3 1/2 – 4 pounds whole chicken
6 1/3 cups or 1.5 litres water
1 cup or 250ml light or full soy sauce or Tamari
1 cup or 250ml Shaoshing wine (can substitute white or red wine or add 1 additional cup water instead)
5.3 ounces or 150g yellow rock sugar (can substitute brown sugar)
2 sticks of cinnamon
4 star anise
1 Vanilla Bean, slit lengthwise*
1 large knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Remove all visible fat from the chicken and wipe out the cavity with paper towels. Using a pot that will bring sauce halfway up the chicken, bring all the ingredients except the chicken to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 20 minutes. Submerge the chicken in the stock, breast side down and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat and cook at a strong simmer for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over and allow to simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the chicken cool in the stock.
Once the stock has cooled, remove the chicken. The master sauce should then be strained, boiled, cooled and refrigerated for future use. As the stock ages its flavor will intensify. Add water if necessary to dilute the stock. The chicken is now ready to be used in a salad, or chopped, using a cleaver Chinese-style, and placed decoratively on a serving plate.
If using extract instead of a vanilla bean, use 2 teaspoons extract added after turning heat off and chicken is cooling.