Recipe: Chinese Style Salt and Pepper Turkey

Chinese Style Salt and Pepper Turkey

By Margarita Lee

Margarita Lee

Ingredients A:

  • 1 Turkey (3.5 – 4 kg; remove the giblets, which should be in the body cavity, and defrost completely)
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing wine 
  • 1 tbsp Honey 
  • 1 tbsp Sesame oil

Ingredients B:

  • 3.5L Water
  • 100g Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Five spice powder
  • 3 Star anise 
  • 30g Red pepper corn or Szechuan pepper
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 50g Ginger slice 
  • 1 bundle Spring onion
Photo by Margarita Lee


  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add in Ingredients B, then stir until the salt has dissolved. Leave it to cool completely. The brine is now ready to be used.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from the cavity. Rinse the outside and inside of the thawed turkey, then pat it dry using paper towels. Place the turkey in a roasting bag and pour in the prepared brine, Shaoxing wine and honey from Ingredients A.
  3. Allow the turkey to marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Remove the turkey from the roasting bag, sieve the brine, and pat the turkey with paper towels.
  5. Tie the drumsticks together and tuck the wings under.
  6. Steam the turkey in a wok on high heat for 30-40 minutes. Skewer the turkey leg joint to see if the juices run clear. If any pinkness remains, steam the turkey for a further 10 minutes. 
  7. Rub sesame oil (from Ingredients A) evenly on the turkey.   
  8. Preheat oven to 220℃.
  9. Place turkey onto a greased rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 30-45 minutes or until the turkey turns golden brown .
  10. Rest the turkey for about 20 to 30 minutes before you start carving. If you start carving too early, the juices from the bird will run out and dry the meat. 



Steaming the turkey will cut down the cooking time and prevent the turkey meat from getting dry.

All leftovers can be used to make Scotch Broth a day or two later (Recipe for Scotch Broth to follow.) 


Check out more of Margarita’s recipes on her FB @ Umummy Food


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