Beggars Chicken Qi
The legend goes that a
very long time ago, this dish was created
by a beggar who had stolen a chicken from
a farmer. The beggar built a fire and put
the chicken on a stick to roast it. Suddenly
he heard the thunder of horses' hooves. The
farmer! He quickly pulled the chicken off
the fire, wrapped it in a lotus leaf, and
buried it in the mud next to the fire. When
the farmer came, he searched for his missing
chicken but could not find it anywhere, so
he galloped away. After he was gone, the
beggar dug up the chicken. What a discovery!
The mud around the lotus leaf had baked to
a hardened clay. When the beggar cracked
it open, he found a perfectly cooked, flavorful,
and very moist chicken inside. He was very
happy with his creation and ate the entire
thing. This recipe for Beggar's Chicken comes
from the western region of China.
- 4 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- extra flour for kneading
- 6 medium-size boneless skinless chicken
breasts (preferably organic)
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped bamboo shoots
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
On Your Mark...
- Place the flour in a large bowl. Combine
the milk and 1 tablespoon of the canola
oil, pour into the flour, and mix well
into a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface
and knead until it is smooth. This will
take a minute or two.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or wax
paper, place in a clean bowl, and cover
with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rest
at room temperature for about 30 to 40
- Wash the chicken under cold running
water and pat dry with paper towels. Place
the chicken on a platter, cover, and refrigerate
until ready to use. Wash the work area
where the chicken was cleaned. Be sure
to use lots of hot, soapy water and wipe
the surfaces dry.
- Heat a wok on medium-high heat for 30
seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of the canola
oil and heat for a few more seconds.
- Add the ground pork and cook for 4 to
6 minutes, or until the meat browns slightly.
Using a spatula, remove the pork to a clean
- Reheat the wok and add the remaining
1 tablespoon oil. Add the green onion,
celery, and bamboo shoots, and stir-fry
for 2 minutes.
- Return the
pork to the pan and add the salt and hoisin
sauce. Cook for another minute or two,
making sure all the ingredients are well
combined. This is the stuffing. You will
need to let it cool completely in a bowl,
cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Unwrap the dough and cut it into 3 pieces.
Then cut each of the pieces in half. Take
1 piece of dough and cover the rest with
a clean cloth.
- Lightly flour the work surface. Using
a rolling pin, roll out the dough to make
a circle about 6 inches wide and 1/8-inch
- Lay 1 chicken breast in the center
of the dough and top with 1 1/2 tablespoons
of the stuffing. Gently fold the dough
up over the chicken and stuffing and press
together at the edges to seal. Place the
chicken in a well-greased baking pan.
- Repeat these steps with all the dough
and chicken breasts.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, basting the
chicken with the juices in the bottom of
the pan once or twice during the baking.
- Use a spatula to lift the chicken out
of the baking pan when it is done.
- Serve hot.