantro from stock pot with a slotted spoon.

5.)  Tea Broth.  Test water temperature with thermometer.  Looking to create a water temperature of 160 degrees F, either turn on heat or let the water cool to that temperature.  Place green tea leaves in a tea filter bag or tied cheesecloth, steep for 2-3 minutes, then remove the leaves from the broth.  Set aside.

6.)  Tea Rice.  Rinse rice with cold water until the water runs clear, then drain.  In pot or rice cooker, place drained rice with the tea broth.  Bring the rice-broth mixture to a boil, then lower heat to low/medium.  Cook rice until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

7.)  Cut or shred chicken to serve with the flavored scallion oil, broth, and rice.

*** If you decide to cut the chicken the traditional Chinese way, use a meat cleaver with a heavy and steady hand to cut the chicken in half vertically down the center.  Cut legs off with thighs attached, then cut off wing pieces.  Cut off the chicken breasts with the underlying bones attached, then you will have also have back bone pieces.  Cut the leg/thighs, wings, breast pieces, and back pieces in 1″ by 2″ pieces across the grain (please see first picture).  And if you don’t feel safe doing this (I don’t all the time) just shred the chicken…it’s even easier to eat this way!

And if you like this recipe, you’ll probably also enjoy my Tea Smoked Shrimp Recipe, another light and fresh meal that you can feel good about eating.

2 thoughts on “White Cut Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil

  1. Your chicken looks very moist and juicy. I haven’t had this dish for years. I love your twist on the tea broth and tea rice. No doubt I will be taking on this project soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s