RECIPE TITLE "Beggar's Chicken Hot Yee Gai" recipe from
The Chinese Kitchen (Yin-Fei Lo): Recipes, Techniques, Ingredients, History,
And Memories From America's Leading Authority On Chinese Cooking
Makes 6 servings ---
This famous and most elaborate dish from Beijing derives its name
from a folktale: A beggar, without a home or food, stole a chicken
from a farm. To cook it, he covered it with mud, made a fire in
a hole in the ground, and baked the chicken, peeling the feathers
off as he ate. It is said that despite this tale, the people in
Beijing think their special chicken is too rich a, preparation to
carry the name beggar, and prefer to call it Fit Guai Gaik, or "Rich
and Noble Chicken. " I think I prefer that too, though here
it is given its classic name.
Poultry in China dates back to the Beginning of its recorded
history Chickens have been domesticated there for at least 3,000
years. So it is it or surprising that chicken, which in China is
steamed, braised, smoked, fried, roasted, boiled, and stir-fried,
and minced and sliced for soups, dumplings, congees, noodles, and
stuffings, should be regarded as symbol as well as food. In Chinese
folklore, the chicken symbolizes the phoenix, the bird of rebirth
that rises from ashes; and it is the symbol of the empress as well.
Chicken is offered in temples and at ancestor altars, and it is
a food that must be eaten on the second day of the Lunar New Tear,
for its symbolism of rebirth. Small wonder that festive classic
chicken dishes abound.
One 3- to 3 1/4- pound chicken
1/4 cup salt
For the marinade
3 tablespoons Mei Kuei Lu Chiew or gin
One 3- inch cinnamon stick, broken into 4 pieces
2 pieces eight-star anise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Pinch freshly grown white pepper
For the stuffing
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1/2 cup pork fat, cut into 1/8-inch dice
6 dried black mushrooms, washed, soaked to softness, stems discarded,
and caps diced into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup preserved mustard greens, washed 5 times to cleanse of sand
and salt, leaves opened and rinsed, squeezed dry, and finely sliced
1 tablespoon Shao-Hsing wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoon teaspoons Sesame oil
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch freshly ground white pepper
For the dough
5 cups high-gluten flour
2 cups hot water
2 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 yard cheesecloth or 2 large lotus leaves, soaked inwater for
20 minutes until soft, washed, and dried
2 feet heavy-duty foil
1.Clean the chicken thoroughly, remove fat and membranes, and wash
under cold running water. Sprinkle 1/4 cup salt on the outside of
the chicken, rub well, rinse, and dry. In a small bowl, stir together
the marinade ingredients and rub the inside and outside with it. Set
the chicken aside.
2.To prepare the stuffing, heat a wok over high heat for 30 seconds,
add the peanut oil, and coat the wok with it using a spatula. When
a wisp of white smoke appears, add the onion and cook until light
brown, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add the pork fat,
and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add the mushrooms and mustard
greens and mix well. Turn the heat back to high, add the wine, and
mix all the ingredients together. Add the sesame oil, five-spice
powder, salt, sugar, and pepper and mix. Remove from the heat, place
in a bowl, and reserve.
3. To prepare the dough, place the flour in the center of the work
surface and make a well in the center. Add the hot water slowly
with one hand as you mix with the other. When the water is absorbed,
knead for about 2 minutes to make a dough. Coat your hands with
peanut oil and rub the dough with some pressure to coat it. Rub
your hands onthe work surface as well. Flatten the dough until it
is large enough to wrap the chicken completely.
4.Stuff the chicken by loosely putting the stuffing into the body
cavity. Close the neck and tail openings with skewers.
5.Wrap the chicken completely in the cheesecloth or in overlapping
lotus leaves. Place the wrapped chicken in the center of the flattened
dough and wrap the chicken, scaling the edges by pressing closed
with your fingers. Spread out the foil and place the chicken, breast
side up, on it. Enfold the chicken, closing the foil.
6.Heat the oven to 350ºF for 15 minutes. Place the wrapped
chicken in a roasting pan and bake for 1 hour. Lower the heat to
325ºF and bake for 3 hours more. Turn off the heat, remove
the chicken from the oven, and remove the foil. Cut through the
dough with kitchen shears and make a large opening. Scoop out pieces
of chicken and stuffing with a serving spoon and serve together.
Note:The covering insulates the chicken. It will remain hot enough
to serve if removed from the oven 1 to 2 hours before serving.
The Chinese Kitchen (Yin-Fei Lo)
Everything is here: dim sum, congees, stir-fries, rice dishes, noodles, bean curd, meat dishes and more. For anyone who loves Asian cuisines, this is the ultimate cookbook and for cookbook lovers and aspiring food professionals, this is required reading.
| The Chinese Kitchen (Hsiung)
There is no cuisine more rich with flavors, color, texture, variety and tradition than Chinese cooking. Organized by ingredient, this cookbook covers the basics (rice, oil, soy and other sauces) to the exotic (shark's fin and bird's nest), with expert information on buying, storing and of course, cooking with each ingredient. Entries include: Bean Sprouts, Black Bean Sauce, Chinese Cabbage, Dumplings, Eggplant, Five Spice Powder, Lotus Root, Orange Peel, Peanuts, Plum Sauce, Shrimp Paste, Soft-Shell Crab, Straw Mushrooms, Tofu, Tea, Wontons, Water Chestnuts and much, much more.