Chefs' Recipes

Victor Liong's laquered cockerel with eight-spice salt

The celebrated chef shares his unique whole cockerel recipe.

  • 45 mins cooking
  • Serves 8
  • Print
Brought to you by Aurum Poultry Co.
Serving a whole cockerel — head, feet and all — packs a mighty flavour punch, especially when it's a slow-grown cockerel from Aurum Poultry Co. The bones, skin, and connective tissues in the cockerel's head and feet release collagen and marrow when cooked, adding depth and richness to the meat. Lather in a glossy eight-spice salt to ring in the Chinese New Year in good taste (and fortune).


  • Whole cockerel
  • Lemon, cut into wedges
  • Japanese Worcestershire sauce, as needed (see note)
  • Spring onion, julienned
  • Coriander leaves
Black vinegar gastrique
  • 200 gm black vinegar
  • 200 gm sugar
8-spice salt
  • 280 gm Murray River pink salt
  • 40 gm sugar
  • 10 gm star anise
  • 15 gm black pepper
  • 10 gm Sichuan pepper
  • 1 gm chilli flakes
  • 15 gm white pepper
  • 12 gm coriander seeds
  • 10 gm fennel seeds
  • 5 gm cinnamon


8-spice salt
  • 1
    Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Toast spices for 15 minutes.
  • 2
    Cool slightly and blend into a fine powder. Sift and blend with salt and sugar. Store in an airtight jar.
Lacquered cockerel
  • 3
    Cut the cockerel in half lengthways from the back, debone.
  • 4
    Boil water in a kettle. Place cockerel on a cooling rack, pour boiling water over the skin to shrink back.
  • 5
    Season the flesh side with spice salt and leave uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.
  • 6
    Steam the cockerel on low heat until the internal temperature has reached 65˚C. Cool to room temperature or chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  • 7
    To make the black vinegar gastrique, mix together the black vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until a syrup forms, then cool to room temperature.
  • 8
    Brush cockerel skin side with the gastrique and allow to dry out for an hour.
  • 9
    Heat oil in the deep fryer until 165˚C. Deep fry cockerel for 4-5 minutes or until the skin has turned into a burnished brown. Rest for 10 minutes.
  • 10
    Carve and serve with more spiced salt, lemon wedges, coriander and Worcestershire sauce.


  • To save time, buy a pre-chopped whole cockerel at Aurum Poultry Co.
  • Japanese Worcestershire sauce can be bought from select Asian supermarkets and organic wholefoods stores.