It's a salted dough / crust method of cooking that's quite fun to make if you have lots of energy left for the day and don't know what to do with it. And it's also a great way to cook big chunks of meat without it drying out since it actually creates a mini oven within the crust.
I came across this recipe for salted dough and decided to use it to make a version of the Chinese Salted Chicken / Chinese Salt Baked Chicken. But instead of coating the chicken in just salt, I wanted to experiment with this method ..... first, with chicken, and then maybe somewhere in the near future .... some other meats and even seafood.
This is also similar to the "Beggar's Chicken" but I wouldn't dare name this recipe after it as I'm not too sure how the real "Beggar's Chicken" is done.
*Verdict: I thought the chicken tasted a little too salty and might consider halving the salt quantity for the next try. Otherwise, it was very moist, juicy and tasty!
*Tip: Use coarse salt. Fine table salt dissolves too quickly and may even make it saltier than it already is. Use nothing less than 1.5 kg of meat for this recipe ... anything less will be overly salted. Besides, the amount of dough is big enough to encase a large chicken or even a turkey.
1 kg plain flour
1 kg coarse salt ( I suggest using a smaller amount, about 500 - 700g )
water, about 550 ml - 650 ml ( to make a malleable dough )
1 chicken, about 1.5 kg - 2 kg ( cleaned and pat dry inside and out )
Chinese herbs of your choice
( I have here a pic of the herbs I used, which are actually a simple Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup concoction. You can get them pre-packed at the local supermarkets or the Chinese grocers )
Combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center and slowly add about 550 ml of the water. Combine and slowly add more water if necessary to form a firm, yet malleable dough.
Knead and call it your workout for the day!
Leave to rest ( the dough and your arms ) for about an hour.
Preheat oven to about 200˚C - 220˚C.
Roll out dough on a floured surface until about 1/4" thick. ( I find it easier to roll out into 2 pieces )
Stuff cavity of chicken with the herbs.
Place one sheet of dough on a baking pan. Place stuffed chicken on top and wrap with 2nd piece of dough. Make sure to patch every crack so that no juices leak out.
Bake chicken, breast side up for about an hour. Rest about 30 mins before eating.
PS: Do not eat the dough.
*Use the heel of a cleaver and hack all around dough about halfway up so that you get a "dish" with a lid!
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