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Big Plate Chicken/Chicken & Potato

12 posts in this topic

Anyone ever tried this dish?



It's supposed to be a chicken and potato 'stew' (ish) and you add wide noodles to it afterwards to soak up the sauce.

I've never tried it myeslf but it looks absolutely delish! A specialty from Xinjiang (apparently). If anyone is able to offer their experience/taste sensation with this dish or even better, a recipe, I'd be really grateful! :biggrin:

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog


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This was one of my two favourite dishes in the local Xinjiang restaurant (Ali Ba Ba), which tragically closed down.

I remember it being spicy (chilli, cumin, Sichuan Pepper etc). The potato was infused with the juices and melted in the mouth.

And yes. The noodles came last to mop up the remains of the sauce.

Come back, Ali!

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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I've had it at a restaurant owned by a family from Qinghai. They made it like this: green pepper + chili + garlic + onion + ziran + potato + a chicken chopped up with a big ol' knife. Tossed it all in a big pan, made it wet, cooked it until it was dried and the potatoes were cooked, the end, put it in a flimsy tinfoil pan to serve. No noodles. But they had enough laying dough around that I'm sure they could have thrown some on top, if you wanted.

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This is coming close enough to Central Asian flavor and cooking principles that i would hazard a guess from the Indian POV: give it a try and see how it tastes, Sinify it to your liking!

Dylank mentions green peppers, cumin, onions, garlic, potatoes, chicken

Liuzhou: chili, Sichuan pepper

Cut up a country chicken [i.e. not too fatty broiler], Chinese style, into pieces, bone in say 1 kg, rub with a little salt, turmeric, a little lemon juice if wanted, set aside

Cut into halves or large quarters, skin on or off, russets or Yukon Gold type of potatoes [skin adds flavor], do this just before you cook to prevent discoloration, approx.300-350 grams, or to taste

Peppers: you can use green and red peppers cut into chunks to be added last; plus get some thai chillies, preferred, say 5-10, depending on how large and how hot they are, and chop them coarsely set aside

Cumin : whole : 1/2 teaspoon; roast & powder 1/2 teaspoon

Cassia bark: small piece, peppercorn, black or white coarsely crushed: 5-6

Onion: yellow cooking, 100 gm or more to taste, sliced

or small shallots, peeled, left whole

Garlic: to taste, smashed with cleaver, march-chopped

[Chili-garlic paste etc. to your taste], or Korean red pepper powder, kochokaru

Tiny amount of tomato puree, or concentrate, not to overpower

14 oz can of chicken broth or more as needed

Heat wok, add sufficient oil, fry potato quarters till slightly cooked, remove.

In batches, quickly brown chicken pieces over brisk flame, using oil as needed, spatter screen. Brown means chicken and skin will turn yellow or white, and acquire the faintest edge of color. Remove to a dish that will contain juices.

Some like to splutter the whole cumin in batches in the hot oil before adding each lot of chicken, but you may avoid this step, and splutter the cumin later.

When all complete, see if any oil remaining, not much is needed, a few tablespoons. Now add whole cumin if you have not already done so, to hot but not smoking oil. They will splutter; do not let them burn. immediately add cassia and peppercorn, then onions, cook briefly till limp add the garlic and chopped green chillies, cook briefly add chicken and stir.

Mix well, adding your "hot red" element now, be it chili-garlic paste, or red pepper, plus a tiny touch of tomato puree, a pinch of sugar . [Next time add also a tablespoon of ketchup and see what difference that might make]. Add your roasted powdered cumin. Cover and cook on low for a little bit until there is steam, making sure nothing is burning. Add potatoes and then stock and boiling water gradually to build up gravy.

Add hot stock in small quantities, letting everything come to boil between additions. Like this: add 1/2 can hot stock, let simmer 7-8 minutes, add next 1/2 cup, simmer 4 minutes, add more stock or hot water. Keep covered in between. Too much acidic element like tomatoes and the potatoes will turn gluey-texturesd instead of floury.

Bring the gravy up to your desired thickness. Add MSG if you wish. Add pepper chunks if you desire. Taste. You can now add more roasted cumin powder, roasted Sichuan pepper, sugar, vinegar, etc. to balance the flavors. Note that the very hot gravy will not report the correct balance accurately to your tongue, and what you will taste after it is cooler will be different.

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Dapanji - yum! Although it does quite a bit wearing to eat by about half way through.... :wink: I think the flavour of this dish would be hard to recreate without the thin-skinned green pepper that one gets here in China...but if you can get these (please avoid green capsicums/bell peppers at all costs!), you could probably throw something together by frying the chicken first with the potatoes and onions then adding tomatoes and the spices (definitely as everyones' said: cumin and chilli - and most places I've had it in add whole Sichuan peppercorns) cooking it down and adding the green peppers. But you do need the sauce for the noodles afterwards - so don't cook it dry!!!

served with cold shredded raw cabbage, carrot etc... dressed with sugar and vinegar. Wash down with Xinjiang beer or red wine :biggrin:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Do you suppose one accepatble substitute for the green peppers would be the Korean green ones or the Japanese shishitou type? These are thin-skinned and I am sure these would be readily available in "Oriental" (!!) groceries in Australia, especially those serving Koreans/Japanese?

That is also why I suggest adding a few Thai type green chilis [1-1.5 inches long, not prik khee noo, mouse droppings type but the longer type] at the beginning when frying the onions, a touch of heat and aroma.

That picture linked sadly shows the capsicum/green & red bell pepper, that sours and muddies the taste of many things it enters. It is cheap, pretty and bulks up the dish, and conveys an aura of healthful-ness, all heaven-sent to restaurant owners!

P.S. It is a relief that you, a knowledgeable and choosy eater of Chinese and Greater China food, generally confirm the recipe that I generated out of general principles, mainly Indian! At least it would not lead Ce'nedra too wildly out of the ballpark, which i feared it might. The capsicum/bell peppers [as also the slight hint of turmeric rubbed into an initial marinade] were suggested after examining the picture below! I have no idea what goes into Dapanji or how it should taste! Forensic recipe reconstruction!


If Ce'nedra gains confidence, then I can suggest more complex cooking styles that will extract more flavor, a true Indian style: the departure point is when you add chicken to the onions, and then the ground and hot red spices. You cover and allow juices to run out, uncover and dry carefully, caramelizing the protein juices with the onions to create a base. Then proceed as above.

Edited by v. gautam (log)

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Thanks alot everyone for your contribution :biggrin:

DylanK: What's ziran?

v. gautam: That recipe has alot of depth -thanks so much for your effort! You're right. Xinjiang cuisine is very much a combination of Central Asian and Chinese imo (from what I've gathered so far at least).

What are Yukon Gold potatoes though? I've never heard of that kind (then again, I don't really take note of potato names in general) -here's hoping we have them here in Oz!

Oh and when you say 'peppers', you don't mean capsicums do you? In Oz, we use different terms I think (poo the confusion).

Your version sound just delicious. I'll have to hunt down on all the ingredients beforehand to make sure we have it before I start cracking :)

Oh and yes, I think I should start simple first. I'm not too confident with my cooking skills just yet lol.

Fengyi: What would you recommend as a good substitute?

Oh and I've been offered a link to a Big Plate Chicken recipe: http://gobilily.blogspot.com/2007/01/big-p...ji1-recipe.html

Can anyone tell me if it's 'authentic' enough or at least sounds about right? Thanks so much :)

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog


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What's ziran?

孜然 = Cumin

As to the recipe. Not terribly authentic. Olive Oil? No cumin. Take out the Sichuan peppercorns?

I'd worry about the red and green peppers. I have a feeling that she means bell peppers which are just wrong.

It may be tasty but not what I have eaten as Da Pan Ji.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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Here's just my 2 cents, for what they are worth [and look what's happening to the poor US$ at this time!!]

Yukon Gold potatoes: in the US, russet potatoes are the "baking" type, whereas red bliss and even more "waxy" types occupy the "boiling" end of the spectrum, opposite from the baking end. This has to do with the types of starch they have.

Now, midway between the two, is a golden fleshed beauty known as the Yukon Gold. It shares some of the positive characteristics of both camps, and is good for these types of preparations, where there is long immersion in boiling liquids, sometimes acidic. It resists turning gluey. Its skin is thin enough that there is no need to peel, the skin adding a measure of flavor, for those who like such things.

In Australian grocery stores, you can ask about it by name, or about a type that is equally good as a baker and boiler, between "floury" and "waxy", those are the descriptive terms used for the starch in the US industry.

Peppers: We include 2 types:

A. As per Fengyi's strictures, and my own suspicions, avoids capsicums, or bell peppers, in Americanese. [i do forget sometimes that the world does not speak our US dialect, and me from India!!]

But, in OZ, you should be able to find the thin-skinned wrinkly green Korean or Japanese green peppers, about as big as a thumb [use your imagination here, this is not a precise size!]. These would be closest in type and flavor to the peppers suggested by Fengyi. This would go in towards the end of the dish.

B. I have suggested an extra step of adding a few long thai type peppers, chopped up when frying up the chicken with onion and garlic etc. This is to add a measure of aroma, not heat, in case the right type of other peppers were not available. Use your discretion and use them just to perk up flavors a tiny bit, not add heat. So 2-4 per kg chicken may be a good starting place.


USE A NEUTRAL VEGETABLE OIL, like refined peanut oil, soybean oil. Note that in my recipe we use the Indian method of flavoring the hot oil with whole spices of the same flavor that is to prevail in the dish. Do this in tiny pinches, of course, as suggested. The chicken also will release some fat, depending on how fatty Australian chicken is. This will add flavor to the vegetable oil. Please use a splatter screen to protect your eyes.

If you are an adventurous person, and can get pork caul fat, you will keep a quantity handy, and use a bit to fry, add to your vegetable oil, saute things and so forth. Adds a depth of flavor.

Some comments on the GOBILILLY recipe;

Sorry to be a bit harsh.

1. Do not use any habanero, fresh or dry, unless it be the merest sliver. not only is its flavor completely alien to Chinese cooking, plus it is ugly-hot, catching the throat. Paradoxically, this group of peppers is called Capsicum sinense, but have nothing to do with China!

2. The lady is very casual, suggesting a "handful of Sichuan peppercorns" or substituting them with black peppercons. One is not a substitute for the other, and an adult's handful in one chicken? Think about it!

3. The whole tenor of her recipe is towards a red-cooked chicken: nothing more or less. This much soy sauce will drown out any trace of Central Asia in the taste. I would suppose that one attraction of the dish is in its NOT tasting like everyday Han food, a touch of the exotic yet not too wild.

So which Muslim would be using wine and soy sauce with such abandon?

Rather, one may imagine the sweet spices, that make their appearance also in Northern Chinese repertoire, coriander, cassia, clove, large cardamom, fennel, cumin, this group of flavors making their presence known, but not necessarily in the same dish.

Finally, I think you, in particular, should not underestimate your skill as a cook. Your urge to get everything set up and prepared indicate the organized mind that will be able to focus on the task of cooking. As you can guess, smell, touch, taste, and many subconscious cues go into cooking a dish, thus focus is important. Like driving a car, practice allows the brain to assimilate all these tasks into one integrated whole, without your realizing it.

So you go ahead and do each dish as many times as you feel motivated. Each time, it will turn out better and better, as your whole being records its experiences and debugs procedures and tastes it notices unconsciously. Thus you will create your own style of Da Panji, suited to your own tastes and preferences. Some may like a pinch of sugar, others may like a splash of vinegar. Some will want a hefty splash of the old, comforting presence of soy sauce. Another will say, no, i want the fresh perky taste of roast powdered taste of cumin to stand out. Someone else will prefer the tate of raw powdered cumin seed. Salt levels differ enormously from person to person. A touch of ketchup can make it ambrosial for one, horrid for another. You get the point!

Edited by v. gautam (log)

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I found this last night in my local Muslim Lanzhou Lamian Shop


There "Xinjiang Big Plate Chiicken" came in two sizes. This is the smaller of the two and cost ¥30. They also had a ¥60 version. I was with one other person and there was no way we could get through this lot. The two of us ate about half and were stuffed. The other half is in the fridge and will be today's lunch! Doggie bag culture is alive and well in China!

As you can see, the chicken and potatoes came on top of a bed of "knife cut noodles'. The sauce contained douban jiang, Sichuan peppercorn, ginger, garlic, star anise, cloves, cumin, broad beans, caoguo (false cardamom), tomato, red and green chillies.

This is a speciality of this particular restaurant. Here is the window. From top to bottom they are offering Lanzhou Beef Lamian (Hand pulled Noodles), Xinjiang Big Plate Chicken, Lamb Jia Mo (spicy lamb in arabic style bread).


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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I enjoyed this dish on my last visit to China and have experimented a couple of times. My version is here: http://www.jamieoliver.com:81/foodwise/article-view.php?id=4602

It uses ingredients fairly easily accessible in the west so people can make it at home - and tastes pretty similar to the version I ate in China. It has no beer or wine (many restaurants that serve it in China are 'halal' and don't use alcohol in cooking) and certainly no soy sauce (this dish has its roots in Central Asian cooking rather than Han Chinese cooking). When I make it, I use small thin skinned oriental peppers when they are available. Its worth hunting them down in an oriental market. Of course if you really can't find them then bell peppers could be used as a last resort - not authentic but better than nothing. Or you could always leave them out altogether.

The exact amounts and mix of spices varies from cook to cook - there is no single 'authentic' version. So its well worth experimenting and making the dish your own. When I ate it in China it also had whole white cardamom pods in it.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.

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Anybody have any other recipes for this? I tried Jamie Oliver's and although nice, it wasn't the same as the one I used to eat in Chengdu.

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