A while back, whilst still in the UK, I picked up a free recipe leaflet in Waitrose. One of the recipes included was for a slow-roast Asian chicken. We went through a phase of cooking it often, but then stopped as it slipped our minds and other recipes were discovered.
However, since being in Brunei we're finding that chicken is our main source of protein and we're eating it a lot. We had a sudden flashback to this chicken recipe, but as our shipping from the UK (including all my recipe books...) has yet to arrive - and I couldn't find the recipe online - I had to work from memory.
Fortunately it worked - better than worked, it was even nicer than we had remembered it! The key to its success is, I think, the addition of toasted sesame oil. Be sure to buy toasted as it has the most incredible flavour - the untoasted oil is bland in comparison. Of course when we were searching for it here, none of the sesame oils were labelled as 'toasted' but we went for one labelled 'fragrant' and it was perfect.
Here - again from memory! - is what you do.
Slow Roast Asian Chicken
1 whole chicken
an inch of ginger root, sliced (don't bother to peel it)
6 cloves of garlic (just slightly crushed, no need to peel)
3 star anise
250ml chicken stock (from concentrate) - or just boiling water
2 or 3 tsp toasted sesame oil
Slice the onions and place them in the bottom of a roasting tray.
Place the chicken on top of the onions, and put the slice ginger, garlic cloves and star anise inside the cavity of the chicken.
Pour over the hot chicken stock - or boiling water.
Tent the chicken with foil and place into a low oven (150C - lower for a fan oven) for about 3 hours. A little longer won't hurt at all, that's the joy of slow-roasting.
Half an hour before you want to serve it, remove the foil, drizzle over the sesame oil and turn the oven up to 190 degrees C. Put the chicken back in the oven for half an hour or so, until the skin is burnished and crispy.
Serve with plain rice and a vegetable of your choice. We like to shred cabbage finely and then steam it with a very small amount of water. When still al dente we strain it and stir through a chopped chili and a teaspoon of sesame oil.
OK, it's not beautiful - far from it! I forgot to even take a photo until I had served it up, hence it looks like it's been in a fight. But it's what it tastes like that matters, and this tastes great.
A spoonful or so of the flavourful juice made this meal complete. And it made enough for 2 evening meals for the 2 of us. Simple and delicious!