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Recipe: Eight Treasures Chicken

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Editor's note: The following recipe is taken from the "The Yunnan Cookbook" by Annabel Jackson and Linda Chia. The compendium of 120 recipes was originally published in October 2014, by Hong Kong-based Blacksmith Books.

The dishes contained in the book focus primarily on the cooking traditions of the Han Chinese and the Bai, Dai, Naxi, Tibetan and Wa minorities who all call Yunnan home. For more information on the authors and their works, or to purchase a hardcopy of the cookbook, check out the publisher's website or their Amazon page.

As the seasons switch from fall to winter and the weather gets a little colder, it's always good to have hearty and delicious recipes on hand. This autumn dish — symbolized by the chestnuts — is a favorite for celebrating good health and fortune. Optional ingredients include smoked dried oysters, and on very special occasions would feature duck instead of chicken.


1 small chicken (about 1.5 kilograms)
7.5-centimeter piece ginger, crushed
3 medium shallots, halved
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
125 milliliters Chinese cooking wine
4 black cardamom
6 dried chillies
8 shiitake mushrooms, soaked overnight
Handful dried bak choi, soaked for two hours
Handful wood fungus (木耳), soaked separately for two hours
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dary soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese vinegar
10 chestnuts, boiled for three minutes, then peeled and halved
225 milliliters water
3 small taro roots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bamboo shoot (canned), cut into bite-sized pieces
3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
125 grams goji berries, soaked for two hours
125 grams dried longans, soaked for two hours
4 red dates, soaked in water for two hours
2 teaspoons oil, for frying


• Clean the chicken and cut it into bite-sized pieces (bone-in). Rinse with hot water, dry and then place in a large bowl with ginger, shallots, light soy sauce and wine and let rest for 30 minutes.
• Heat oil in a large saucepan and stir-fry cardamoms, chillies, mushrooms and bak choi with salt. Add the dark soy sauce.
• Add chicken and vinegar and stir-fry for five minutes.
• Add chestnuts and the water, then taro, bamboo shoots and pepper. Braise for ten minutes.
• Add dried fruits and braise for a further ten minutes. Serve hot.


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any 回族 specific recipes?

I just took delivery and flipped through the pages. It's well written and does a good job giving a bit of the cultural and regional flavor of Yunnan in addition to the recipes. The recipes provide alternate suggestions fo ingredients that may not be available outside of Yunnan. I've already bookmarked a half dozen to prepare in the next two weeks. (I wish the printing of the photos had been a bit better. They are a little too dark, but the originals were probably just fine.). Regardless, if you love Yunnan cuisine and miss it, this is a wonderful resource.

and only 23 ingredients!

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