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Clay-Roasted Chinese "Beggar's Chicken"

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Alex Ong
Alex Ong
While there are many versions of the ancient story of how this dish came about, it all stems from a beggar who stole a chicken and hid it in a mud bank by a river. Later he returned to retrieve it, but was so hungry that instead of cleaning up the mud, he decided to simply throw the mud encased chicken into the fire to cook. The mud around the chicken hardened in the heat of the fire, sealing in its juices and resulting in a delicious chicken. The Emperor, who was close by, smelled the wonderful aroma and walked to its source. The beggar shared his meal with the Emperor who was so impressed with the beggar's dish, that he made the beggar the Chef at the Imperial Palace. In this Grokker Premium video, part of the California Sensibilities series, Chef Alex will recreate this classic Chinese dish. Instead of stealing a chicken, he'll buy one, and demonstrate how to marinate it, stuff it with seasonal vegetables, wrap it in lotus leaves and clay, and then bake it in the oven. Chef Alex will also show you how to present the finished dish at the table in a manner sure to wow your guests. So join Chef Alex and learn how to prepare this delicious and memorable meal.

Cooking Recipe

Servings: 6

Chicken brine:
2 & 1/4 lb whole chicken
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup minced ginger
1 cup minced garlic
1 cup chili sauce

Marinade for the chicken:
1 tsp 5-spice powder
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp oyster sauce
3 tsp Kikkoman soy sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp mushroom soy sauce or dark soy sauce

10 oyster mushrooms
10 smoked pork belly or bacon pieces
1 cup shucked corn
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp Xaoshing wine
2 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil (to saute the stuffing)

Sauce (optional):
3 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
6 tsp chicken stock
Corn starch slurry

Directions chicken brine:
1. Brine the chicken overnight.

Directions for marinade:
1. Mix all the ingredients & rub the outside & inside of the chicken with the marinade. Let it sit for 4-5 hours.

Directions stuffing:
1. Preheat a wok or sauté pan, add the oil & add in the ginger & bacon, next add the mushrooms & corn, stir fry for about 3-4 minutes then add the soy, wine & oyster sauce and cool it on a plate before stuffing.

Final assembly:
1. Stuff the chicken, tie the legs & tuck in the wings. Pour some of the juices into the stuffing cavity.

2. Take the lotus leaf and lay it on a table. Lay the chicken breast side up on the leaf and wrap it up and tie it.

3. Roll out the clay to about 1/4 inch thick and 15 in X 8 in. Place the wrapped chicken on one end of the clay & fold the other end over it & seal the edges. Wrap the chicken carefully, making sure you repair & close up any holes in the clay. This is to ensure a complete sealed cover for the chicken so it does no€™t lose its juice & steam during the baking process.

4. Brush some oil on a baking tray & place the wrapped chicken on top and bake at 350℉ degrees preheated for 1 ½ hours (temp at 160°C).

5. Turn the oven off & let the chicken rest for up to 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, plate & present it at the table.

Clay-Roasted Chicken
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