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Dec 29, 2010

Salted Dough: Chinese Herbal Chicken

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!

The Meteorite has landed!


  1. Ping-Never in my life have I seen, or heard of this type of method for baking a chicken. So unusual, awesome, and different. I bet it was so moist, and juicy. This is a sure way to use the chicken in many ways, for example; salads, sandwiches, amazing chicken soup, etc, etc.
    I am beyond surprised, but mostly...impressed!!!
    Thank you for sharing, this amazing recipe, and method, my sweet friend!

  2. Helloooo Elisabeth! Always so happy to hear from you. Yes, this is a great way to cook, salted or non salted... always so moist. It's quite common here but I've always thought my arms would fall off doing the dough and have put off trying it out til now. No regrets!

  3. Must be very delish this chicken!

    Wishing you a wonderful year ahead. Happy New Year!

  4. Once again a beautiful recipe and amazing post! I am envious of your kitchen talent!

  5. Hi Kita. Happy New Year! My kitchen talents?! Hahahahaha you gotta be kidding! You're pretty talented yourself ... let me count the ways .... 10 top 9's in the last year, that's almost one for each month. Super!

  6. I love the idea of "trapping" the chicken in the dough to maintain its moistness! Whoever invented this cooking method is genius!

  7. Hi Kimba, welcome back. Happy 2011. Hubby has this theory of a caveman chasing his dinner and it fell into some mud, got stuck, got dug up, caveman couldn't get rid of mud, put it over the fire and VOILA! :D

  8. Wow what an interesting way to cook this dish. I definitely will try this for the family. I can just picture the wonderful aroma when you crack the dough, thanksf or sharing the recipe.

  9. dinewithleny: Hi, thanks for dropping by.