Soya-glazed chicken with buckwheat ‘risotto’, pickled cucumber and XO sauce

November 10, 2013 (Last Updated: January 11, 2019)

Recipe by Richard Carstens

Soya-glazed chicken with buckwheat ‘risotto’, pickled cucumber and XO sauce

Serves: 3
Cooking Time: 4 hour


  • Buckwheat ‘risotto’
  • 120g buckwheat
  • 30g fresh ginger
  • 40g spring onion
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • Soya-glazed chicken
  • olive oil, to fry
  • 4 x 200g free-range chicken breasts, skins on
  • 50ml soya sauce, mixed with 30g castor sugar
  • Pickled cucumber
  • 125ml (½ cup) olive oil
  • 40g Szechwan pepper
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) soya sauce
  • 60ml (¼ cup) rice wine vinegar
  • 10g castor sugar
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
  • Bok choi
  • oil, to fry
  • 4 heads baby bok choi, cut in half
  • XO sauce
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 50g fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 50g garlic, finely grated
  • 30g Korean/dried chilli finely, chopped
  • 30g anchovies
  • 25ml (5 tsp) shrimp paste
  • 100g smoky bacon, fried until crispy
  • 50g dried whole shiitake mushrooms
  • 100ml dry sherry
  • 100ml Shaoxing rice wine
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar
  • 500ml (2 cups) brown chicken stock
  • 250ml (1 cup) fish stock
  • 5cm square dried Kombu
  • 3,75ml (¾ tsp) Xantana (fermented corn starch)/normal corn starch
  • fish sauce, to taste
  • 20g radish, thinly sliced to garnish
  • assorted microherbs, to garnish



For the ‘risotto’, bring 3L salted water to a boil. Add the buckwheat and boil until just tender, 8 minutes. Strain, refresh under cold running water and rinse off excess starch. Drain well.


For the chicken, preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in 2 pans over high heat. Place 2 breasts in each pan, skin side down, and lower the heat to medium-low. Render the fat from the skin until golden and crispy, 3 minutes. Brush with the sweetened soya and cook the breasts in the oven, 6 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest, 1 minute, before brushing with more soya and slicing.


For the pickled cucumber, heat the 125ml (½ cup) olive oil until very hot. Add the Szechwan and strain immediately, reserving the oil. Allow the oil to cool, then add the remaining ingredients – except the cucumber – and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Dress the cucumber with the pickle 10 minutes prior to serving and drain well.


For the bok choi, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and briefly sauté the bok choi.


For the XO sauce, heat the 100ml olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and fry until softened. Add the anchovies, shrimp paste, bacon and mushrooms and cook, 2 minutes. Add the sherry, Shaoxing and vinegar and allow to reduce by half. Add the stocks and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 hours. Remove from heat, add the Kombu and set aside to infuse, 30 minutes. Strain. Before serving, reheat to a simmer, sprinkle over the Xantana or normal corn starch and whisk until smooth. Season with fish sauce to taste.


Returning to the ‘risotto’, heat a little olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and spring onion and cook, 30 seconds. Add the cooked buckwheat and stir to combine. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the buckwheat swells and becomes tender, 3 – 4 minutes Remove from heat.


Spoon a little XO sauce into centre of each plate. Add some buckwheat ‘risotto’ and top with some sliced chicken and pickled cucumber. Add some sautéed bok choi, top with more chicken and finish with a scattering of radish and microherbs to serve.



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