This dish of Cantonese Roast Chicken with Nam Yu takes a little bit of work. But the succulent chicken meat with the dry, crispy chicken skin is well worth the efforts.
Dedicated to BettyK.
Picture of the finished dish:
Serving Suggestion: 2 to 3
Main ingredients: (From right, clockwise)
- 2 small whole chickens, about 1 1/2 lb each
- 2 cubes of red fermented bean curds (Nam Yu)
- 2 tsp of five spice powder
To prepare for the marinade: use a small bowl. Use 2 cubes of red fermented bean curds (nam yu). Add 1/2 tsp of salt, and 2 tsp of five spice powder.
Use a small spoon to smash the red fermented bean curds and mix with the salt and five spice powder. Turn the mixture into a paste.
Pat dry the outside of the chickens after cleaning. Roughly divide the paste into 4 portions. Marinate the chickens. Start with the cavity. Rub the paste inside the cavity. Then rub the paste on the outside of the chicken. Try to spread the marinade paste as even as you can. Let the marinade set for at least 1 hour.
To make the skin dry and crispy, we need to pour boiling red vinegar onto the chicken skin. Here is how I did it at home.
First: pour 1/2 bottle (about 1 1/2 cup) of the Chinese red vinegar in a small pot. Add about 1/4 cup of water to dilute it. (During pouring and continuous heating, the vinegar will inevitably become concentrated.) Bring to a boil.
Set a frying pan on top of a second stove. Set stove at high. Use a pair of prongs to hold the chicken (need to rotate the chicken slightly when pouring the vinegar). Pour the boiling red vinegar onto the chicken. Keep rotating the prongs to make sure the chicken skin is evenly coated with the vinegar. Let the excess vinegar drip onto the frying pan. Collect all the excess red vinegar in the pan. Pour back onto the small pot. Set for a minute or 2 to let the vinegar boil again.
Repeat the same pouring process until both chickens are coated with red vinegar evenly (about 2 to 3 times on each side of each chicken).
Here is how the chicken looked after most of the red vinegar was used up.
Find a place where you can hang up the chickens. Place a plate or dish underneath the chicken to catch the dripping fluid. I hung my chickens from a paper towel holder. It helps to keep the air circulating around the chicken. I set a small fan on low speed and blow the air to keep good circulation. (Do not blow directly on the chicken.) Let the chicken hung-dry for a minimum of 2 hours.
To hang the chicken, I made some S-hooks just out of coat-hangers. Cut the wire to size and bend to the right shape. Not that elegant, but does the job well.
(Thanks for the idea, jo-mel!)
Use a couple of skewers to hold up each chicken. Place inside the oven. Make sure that the chickens are hung in the air and not touching each other or touching a plate. Place a dripping pan filled with water at the bottom. The water will keep the chicken moist during the roasting process.
Set the oven at 300F. Roast the chickens for 1 hour.
Here is how the chickens looked after 1 hour of roasting in the oven.
To make the basting liquid: Place about 2 tsp of malt sugar in a small mixing bowl. Malt sugar is very sticky and hard at room temperature. Once heated up it turns softer and is much easier to handle.
Add about 2 to 3 tsp of water. Place in a microwave and heat it up for about 30 seconds at high. Use a small spoon to help dissolving the malt sugar in hot water. Add about 1 tsp of dark soy sauce.
Stir well to create the basting liquid.
Take the chickens out of the oven and baste with a brush. Make sure to baste evenly over the chicken skin.
Return the chickens in the oven. Turn up the heat slightly to 325F or 350F to roast for another 30 minutes. (Note: if you roast a chicken of a bigger size, adjust the roasting time a bit longer.)
Preparing The Condiments:
I prepared 2 condiments for this dish. One is a raw garlic and oil mix. The other is smashed red fermented bean curds. I like both condiments equally.
The first condiment: peel and trim about 10 cloves of garlic.
Use a blender: add the 10 garlic, add 3 tsp of cooking oil (I used canola oil) and 1/4 tsp of salt. To cut down on the sharpness of raw garlic, I would also add 1 tsp of sugar. Puree the garlic, blend for about 1 minute to 90 seconds.
Here is how the garlic puree condiment looked. Transfer to a small dish before serving.
To make the second condiment: Add 2 cubes of red fermented bean curds in a small bowl. Be sure to use some of the preserving liquid from the jar. Add 1.5 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of dark soy sauce. Optionally, you may add 1 tsp of five spice powder also.
Use a small spoon to smash the red fermented bean curds and mix with the liquid and sugar. Transfer to a small dish before serving.
Both chickens are ready, served with the 2 condiments. Chop up the chickens with a sharp cleaver before serving.
Picture of the finished dish.
Edited by hzrt8w, 19 February 2006 - 11:14 AM.