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Season the chicken with salt and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over a medium heat, add the halved spring onions, ginger, star anise and bay leaves. Stir-fry for 5 mins until fragrant and the spring onions turn slightly golden.
Pour in the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, 2 tbsp of the sugar and 480ml water. Turn the heat up to high and bring the liquid to the boil.
Slide in the chicken thighs, skin-side down, arranging them in a single layer. Add water if needed to just about cover the chicken.
Turn the heat down low, cover the wok or pan and simmer for 35 mins. Turn the thighs over and cook covered for another 10 mins.
Remove the chicken to a plate. When the thighs are cool enough to handle, remove the bones and slice into pieces about 1cm thick. Arrange on a serving dish.
While the chicken is cooling, strain 150ml of the braising liquid into a small pan and discard the solids. Put the pan over a medium heat and just before it starts to boil, add the cornflour mixture and remaining brown sugar. Once the sauce reaches your desired thickness, remove from the heat. (It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.) Pour it over the sliced chicken or serve in a bowl on the side for dipping. Garnish with the sliced spring onion. Serve with jasmine rice and steamed greens, or vegetables of your choice.