The story of the origin of Beggars Chicken, although seemingly far-fetched, is undoubted. In the early 19th century, in China, a very poor starving man was wandering the streets in search of food and he found nothing, not even scraps that was usually thrown out the door for the passing dogs and stray cats. Spotting a chicken running around, he ran after it in hopes of a dinner. After catching it, he wrestled his grip around the neck of the fowl and killed it quickly. He immediately ran to an alley and built himself a fire. While he built a bed of coals in which to roast his dinner, he plucked the bird, slathered a thick layer of mud all around it and nestled this mud-laden meal in the coals to cook. After a spell, he removed it from the embers, cracked the dried, brick-lick coating and began feasting.
At that same time, the emperor had been traveling on the main street and had his carriage halted to step walk to a shop for whatever goods struck his fancy. Upon exiting his carriage, The emperor noticed a delicious smell coming from the alley. Upon examining the source of this delectable odor, he approached the dining beggar and asked of what he was dining on because the smell was wonderful. The beggar looked up at him, his hands and lips shining from the juices of his chicken and replied, " The beggars chicken". The rest is history.
To this day, Beggars Chicken has graced most every Asian dish in every home. In the past few decades, however, many Chinese diners refuse to call it Beggars Chicken, the name not being appealing to those with circumstance. The popularity of another name has taken over, so our great tasting recipe is more often referred to as Rich and Noble Chicken now. Beggars Chicken is traditionally baked in foil that has been enveloped in a flour, salt and water dough, mimicking the original preparation of mud. This helps keep all the steam and dripping in. 4 cups flour, 3 cups salt mixed with 1 1/2 - 2 cups water.
For 4 people
- 1 broiler/fryer chicken, 2 to 2 1/2- pounds
- 1/2 cup(s) soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon(s) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) Chinese 5-spice powder
- 2 green onions, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon(s) dried ginger
- tin foil
Beggars Chicken Directions
- Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Place the chicken on a large piece of greased tin foil sheet, enough to wrap the chicken. Combine soy sauce, sugar, five-spice powder, onions and ginger in a small bowl.
- Rub the chicken with 3 tablespoons soy sauce mixture and then rub with oil. Pour remainder of soy sauce mixture into the cavity of the chicken. some sauce may run out but this is fine.
- Wrap foil around chicken and crimp well. Place chicken on a baking pan and roast for 45 minutes at 425-degrees F.
- *To make your own Chinese 5-spice powder, simply combine 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds (or ground star anise,both are very similar), 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.