Shanghai White Cut Chicken (上海白斩鸡)

shanghai white-cut chicken

Shanghai, a city renowned for its vibrant culture and rich culinary heritage, boasts a treasure trove of traditional delicacies. Among the many dishes that have captured the hearts and palates of locals and visitors alike, “白斩鸡” or Shanghai White-Cut Chicken stands out as a true masterpiece. This exquisite dish is not only a visual delight with its golden skin and tender, snowy-white meat but also a delectable treat for the taste buds, offering a unique and exceptional flavor profile.

In Shanghai, when it comes to White-Cut Chicken, the name “小绍兴” or “Xiao Shaoxing” is invariably associated with excellence. Xiao Shaoxing only uses high-quality “三黄鸡” or “Three Yellow Chicken” produced in the Pudong region of Shanghai. These chickens are celebrated for their exceptional quality and delectable taste, earning them a special place in the hearts of discerning customers. As a result, “小绍兴” has become synonymous with esteemed establishments that have built a reputation for serving the best White-Cut Chicken in Shanghai.

Ingredients and Preparation

To create this iconic dish, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 young rooster or chicken
  • 5 grams of ginger paste
  • 5 grams of shredded scallions
  • 0.6 grams of fine salt
  • 6 grams of peanut oil

Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step preparation:

  1. Begin by preparing two small bowls: one with ginger paste and the other with shredded scallions. Add the fine salt to each bowl and mix well. Heat a wok over medium heat, bring the peanut oil to a slight simmer, and then remove it from the heat. Pour the hot oil into the two small bowls, creating a flavorful condiment for serving.
  2. Wash the chicken thoroughly and place it in a pot of water. Blanch the chicken in the boiling water, removing it twice during the process and discarding the water each time to maintain consistent temperatures inside and outside the chicken.
  3. Continue boiling the chicken for approximately 15 minutes, or until it’s fully cooked. Use a hook to lift the chicken out of the water, then immediately immerse it in cold water to cool. Remove any feathers and the outer yellow skin and drain the chicken.
  4. Allow the chicken’s skin to air dry, then drizzle it with hot peanut oil. Proceed to carve the chicken into small, elegant pieces and arrange them on a serving plate. The final presentation should resemble the form of a chicken. When serving, pair the chicken with the ginger paste and shredded scallions prepared earlier.

Cooking Tips and Secrets

This meticulous cooking process yields a White-Cut Chicken with a lusciously white appearance and incredibly tender meat. The tenderness of the chicken is closely related to its water content. Cooking the chicken causes the cells to rupture, releasing internal juices, resulting in shrinking and tougher meat. However, soaking the chicken in the broth helps the cells regain moisture, plumping up the meat and making it tender. Brushing the chicken with sesame oil not only adds a layer of flavor but also prevents the skin from drying out and reduces moisture evaporation.

Shanghai White-Cut Chicken, with its rich history, meticulous preparation, and exquisite presentation, represents the epitome of Shanghai’s culinary heritage. This dish is a testament to the city’s dedication to preserving its traditions and offering an unforgettable dining experience. The delicate flavors, tender texture, and the expertise required to perfect this dish make it a true culinary gem that is beloved by both locals and food enthusiasts from around the world.

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