Friday, July 08, 2005

salt baked chicken

from the food of china, a great big hunk of a cookbook which i picked up from the wholesale Deh-Ta Hsiung and Nina Simonds.
this method produced a remarkably succulent and tasty bird. not salty as the cooking method implies. just tasty. my customers demolished it in one sitting.

a 3-lb fresh whole chicken
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
4 lbs. coarse sea salt
rinse the chicken, drain, and remove any fat. blanch in a sauce pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then refresh under cold water and dry well. brush the chicken with the soy sauce and hang it up to dry in a cool and airy place for a couple of hours, or keep it uncovered in the fridge.

chilling out
combine 1 scallion, chopped, 1 tsp. grated ginger, 1 crushed star anise, 1/2 tsp. salt, 4 tbsps. brandy (or Mei Kuei Lu Chiew), pour in to the cavity of the chicken. wrap the chicken tightly with a large sheet of cheese cloth.

chicken mummy
heat the salt in a large clay pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, very slowly until very hot, then turn off the heat and remove and reserve about half the salt. make an indentation in the center of the salt and place the chicken in it, breast side up. cover with the remaining salt until chicken is completely buried. cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 45-50 minutes. allow to sit for at least 15-20 minutes (no peeking!) before taking the chicken out. (the top dry layer of salt can be reused).

salt mountain
make a dipping sauce:
heat 1 tbsp. oil in a small wok or saucepan. fry chopped scallion(1 stalk) and a teaspoon of chopped ginger for 1 minute, then add 1 half tsp. of salt and 1/4 cup of chicken stock. bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes.