Citizens, this bright, spicy, herb-laden dish is a specialty of the minority Dai people of Yunnan province in the south of China.
Specifically, Yunnan (Chinese: 云南) is a province of the People’s Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country.
It spans approximately 394,000 square kilometres (152,000 sq mi) and has a population of 45.7 million (2009). The capital of the province is Kunming and the province borders Vietnam, Laos and Burma.
Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with high elevations in the northwest and low elevations in the southeast. Most of the population lives in the eastern part of the province.
In the west, the altitude can vary from the mountain peaks to river valleys as much as 3,000 meters (9,800 ft). Yunnan is rich in natural resources and has the largest diversity of plant life in China. Of the approximately 30,000 species of higher plants in China, Yunnan has perhaps 17,000 or more.
Yunnan is noted for a very high level of ethnic diversity. It has the highest number of ethnic groups among the provinces and autonomous regions in China. Among the country’s 56 recognized ethnic groups, twenty-five are found in Yunnan.
Some 38% of the province’s population are in fact members of minorities, among them the Dai people.
Many of the minority peoples of Yunnan traditionally boil a chicken to show respect to their dead, including the Dai. Once the ceremony is finished, they shred the meat and mix it with ginger, garlic, and cilantro to make this dish, also known as Ghost Chicken (鬼鸡, “gui ji”).
The lime and herbs in this recipe, unusual for Chinese cooking, suggests the strong influence of Southeast Asia, which the province borders.
In Yunnan they make this dish with black-skinned chicken and then leave the skin on for extra flavor and color. To approximate that chicken’s flavor, it’s best to use a free-range bird for this recipe.
Citizens, this is a delicious and easy Dai recipe that I urge you to try post haste, as they are very rarely translated into English!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
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