Chicken and papaya soup

Serves 6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

I came across this in Fuchsia Dunlop's book Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper (Ebury, £16.99), and thought it would work well at a Chinese New Year dinner. Fuchsia recommends a boiling fowl, which can be tricky to get hold of; I find that free-range chicken legs will do the trick.

1 free-range boiling fowl or 6 free-range chicken legs
20g piece of fresh root ginger, unpeeled
2tsp Shaoxing wine
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 spring onions
2 ripe papayas

Place the chicken in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil, discard the water and rinse the chicken.

Slightly crush the ginger with the side of a cleaver or a meat bat or heavy chopping knife. Place the chicken in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, skim, season, add the ginger and wine and simmer gently for about an hour and a half until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken and strain the stock through a fine meshed sieve into another saucepan. Skim off any fat. The stock should be fairly strong; if not, continue simmering until it has a good flavour.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and break into fairly large bite-sized chunks and return to the soup with the spring onions. Peel the papaya, halve it and remove the seeds (see dumpling recipe overleaf for using the skins and seeds). Cut into rough 2cm chunks and add to the soup. Season if necessary.

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