Citizens, behold one of the greatest dishes in the Chinese recipe canon! 🙂 Beggar’s Chicken originated in Jiangsu Province and belongs to Jiangsu and Zhejiang Cuisine.
Legend has it that during the Qing dynasty, a hungry beggar stole a chicken from a rural farm. The farmer caught wind of the crime and chased the beggar down to a riverbank.
To hide his loot, the beggar buried the chicken in mud. Later that evening, the beggar returned the river, lit twigs on fire and set the mud-soaked chicken directly on top of the flame.
The result? A tight clay crust formed over the chicken. When cracked open, the feathers fell right off to reveal aromatic, tender meat.
The Emperor, who happened to be passing through, stopped to dine with the beggar and declared this dish so delicious that it was added to the Imperial Court menu.
Rather than keep his new-found dish a secret, the beggar rose from poverty by selling Beggar’s Chicken to local villagers.
At first glance, the dish may look nasty and cheap, but don’t let it scare you away – a succulent and delicious treasure awaits inside that ugly shell!
Citizens, this is by no means an easy recipe – yet I share my amped-up imperial version with you because I have faith in your cooking abilities and because TFD brooks zero compromise in his recipes!
What makes my version Imperial? First, I wrap the chicken in caul fat, a lacy fatty membrane that self-bastes the chicken as it is wrapped in the lotus leaves, which themselves impart an incredible fragrance to the bird as well as protecting it from the clay.
Then, it’s all in the stuffing, where I add in rare Chinese dried scallops, healing herbs plus a marinade of Chinese liquor flavored with rose petals and spices!
Also, for the sauce, I use a chicken stock infusion of dried shiitakes and dried scallops instead of the simple plain water used by lesser recipes.
Lastly, I up the visual ante by painting the outside clay shell with a bold Imperial yellow symbol for China – 中国 (Zhōngguó)! If you choose to use the bread dough coating instead of clay, you can use yellow food coloring.
For all these reasons, I have replaced the standard name of Beggar’s Chicken (叫花童雞) for this recipe with “富贵雞” (literally “rich and noble chicken”) – a dish truly fit for serving before the Son of the Dragon!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
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