This is a dish that is so easy to make, but looks so elaborate. It is a very classic dish, and seems to first appeared in China during the qing dynasty. It is believed to have been invented by the Beggar Clan (丐帮), they have a special way in preparing the chicken, wrap it up in lotus leaves and then in clay. This whole thing is then buried in the ground, and after days, the chicken will be cooked by the solar heat.
I have always loved this dish because the chicken is super moist and soft. Nothing escapes from this tight wrap. Hence, all the flavours are retained.
1 chicken 1-1.5kg
5 mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes and use the sliced caps only
A handful of lily buds (golden needle mushrooms), soaked and hard tips cut off and discarded
1/2 cup shredded Szechuan vegetable
100g lean pork, julienne
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp black soya sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 Tbsp sesame oil
5 cups plain flour
2 cups water
- Debone the chicken's thighs and wings. (Optional step that will make chicken more compact)
- Season the chicken with 2/3 of the seasoning for 30 minutes.
- Mix the stuffing and season with 1/3 of the seasoning.
- Stuff the chicken.
- Put the chicken into a cooking bag, then tie and secure. If you don't have a cooking bag, use a large or several pieces of parchment paper. Wrap many times to make sure you seal off the chicken.
- Cover the cooking bag with a large piece of lotus leaf, tie securely. If you cannot find lotus leaves, just use foil.
- Mix the flour and water together to form a smooth covering dough.
- Roll out the covering dough and cover the whole chicken with this covering.
- Bake the chicken at 230C for 1 hour. Then lower the temperature to 160C and bake another 45 minutes.
- When done, remove from the oven, and cool off for at least 15 minutes.
- Saw or knock with a hammer, and remove the top of the outer covering. Be careful not to affect the chicken if possible, and preferably do not remove all of the covering because it serves as a bowl for the essence from the chicken.
- Serve with rice and a salad or any kind of vegetable dishes.