Make sure whole chicken is thawed and no part is frozen. Wash and wipe the chicken with a damp cloth or paper towels. Dry well. Then rub with salt all over, inside and out. Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees.
Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms, ginger. Cut the scallions, stalk and leaf in 2-inch sections. Set these all aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet, over medium heat. Add the ginger and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the scallions and mushrooms. Stir fry till soft, but not brown. This should only take 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool.
Stuff the chicken cavity with the scallion-mushroom mixture. Sew up securely or skewer, then truss. Tuck the tip of the chicken wings under the bird. Place the stuffed chicken in a roasting pan.
Combine the sugar, soy sauce, rice wine and stock and pour over the chicken. Roast, uncovered, basting every 30 minutes with the drippings on the side of the chicken, until done. This size of chicken will take about 1 hour and 50 minutes or up to 2 hours to cook completely.
Average cooking time for a roast chicken with bone is 30 minutes per pound of meat at an oven temperature of 375 F degrees.
If using a meat thermometer: insert the thermometer at the thickest part of the chicken thigh without touching the bone. The roast chicken is done if it reads 180 F (83 C).
To serve: Carve the chicken and arrange with the stuffing on a serving platter and the gravy on the side. Keep warm. Serve with rice.
To make the gravy:
In a small saucepan, slowly reheat ½ cup of the chicken drippings.
Separately, blend the cornstarch and cold water to a paste and till smooth.
Then stir the cornstarch blend into the drippings. Let it boil till thick.
Pour the gravy in a serving bowl and serve on the side of the roast chicken.
Cook's Comments: Shaoxing rice wine is an Asian ingredient which is an aromatic wine made from fermented glutinous rice. It is the standard Chinese cooking flavoring and used in most stir-fried or braised dishes. This should not be confused with Chinese rice wine vinegar. One should avoid Shaoxing cooking wine or Shaoxing cooking sherry which are heavily salted. If you need to substitute, use a pale, dry sherry and never sake (Japanese wine) or white wine. Chinese Shaoxing rice wine is available at Asian markets or online sources. *[Source: The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook by Patricia Tanumihardja].