Chinese Roast Chicken

Jan 17, 2018

Shown above with Scallion-Jalapeno Pancakes

Nothing says family dinner quite like a whole roast chicken. Growing up, my mom almost always served it with mashed potatoes. Sometimes I like to do it her way with lemon and rosemary – it just tastes like childhood to me. But lately I’ve been leaning more towards this Chinese inspired version served with my variation on scallion pancakes (psst…the secret is jalapeños). So I guess that tastes more like my husband’s childhood.

I’m usually cooking for two, we both go straight for the leg quarters which always leaves all the breast meat for other uses. The leftovers are great for dumplings, soups, noodle dishes, fried rice, you name it. The long marinade leaves the meat extra juicy so it can stand up to a quick second cooking without getting dry.

One of the best tips I’ve picked up learning to cook Chinese food is to always let your poultry air dry for at least a couple hours to let the skin dry before roasting – golden crispy skin, guaranteed!

Chinese Roast Chicken

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4


1 whole chicken
2 T dry white wine
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c. orange juice
2 T. fish sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 medium shallot
1 thumb ginger, peeled
1 T. sugar
salt and white pepper
1/2 t. Chinese five spice
Basting liquid
2 T. vegetable oil
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 t. chili flakes or powder


Roughly chop the shallot, ginger and garlic. Put the chunks into a food processor along with all the other marinade ingredients and mix well.

Butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone; no need to use a fancy, sharp knife for this - shears or a seated knife work better. Turn the chicken over, lay it flat (breast side up), and press on the breastbone until you hear it crack.

Place the chicken into a large ziploc bag (double bagging is always a good idea, just to avoid raw chicken fridge messes), and pour the marinade in with it. Make sure the chicken is evenly coated and place in the fridge for 12-48 hours, flipping it occasionally to make sure it marinates evenly.

Take the chicken out, discarding the marinade, and lay it in a pan on top of a baking rack to dry. Let it sit at room temperature for a few hours (depending on the room temperature), until the skin becomes tight & dry.

Preheat the oven to 450, roast the chicken for 20 minutes, remove and baste with oil, salt, sugar & chili powder mixture.

Turn down heat to 350 and bake for about 40 more minutes, rotating occasionally. Cook until a meat thermometer in the thigh (careful it's not touching the bone) reads at least 165 degrees. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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