Wuki Chicken

This delicious and easy-to-make adaptation of a Chinese recipe is ideal to serve at party. Serve with plain, boiled rice.

12 chicken drumsticks

2-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced

6 spring onions , trimmed and cut into

2-inch lengths

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon butter

1 oz. lard or vegetable fat

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon five-spice powder or mixed spice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon chilli sauce

2 tablespoons tomato puree

4 fl. oz. home-made chicken stock 2 teaspoons cornflour , dissolved in 1 tablespoon chicken stock

Half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring the water to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately high.

Add the drumsticks to the pan and boil them for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the drumsticks from the pan, drain them and arrange them in a large pudding basin. Add the ginger and spring onions and sprinkle over half the salt.

Cut out a circle of greaseproof or waxed paper about 4-inches wider in diameter than the rim of the basin. Grease the paper with the butter. Cut out a circle of aluminium foil the same size as the paper circle.

Put the greaseproof or waxed paper circle and the foil circle together, the buttered side of the greaseproof or waxed paper away from the foil and, holding them firmly together, make a 1-inch pleat across the centre. Place the pleated paper and foil circle, foil uppermost, over the pudding basin. With a piece of string, securely tic the paper and foil circle around the rim of the basin.

Place the basin in a large saucepan and pour in enough boiling water to come about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the basin. Cover the pan and place it over low heat. Steam the chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the drumsticks.

Meanwhile, in a large frying-pan melt the lard or fat over moderate heat. When it has melted, add the onion and fry, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and the remaining salt, and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the sugar, five-spice powder or mixed spice, soy sauce, chilli sauce, tomato puree and chicken stock. Cook, stirring, for 1 min-ute. Add the cornflour and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the sauce hot.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and lift the basin out of the saucepan. Remove and discard the foil and paper circles.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the drumsticks, ginger and spring onions to a warmed serving dish. Pour the chicken cooking juices into the sauce and stir well to blend. Pour over the sauce and serve at once.