Chicken that is smoked to golden brown perfection on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. The flavours of the sugarcane and brown sugar are infused into the chicken through the smoking process, resulting in a rich, layered flavour profile!
Remove all the innards from the chicken cavity. Rub coarse salt on the skin to exfoliate and get rid of the chicken smell. Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat dry.
Rub the chicken with 3/4-1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper on the skin as well as the cavity of the chicken. Leave it in the fridge to marinate at least 4 hours or best overnight.
Brush the sugar cane under the running tap until it is clean. Split the sugarcane into half.
Take out the chicken from the fridge and butterfly the chicken by cutting along the breast and spread it out.
In the wok, place 3 sheets of kitchen towel on the bottom of the wok. Then put 3 tbsp of brown sugar on the kitchen towel and spread out the sugar.
Place the sugarcane over the sugar in a crisscross manner to form a rack. Trim the sugarcane based on the size of your wok so that the sugar cane does not touch the sugar.
Place the butterflied chicken on top of the sugarcane rack with wings and thighs facing up.
Cover the wok and turn on the heat to medium high to smoke the chicken for about 25-30 mins. It is normal to see a small amount of smoke coming out from the wok. The smoke will cook the chicken giving it a smoky and woody aroma which fills the entire house.
Finally, remove the chicken, chop it out and garnish with chilli, spring onion and parsley (optional)
Using fresh chicken, rather than frozen chicken, will yield the most tender results.
You can use either the purple coloured or the fat greenish-yellow coloured sugarcanes typically used for making sugarcane juice. The smaller and more slender sugarcane variant is more flavourful and more suited for making 'liang cha' or cooling herbal drinks.
Line the wok with paper kitchen towels to make for easier washing up! Otherwise, when the sugar melts, it will form a hard black crust in the wok which is very difficult to get rid of.
Use a chopstick to pierce the thickest part of the thigh through to the bone. If the juice runs clear, the chicken is cooked.