According to this Hong Kong-born chef, you cannot have a festive meal without the meaty trinity of chicken, duck and pork. With Jinhua Yu Shu Ji (yuk lan gai in Cantonese, or Jade Flower Chicken), you nail down two of those ingredients.
The classic Cantonese dish comprises poached chicken arranged on a plate with Jinhua ham and vegetables. The dry-cured ham is named after the city of Jinhua in Zhejiang province, eastern China, where it is produced. It is often used in stews and soups and can be bought at Yue Hwa Chinese Products in Chinatown.
The dish is relatively simple to prepare, but the challenge is in ensuring that the pieces of deboned chicken, ham and mushrooms are of a similar length and size. It is best to eat all three items together as the ham can be very salty on its own.
The dish is not commonly found anymore, although some traditional Cantonese restaurants still serve it. It is not on the menu at Hua Ting, but chef Chung can cook it upon request. It is priced at $80 and needs to be ordered in advance.
He says in Mandarin: "With the Jinhua ham in the dish, you get more flavour and fragrance. The dish was common for weddings, but you would need many chefs to debone and plate the chicken for hundreds of guests. It's easier to manage at home."
- 1 whole chicken (about 1.8kg)
- 60g dried shiitake mushrooms
- 100g Jinhua ham
- 600g kailan
- 800ml chicken stock
- 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- Rinse the chicken, then place it in a pot with enough water to cover.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 40 minutes over low heat.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and place in a bowl. Pour ice water over the chicken - this helps keep the skin intact.
- Debone the chicken and slice into 6cm-long pieces. Place on a serving platter.
- Soak the mushrooms in hot water, remove the stems and slice thinly into 6cm-long pieces. Set aside.
- Slice the Jinhua ham to about the same size as the mushrooms. Set aside.
- Trim the ends of the kailan from the stem. Rinse and set aside.
- Place a slice each of Jinhua ham and mushroom between each piece of chicken.
- Pour the chicken stock into a wok. Bring to a boil and add the kailan and blanch for a few minutes. Remove and arrange on the sides of the dish.
- Add the oyster sauce, salt and sugar into the stock. Stir in the cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
- Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve hot.
Deluxe Hakka fortune pot
Then Chui Foong, 45, technical chef at gourmet food and beverage supplier Euraco Finefood