Dubai: Koushui ji is one of the most famous dishes in Sichuan cuisine. The name of the dish literally translates to “mouthwatering chicken” in Mandarin. To prepare it, traditionally, the chicken is first steamed before being dunked in iced water to firm up the skin. The chicken has to be, then, bathed in spicy chili sauce with toasted peanuts and sesame seeds and a garnish of green onion. But, Chef Dingxu Ren, the head chef of Hutong, a Chinese fine-dining restaurant in Dubai, has given this dish an unusual twist.
The chef from the Michelin-recognised restaurant shared the recipe with Food by Gulf News:
For marinating the chicken
1.2 kg fresh chicken with skin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp five-spice powder mix (available at supermarkets)
1 tsp ginger powder
For crispy chicken sauce
156 ml dark vinegar
38 ml white vinegar
525 ml maltose water (available at Chinese supermarkets)
1 tsp baking soda powder
For black truffle sauce
8 gms black truffle (chopped)
20 ml Jinlan soy sauce (Taiwanese soy sauce available in Asian supermarkets)
1 tbsp truffle oil (the chef uses extra virgin olive oil infused with truffle and thyme)
Marinate the chicken:
1. Mix the salt, ginger powder and five spice powder.
2. Add one teaspoon of the spice mix inside the chicken and the remaining on the chicken skin. Rub the chicken with the spices for three minutes.
3. Set aside for marination in the refrigerator for six to eight hours.
To make the chicken sauce:
On a stove top, mix all the ingredients listed for the crispy chicken sauce and bring to a boil. Set aside.
Cooking the chicken:
- Boil water in a wok and using a ladle, pour the boiling water over the chicken. Now immediately pour cold water on it. Repeat the process two or three times (please refer to the video for visual guidance).
- In a wok, heat the crispy chicken sauce to 60 degrees and give the chicken a wash.
- Make the truffle sauce by chopping the truffle and mixing it with the Jinlan soy sauce and truffle oil.
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes.
- Bake the chicken at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes (until baked perfectly with brown skin).
- Remove and give the baked chicken a wash with hot oil at 170 to 180 degrees, until the skin of the chicken becomes crispy (please refer to the video for visual guidance).
- Remove and cut the chicken into smaller pieces and separate the skin and the meat.
- Remove the bones and retain the meat.
- Mix a few teaspoons of the truffle sauce with the meat (to taste).
To plate, place the meat at the base, add the crispy chicken skin on top and top it all with the truffle oil and drizzle with Chinese spring onion oil.
(To make scallion oil, also called green onion oil or spring onion oil – thinly slice scallions, add to a blender with a cooking oil like sunflower or vegetable oil. Blend it smooth, remove and cook for five minutes. Strain through a mesh.)