Monday, July 12, 2010

North Park's Shanghai Chicken with Prawn Crackers You Can Cook Yourself!

The most famous of restaurant chains in the Philippines and around the globe bend over backwards to ensure that their recipes remain best kept secrets. For instance, KFC's finger-licking eleven-spice chicken recipe is tucked securely within the company's secret food archives. Max's fried chicken takes pride in a recipe that has spanned three generations. One of my favorite affordable Chinese restaurants in the metropolis is North Park Noodle House. I love their serving sizes which offer so much value for money. Moreover, it takes them only a few minutes to whip up your order. Service can be summarized in a word, and that is, PRONTO!

My family loves to order either Shanghai Chicken or China Chicken from North Park Noodle House. The only thing lacking from the dish is a crunchy sensation enjoyed from a plate of complementary prawn crackers. The photo above is a Shanghai China Chicken dish which anybody can cook and enjoy. The recipe consists of only a few ingredients which you "recycle" for even more savory and better-tasting Chinese chicken days after your first try.

Instead of listing down the ingredients and instructions separately, I will be enlisting the details differently this time so that it is easier to follow. :)

First, prepare a casserole which can fit one whole chicken. Fill up your casserole with clean water to a level you see in the photo below, soy sauce to taste, 2 to 3 pieces of star anise, rock salt to taste, ground white pepper to taste, sugar to taste, 1 to 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, freshly ground or pounded sichuan peppercorns (red peppercorns which you can purchase from Bee Tin Grocery in Binondo or in Landmark), some slices of white onions or shallots (whichever you prefer), and some garlic. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Make sure your chicken is rubbed clean using rock salt to remove all odor and bacteria. Slide your chicken into the boiling mixture and let simmer for 30 minutes, making sure you turn the chicken regularly and scoop some of the stock into the chicken's cavity. Do NOT cover the casserole as the chicken's skin may break. It should look something like the photo below.

After 30 minutes, the chicken's skin should slightly brown. Remove the chicken and drain well. Air dry or use a blower or fan should you desire. Preheat a turbo broiler to around 300 to 350 degrees Farenheit for 10 minutes. Put a metal rack inside the broiler. Place your chicken inside and allow to brown, turning it over once one side is golden and crisp already. Chop the chicken to serving pieces. By this time, you should have fried some prawn crackers (Besuto, Fat and Thin, or other brands available in Asian stores and groceries) and served it with your hot chicken.

As a tip, do NOT throw out the stock. You can keep it in a freezer and use it again for your next chicken. This way, the stock becomes richer and richer and more delicious!


  1. Hi. May I suggest to throw out the used chicken stock instead of re-using it. Because when boiling the chicken, you take away and kill the chemicals in the vaccines used for their growth. Unless ofcourse if your chicken is organic or native maybe it is a good stock.
    Thank you for this recipe Cindy. Will try it sometime.
    Ana DyC

  2. Hi Ana DyC! Your suggestion is great! :D