For Filipinos who are fans of pinaupong manok, well, it looks like the venerable pinaupong manok has a Chinese ancestor. Chinese salt baked chicken is chicken baked in a blanket of salt and spices. The salt is scraped off before serving as it is no longer necessary after the chicken has absorbed all the flavors and aromas that it needs.
Traditionally, a whole chicken is used for making this dish. But a whole chicken might be too much for Speedy, Sam and myself since there was a vegetable dish I had prepared for the same meal, so three leg quarters were just about right.
You can make this dish using a whole chicken, the procedure would be exactly the same but the baking time would be longer. How much longer depends on the size of the chicken.
You may also use twice or thrice the amount of salt so that the chicken is completely covered with salt during baking. It is the salt blanket that keeps the meat moist, really, but with the amount I used and a tightly covered baking dish, my salt baked chicken came out moist and tasty and succulent.
Recipe: Salt baked chicken
- Mix together the ginger and rice wine. Rub the chicken with the mixture. If using a whole chicken, you’ll need to rub inside the cavity too. Marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Set the oven to 375F.
- Place the rock salt in a baking dish, pop into the oven (no preheating necessary) and keep it there for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds in an oil-free pan. Pound the sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds. Not to a paste but just to release the aroma and oils.
- Take the baking dish out of the oven but keep the oven on.
- Scoop out half of the salt. Sprinkle half of the sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds on the salt in the baking dish.
- Lay the chicken on the salt, skin side up. Cover with the other half of the salt. Sprinkle the remaining sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds on top. Cover the baking dish tightly.
- Pop into the oven then lower the heat to 350F. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
- Remove the cover of the pan, turn up the heat to 375F and bake the chicken for another 10 minutes.
- Scrape off the excess salt on top of the chicken before serving.
- Suggested dipping sauce: ginger scallion sauce.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) excluding marinating time
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 3