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Recipe: Yunnan-style chicken soup

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Yunnan-style Chicken Soup – jitang (鸡汤)

Yunnan is famous for its qiguoji (气锅鸡), a chicken soup in which the chicken is steamed in a special clay pot called a qiguo (气锅) with a chimney in the middle. The broth is created by the steam that cooks the meat and a mixture of medicinal herbs, rather than by water that has been added directly.

Unfortunately, cooking qiguoji requires several hours and access to a qiguo, which is not the easiest implement to find. If you don't have a qiguo or you're just in the mood for simple but delicious Yunnan-style chicken soup, this recipe should do the trick. It may not have the medicinal herbs used in making qiguoji, but it is still healthy, delicious and warming on a cold night.

1 chicken (2 kilograms)
2 stalks of green onion/scallions
Pinch of Sichuan peppercorns (花椒)
Handful of fresh ginger slices
4 teaspoons of salt

Optional: Small handful of dried wolfberries (gouqizi, 枸杞子), also known as goji berries - this will add a mild sweetness and licorice flavor to the broth, but be careful not to overdo it!

Note: An organic or free-range chicken (tuji, 土鸡) will produce a golden broth, all other chickens should produce clear broth.


Wash the chicken thoroughly and chop it into smaller pieces - you can also request that a butcher chop the chicken for you. Put the chicken pieces in a large pot or a pressure cooker.

Fill the pot with water.

Wash and clean the green onion stalks and toss them into the pot whole.

Throw in the Sichuan pepper, salt, ginger and wolfberries (optional). Stir.

Cover the pot and cook on high heat until chicken is tender. This can range from half an hour to two hours depending on the age and quality of the chicken as well as the type of pot used. Expect a shorter cooking time for a pressure cooker and a longer cooking time for a more mature chicken.

Serve with rice or rice noodles. Enjoy!

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this dish is very good for heath.

Good for "heath"? I'm up for "moor" typos! ;-)

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