1 chicken (3 lbs)
8 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon salt
3 slices ginger
2 pieces star anise (optional)
4 cups oil
fried shrimp-flavor chips (optional)
prepared Szechwan pepper salt (see below)
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup hot water
Clean and pat-dry chicken. Rub cavity with 1 teaspoon salt; let stand for 1 hour.
In a large pot, bring 8 cups water to a boil with wine, remaining salt, ginger and star anise. Add chicken and bring to a second boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes, turning occasionally. Turn heat off; let chicken stand in hot liquid for another 15-20 minutes. Remove, drain well and pat-dry.
Combine skin mixture ingredients and brush entire outside surface of chicken with mixture. Tie a string around wings and hang chicken in a well-ventilated place to air-dry for 5-6 hours.
Heat 4 cups oil in wok to 350 F. Carefully dip chicken into wok, basting with ot oil constantly by using a ladle. Deep-fry until skin turns evenly brown and crisp. Turn heat up to 375 F for last 3-4 minutes to ensure the browning process. Remove and drain well. (To prevent splattering of oil, have a wok lid on guard).
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and serve with toasted Szechwan pepper salt. Garnish with shrimp-flavor chips.
Toasted Szechwan Pepper Salt
2 tablespoons Szechwan peppercorns
1/2 cup salt
Stir Szechwan peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 1 - 1 1/2 minutes until fragrant. Remove and grind with a mortar and pestle or rolling pin. Heat salt in the same skillet until color turns light brown. Remove and mix with toasted peppercorns.