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Beggar's Chicken: Grassroot Wisdom, Royal Taste


Stuffed, wrapped, and roasted following a traditional Chinese recipe, Beggar's Chicken is a dish from Changshu, a city in China's Jiangsu province famous for its delicious taste. Beggar's Chicken is called "Jiàohuā Jī" in the Changshu dialect.

Many Chinese dishes have names originated from folklores, legends and stories, and Beggar's Chicken is not an exception. Once upon a time a beggar led a wandering life in poverty. One day, he was very hungry. He lucked into a chicken, but had neither tools nor condiments. He came to the foot of Yu Mountain and roasted it without plucking it. When it was finished, the smell spread over a long distance. About 100 years ago, a small restaurant created a method to cook this kind of chicken and called it Beggar's Chicken.

Here we list a quick guide on the cooking of the Beggar's Chicken, a mouth-watering Chinese cuisine:

•1 2 1/2 - 3 pound fryer chicken
•2 teaspoons salt
•1 teaspoon ginger juice
•4 tablespoons oil
•1 scallion (green onion, spring onion), chopped fine
•4 ounces pork, shredded
•1 tablespoon sherry
•1 tablespoon light soy sauce
•1 teaspoon sugar
•2 ounces preserved Yunnan cabbage, julienne
•1 large piece of aluminum foil

1. Rub cleaned chicken with salt. Rub ginger juice inside chicken. Set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in wok. Stir-fry scallion. Add pork. Stir on high heat. Add sherry, soy sauce, and sugar. Remove to bowl.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons more oil in wok. Stir-fry cabbage. Pour in meat mixture. Stir-fry 1 minute.(Add more sugar if desired).
4. Stuff meat mixture into chicken. Wrap in foil and place in pan.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken 1 hour. Then turn heat to 400 degrees and bake 15 more minutes.
6. Remove foil. Remove stuffing from chicken to platter. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Arrange on top of stuffing. Serve hot.

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