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Recipe: Yellow pot chicken

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Editor's note: As interest in Yunnan cuisine increases around China and the rest of the world, GoKunming contributor Guo Duomi will occasionally offer recipes for traditional Yunnan dishes. If there is a certain dish you would like to see a recipe for, please send us your ideas via our contact form.

Yellow pot chicken - huang men ji (黄焖鸡)
In Yunnan, as in most of China, there is no wastage of animal parts. Thus in this dish after cleaning a half chicken is chopped up and cooked. The head and feet of a chicken are considered delicacies and will often be reserved for a guest as a sign of respect. There are many variations on this recipe, it is often made with a lot of sauce and potato added to make it a kind of Chinese curry.

One half chicken – medium size
2 teaspoons of salt
6 cloves of garlic
20 g of ginger
4 pieces of star anise
1 black cardamom pod*
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 sprig of spring onion
Oil for frying

*black cardamom (caoguo 草果), also known as brown cardamom or tsaoko, is a pod which is significantly larger than regular (green) cardamom. It is less aromatic and cooler in flavour than green cardamom, three or four green cardamom pods could be used a substitute if you are unable to obtain the black variety.

Chop a chicken in half lengthways, then chop the bird - bones and all - into small pieces using a cleaver, a butcher may do this for you if requested.

Peel the garlic cloves and chop them into halves. Slice the ginger thinly without peeling the skin off. Chop the black cardamom pod in half. Chop the spring onion into 2cm lengths.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a wok on high heat and add the garlic, ginger, black cardamom pod and star anise. Cook for about 30 seconds then add the chicken and salt. Stir fry for five minutes, stirring constantly.

Add around one cup of water (not enough to fully cover the chicken) to the wok and cover. Cook on high heat for a further seven minutes, opening the cover to stir occasionally.

Add the soy sauce, cover again and cook for a further one to two minutes. Remove the cover and add in the spring onion. Stir fry with the cover off for a few minutes to drive off some of the water and the sauce has reached your preferred consistency.

Transfer the chicken to a serving dish, including the remaining liquid as a sauce. Serve alongside other dishes as part of your meal.

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