Cold Chinese Chicken 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Book Report Nov 6, 2013

This is an easy dish, put together in minutes and abandoned for an hour over a low flame.

Buy the best chicken you can, preferably free range. Look for large thighs that have a bit of the backbone included; we tested this recipe with Kosher Valley chicken, available at Whole Foods Markets.

Sprinkle the ice-cold jellied chicken with the oil and scallions, then give a squeeze of lime. If you want something extra, add cucumber, avocado and crisp lettuce leaves. Or shred the chicken and serve it with cold noodles.

Make Ahead: The thighs and their cooking liquid need to be refrigerated for at least several hours and preferably overnight.

Servings: 4 - 6
  • 6 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds; see headnote)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • One 2-inch piece peeled ginger root, cut into thick slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 4 scallions, trimmed, 2 left whole and 2 slivered
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cut crosswise into thin slices and seeded (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • Lime wedges, for serving


Season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper. Put them in a large pot and barely cover with cold water. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise and the 2 whole scallions; bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming off and discarding any foam from the surface. Reduce the heat to low; cover and cook for 1 hour.

Use tongs to transfer the thighs to a large bowl to cool.

Skim off and discard any fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Increase the heat to high; boil, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Meanwhile, discard the skin from each thigh. Discard the bones, if desired.

Strain the reduced cooking liquid over the thighs, discarding any solids. Cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least several hours or overnight. The cooking liquid will become jellified.

To serve, arrange the chicken on a platter, with some of the jellied broth clinging to it. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Top with the slivered scallions and with the cilantro and jalapeño, if using. Drizzle with the sesame oil; serve with lime wedges.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal," by David Tanis (Artisan, 2013).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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