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Paper-wrapped Chicken

by Ken Hom from Complete Chinese Cookbook

A simple way to cook chicken which is effortlessly delicious. This paper wrapped chicken recipe combines inviting Chinese flavours for a tasty and unique starter.

From the book


This unusual method of cooking chicken is ingenious: a thin slice of chicken is sandwiched between flavourful ingredients and wrapped in greaseproof paper, then deep-fried. As the package cooks, the mixture steams and the flavours meld, the result being a most delicious and unique starter. The package must be wrapped carefully so the oil does not seep in. Some Chinese restaurants cheat by using a quick marinade of hoisin and soy sauce, then wrapping the chicken in foil. Although this recipe takes a little more work, the outcome is worth the effort. It is one of those special dishes that is also a dinnertime conversation piece: the cook may modestly but justifiably boast of the achievement!

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250g (8oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
30 shreds of red chilli, 4cm (1½in) long
60 fresh coriander leaves
30 pieces of Parma ham, 7.5cm (3in) square
60 shreds of spring onion, cut into 4cm (1½ in) pieces, on the diagonal
30 shreds of fresh ginger, cut into 4 x 0.5cm (1½ x ¼in) pieces
30 thinly sliced pieces of fresh, peeled or tinned water chestnut
l.2 l (2 pints) groundnut oil
For the marinade:
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and black pepper

Essential kit

You will need a wok.


Cut the chicken into 30 pieces about 4 x 0.5cm (1½ x ¼in), and combine them with the marinade ingredients in a glass bowl. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Cut out 30 x 15cm (6in) squares of greaseproof paper. Place a greaseproof square on a work surface, with a corner towards you, and fold the tip in slightly. In the centre of the square place the following: a shred of chilli, a fresh coriander leaf, a piece of marinated chicken, a square of Parma ham, 2 shreds of spring onion, a shred of ginger, a slice of water chestnut and finally another fresh coriander leaf. Fold the first corner over the ingredients, then fold in the sides. Then fold the entire package in half, leaving a flap at the corner furthest away from you. Finally tuck the flap in to secure the package. Repeat until all the packages are filled and the ingredients are used up.

Heat a wok over a high heat until it is hot, then add the oil. When it is hot and slightly smoking, add about 10 packages and deep-fry for about 3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain well. Deep-fry the rest of the packages in 2 batches in the same manner.

When they are all ready, arrange them on a platter and let each guest unwrap his or her own packages.

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From the book: Complete Chinese Cookbook

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