Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
This recipe is from Sichuan Province, China where salt from the local salt mines was used to make this dish. Since salt was an expensive commodity, the use of so much salt kept this dish in the realm of the wealthy. The sauces are not Sichuanese but are worthy to accompany this dish.
- 3 lbs whole chickens
- 1⁄4 cup shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 4 lbs kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 2 teaspoons szechuan peppercorns
- 1 large piece cheesecloth
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 tablespoon Chinese chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Rinse the chicken under cool water, cut away any fat around the cavity opening, and place the chicken in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the rice wine, ginger, and green onions.
- Brush the outside of the chicken with the wine mixture and place the remaining contents of the small bowl in the chicken cavity. Put the chicken in a cool place and let marinate for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the salt evenly in a Dutch oven that is slightly larger that the chicken and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the salt from the oven but leave the oven on.
- Place the chicken on a dry surface and rub the spice mixture all over the chicken. Wrap the chicken in cheesecloth.
- Carefully pour all but 1 inch of the salt (about 6 cups) into a heatproof bowl. Set the chicken in the pot, breast up, and cover completely with the reserved hot salt. Make sure the chicken is completely covered with a layer of salt. Bake covered for 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes. While chicken is resting, make the sauces. When chicken is done resting, discard the salt, unwrap and use a cleaver to chop the chicken into chopstick-friendly pieces. Serve with dipping sauces.
- Chili Sauce: In a small bowl, combine the water with the chili sauce, vinegar and sugar; stir to dissolve the sugar. Let stand for at least 15 minutes and stir before serving.
- Garlic Sauce: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic and sugar; stir to dissolve the sugar. Let stand for at least 15 minutes and stir before serving.
- Ginger Sauce: Put the ginger in a small heatproof bowl. Heat the oil in a small saucepan until it sends up a wisp of smoke, then pour it over the ginger and stir. Stir in the salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.