Sunday, 14 December 2014

Asian Style Roast Chicken for Christmas?



I have never roasted a whole chicken before. Since, it is almost Christmas, I thought it would be good to practice roasting a chicken. I know, I know, traditionally a turkey is used. But turkey is just too huge for our small family of non-turkey eating members. Besides, Turkey Inn  does not come cheap in this part of the world. So, practicality outbeats tradition. Chicken is god given. It is so much easier to prepare, especially in its small size.


Now, let's just talk about my roast chicken. It is not your usual western roast chicken with simple ingredients like salt, pepper and thyme. Somehow, living in this part of the world, everything gets more complicated, even the marinade. If you look at the marinade, its primarily ingredients are easily obtainable here. Yes, quite a few things are added I'd admit, but the result is awesome! You can actually smell the roasting chicken half a mile away (metaphorically saying of course!). But it does smell strongly good, that I guarantee. Aesthetically, I feel it is still lacking but I'll let you be the judge.



The aromatics in this recipe are shallots, lemongrass, garlic and ginger powder. You can replace ginger powder with fresh ginger if you can't find the former. It is just that I do not want my marinade to be too runny. It should be thick, paste like. These aromatics are essential if you want your chicken to smell wondrous.

If there is one thing similar in roasting a chicken, it would be technique. I believe every part of the world likes their chicken golden brown with crispy skin outside, but with tender juicy meat inside. This is no exception. In order to do that, we must make sure the chicken is thoroughly dried before roasting. Chicken should be roasted in even high heat in order for it to be evenly browned. How do we know our chicken is cooked then since different ovens have different settings? The best thing is to invest in a thermometer. Stick thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bones. If it reaches 70C, you know your chicken is done to perfection. If you do not have a thermometer, make a little incision at the inner thigh of the chicken. If the juice is clear, means chicken is cooked. However, you would run into the danger of overcooking as overcooked chicken gives you clear juice as well.

Ingredients

1.4 kg to 2 kg whole chicken (mine was 1.7 kg with giblets), giblets removed
2 tsp ginger powder
10 cloves garlic, pounded
5 shallots, pounded
1 lemongrass (use only the head), pounded
chicken stock
1 tbsp flour
chopped parleys for garnishing
butter

Seasoning
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp salt

Optional Vegetables
1 large carrot, cut into chucks (you can also use a few baby carrots)
1 large potato, cut into chucks
Brocolli, cut into pieces

Cooking Instruction

1 Prepare marinade. Pound the garlic, shallots and lemongrass together in a mortar and pestle. Combine pounded ingredient with the rest of the seasoning. Set aside.

2. Prepare chicken. Remove giblets. Wash and pat dry chicken. Chicken should be at room temperature. Rub marinade onto chicken. Make sure all areas are covered with marinade. Also, rub some marinade onto the breast meat under the chicken skin. Marinade for at least 4 hours (I did mine overnight) in the refrigerator.

3. Prepare chicken for roasting. Remove chicken from fridge and air-dry chicken until the skin is dry. This will give you a crispy skin when roasting. If you are impatient, put it under a fan to speed up the process. Put chicken on a roasting rack. Drizzle vegetables with some oil. Underneath the rack, throw in the vegetables.

4. Roast chicken. Preheat oven at 180C. Put chicken in, backbone side up, and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes. Flip chicken and roast for another 30 minutes so that chicken gets browned evenly. Stick a thermometer into the deepest part of the breast meat without touching the bones. If the temperature reaches 70C, remove chicken from oven.

5. Make gravy. Pour excess juice/liquid from both the chicken and the roasting pan into a sauce pan. Add a little flour and chicken stock and stir until it thickens. Add salt and sugar if needed.

Note:
Make sure your veggies are cut into smaller chunks as mine did not cook fully. Alternatively, parboil the veggies and dry them completely before putting them to roast. 

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