Hakka Salt Chicken

Edward Hu


The Hakka salt chicken originated in Guangdong, China. In Guangdong, people often say that "without chicken can not make a banquet," which shows the importance of chicken in Guangdong.

Due to the modern and industrialized chicken farming in the US, chickens' quality is not tasty. In China, people use free-range chickens for cooking salt chicken. Free-range chickens grow naturally in nature, so the meat of these chickens is delicious.

The Hakka salt chicken is also the Chinese food I missed the most when I was in the U.S. This summer, before I went back to China, I list a "summer must-eat menu," and the Hakka salt chicken ranked first. Through my understanding of chicken and the constant cooking failure, I created a simple version of Hakka salt chicken that is easy to cook and find ingredients.

Hakka Salt Chicken


These ingredients are enough for two people:

1. Whole chicken legs (3) (Whole chicken legs are easy to find in Walmart, Foodlion, etc)

2. Gardenia fruit (5 to 7 grains) (the effect is to dye the chicken. if you do not found, it can be ignored)

3. Green onions (1 to 2 blades)

4. Ginger (5 to 7 slices)

5. Spicy bake mix (two packs)

6. Peanut oil (can also be replaced with sesame oil, but not other oils)

7. White sesame seeds (decorative, negligible)

8. Coriander leaves (1 to 2 slices) (decorative, negligible)

9. Ice cubes (around 20 grains)

Also, you need to prepare these kitchenware:

1. A pot large enough to put down three chicken legs

2. Kitchen knife

3. Chopsticks



- The production time is approximately four and a half hours, including pickling and refrigeration. If you want to have chicken as dinner, remember to prepare it on time.

- It is best to have rice when eating Hakka salt chicken.

Step 1 - Pickled whole chicken legs

1. Wash three chicken legs

2. Apply the three chicken legs evenly with a packet of Spicy bake mix.

3. Seal the container with clingfilm and leave the marinated chicken legs in the fridge for two hours.

Step 2 - Cook chicken legs

4. Cook a pot of warm water (which must be warm), and the water depth must completely submerge the three chicken legs (estimate the water level yourself). When you start cooking, add the green onion, 5 to 7 slices of ginger, a packet of spicy bake mix, and all Gardenia fruit (which can be ignored if you don't have the gardenia fruit).

5. Prepare a basin of ice water and place all ice cubes to cool the water.

6. Boil in water to 80 degrees Celsius (approximately 176 degrees Fahrenheit). The water temperature can be obtained by observing the size of bubbles and the speed at which they emerge. For example, when the size of bubbles is about 1cm, and bubbles are coming out slowly, the water temperature is excellent. Remember: The whole process of cooking water must be maintained at about 80 degrees Celsius (about 176 degrees Fahrenheit), and water cannot boil.

7. Put a whole chicken leg into the water. Raise the chicken immediately after three seconds in water. Then wait three seconds and put the entire chicken leg in the water again. Repeat these procedures three times. When done, place the chicken legs in ice water and let the ice water drown the entire chicken leg. Then, the other two chicken legs repeat the same procedure.

8. Remove the three chicken legs from the ice water and place them in 80 degrees Celsius (about 176 degrees Fahrenheit) water. The water must completely drown the three chicken legs.

9. Cook the chicken legs for 25 to 30 minutes. During this time, the chef should observe and control the temperature of the water at all times. Remember: The water temperature must be around 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit), and the water must not boil.

10. When the chicken legs have been cooked for 25 minutes, use chopsticks to insert a hole in the thickest part of the chicken leg. If there is no chicken blood flowing out, the chicken cooks thoroughly. If chicken blood is still flowing out, continue cooking for about three minutes. Check again in the same way after three minutes. If the chicken legs are still not cooked, continue cooking and check every two minutes until cooked thoroughly.

11. Remove the cooked chicken legs from the pan.

Step 3 - Chicken "Massage"

12. Dry the three chicken legs with kitchen paper.

13. Spread the peanut oil in both hands and apply to each place of the chicken leg.

14. After completing the "massage", refrigerate the three chicken legs in the fridge for about an hour and a half.

Final step - Decorate and Enjoy

15. Get the chicken legs from the fridge.

16. Cut the chicken legs into chunks as shown with a kitchen knife. Don't be too small, otherwise, they will taste bad. When cutting chicken legs, remember to make sure the skin is not chopped.

17. Place the cut chicken legs on a plate. After setting the plate, sprinkle white sesame seeds over the chicken. White sesame look personal preference, if you like white sesame, put as much as possible.

18. Finally, put a piece of coriander leaves on the center of the salt chicken. It doesn't matter if you don't have it.

19. Enjoy your meal!