Paper Wrapped Chicken or Cantonese Ji Bao Gai

Sunday lunches, growing up, were always about family meals after church. One of the places we used to head to when I was younger was Union Farm, famous for their paper wrapped chicken, or Cantonese Ji Bao Gai. In my post on salt-baked chicken, I talked how the technique of cooking the chicken in parchment accomplished two things – steaming to create incredibly moist flesh and infusing the chicken with the delicious aroma of smoked salt. In this case, deep-frying the chicken within paper parcels steams the chicken while the intense heat caramelizes the chicken’s surface. If you’d like to bake this in the oven instead, you can, but it will not be the same product – I highly recommend going the deep-fried route.

Paper Wrapped Chicken

(Serves 3-4)

1/2 tablespoon grated ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 tablespoons Shaoxing

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

600g boneless chicken, cut into 50-60g pieces

Stir together the ginger, soy, oyster sauce, Shaoxing, sugar, pepper and sesame oil. Coat the chicken well in the marinade and set aside for 30 minutes. Wrap the chicken well in a 5″ x 5″ sheet of baking parchment by bringing up three corners towards the chicken. Fold the fourth corner downwards and tuck excess paper into two pockets created (please refer to the Instastory highlight on @sgpnoodles). Wrap the chicken once more in another sheet of parchment just to be sure that the juices do not leak. Deep fry in 220C oil until the parcels appear puffy and you see browning happening within the parcels, about 2 minutes. Drain well and dab with kitchen towels before serving to get rid of excess oil.

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Author:

Pamelia Chia is a Singaporean chef and the author of the bestselling cookbook ‘Wet Market to Table’. After graduating with an Honor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from the National University of Singapore in 2014, she decided to trade a food scientist’s lab coat in for chef whites. She has since been working in restaurants in Singapore and Melbourne, including Candlenut and Carlton Wine Room. Her deepest interest being the preservation and celebration of Singaporean food heritage and culture, she started Singapore Noodles in 2020 as a platform to share about Singaporean food to a global audience. Find her on Instagram @pameliachia.

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