Paper-Wrapped Chicken

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The paper in 纸包鸡 serves a purpose (other than containing the chicken).

It gives the chicken the best of two worlds: steaming and deep-frying.

Because the meat juices have nowhere to escape, the chicken is extremely juicy, much juicier than paperless deep-fried chicken could ever be.

At the same time, there's the fragrance of browned chicken though it's not crisp.

In fact, the aroma isn't just on the outside of the chicken. The wonderful flavour is inside the meat as well because the paper acted like a shield, preventing it from going anywhere else.

Paper-wrapped chicken was very popular in the '70s. I vaguely recall my mother making it a few times. The dish was considered quite posh then.

纸包鸡 is so rare now it's either novel or nostalgic, depending on how old you are.

I wouldn't have made 纸包鸡, or even thought of it, if a friend hadn't sent me this hilarious Cantonese cartoon (if you prefer Mandarin, click here):

Source: Adapted from Cooking for the President
(Recipe for 4 persons)

4 small spring chicken legs weighing 600 g, debone to yield 500 g meat


15 g ginger
15 g shallots
20 g garlic
½ tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp Cognac

1 tbsp white sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp tapioca flour

16 pieces parchment paper, cut 25 x 15 cm
oil for deep-frying

🌹 I've tried Sakura chicken vs regular spring chicken, both from Fairprice. For this recipe, the spring chicken is more silky and juicy. The pounded ginger, garlic and shallot paste is also crucial. It browns during the deep-frying and creates a lovely fragrance. If only the juices are used, minus the pulp, the 纸包鸡 would be like steamed chicken.

To prepare chicken, rinse and cut each leg into 8 pieces. Peel and rinse ginger, shallots and garlic. Cut into small pieces. Pound finely, or blitz in a mini chopper. Mix thoroughly with all other marinade ingredients and chicken. Leave to marinate for 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.

Just before wrapping, drizzle with sesame oil and vegetable oil and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with tapioca flour and mix again.

To wrap chicken, place parchment paper in a stack facing you horizontally. Fold left ⅓ of paper to the right, then right ⅓ to the left. Turn over, and fold bottom ⅓ upward. You now have fold lines for turning each piece of paper into a pocket.

Form a pocket with parchment paper. Fill with 2 pieces of chicken. Do not include any excess marinade. Fold left and right corner of top flap downward, forming a triangle. Tuck triangle into bottom flap as snugly as possible. Place wrapped chicken on a plate, flap side facing up. Repeat with remaining paper and chicken.

To deep-fry, place wrapped chicken in just smoking oil over medium-high heat till medium brown, about ½ minute each side. Remove from heat and reheat oil. Refry chicken for a few seconds till dark brown. Drain and serve immediately.


Anonymous said...

Yummy delicious!!!

jung said...

I want to thank you for putting up a splendid blog. Been going thru some of your recipes and i must say, I am very entertained some of your very cute posts, and of course, enlightened by some of the research you have put in!! Keep it up!

KT said...

Thanks, Anon and jung. Happy reading.

hello ello said...

hey KT, just wanna say i enjoy reading your blog alot alot! :) and you're really talented in cooking! please keep it up!

PS i love cats tooo

KT said...

'allo 'allo hello ello

Thanks for reading. The kitties say hi too. *purr . . . .*

Diane said...

Dear Kitchen Tigress:
I stumbled on your blog when hunting for a sambal telur recipe. I want to thank you for posting some of these recipes as they are more unusual that the regular stuff posted onthe internet. I also enjoy your rather caustic humour. Please don't ever change!!

KT said...

Thanks, Diane.

Mrs Lee's sambal telur recipe is probably not very authentic, btw. The sambal is mainly tomato paste (!), and it doesn't have any belachan. But the taste ain't too bad, which was why I didn't knock it.

Diane said...

Never mind the sambal isn't too authentic. I was looking for a recipe that was slightly different than the everyday sambal telur. One of these days, I will bribe some friends to pick me up the recipe book as it sounds interesting.

My mama made us some chee pow kai a few yyears back. From what I remembered, it was waay more work than it was worth. Perhaps I will try and convince her we need to revisit this recipe. I have no recollection of ever eating chee pow kai in Malaysia so I will have to rely on my mama's taste buds.

Angie said...

Thank you .. thank you.. thank you..
I found my old time favourite --- CHEE POW KAI!! My mum used to make this for us on special occasions (birthday party, chinese new year etc). I love love this..
Now I need to get the book: Cooking for the President, I hope it's not out of print .. (fingers crossed).
THanks again :)

kt said...

Here you go:

Feroz said...

You are now my favorite Strait food blogger :-)

Post a Comment

Check these out