Birds 9: Jiang Chicken (醬雞)

Take a raw chicken, brine it in soy sauce for a day and a night, then hang it in the breeze to dry. This is a winter dish.

羽族單::醬雞
生雞一隻,用清醬浸一晝夜而風乾之。此三冬菜也。

Un poulet suspendu en guise d'enseigne, Lucques, Toscane, Italie
More or less how you would make jiang chicken (Credit: Myrabella)

Nice recipe, but again Yuan Mei left it a bit incomplete with no description on how to cook it. Still, given that air dried meats are typically steamed in Chinese cooking, this is probably the way to prepare jiang chicken.

This recipe is somewhat reminiscent of fengji (風雞; literally, wind chicken), which is first marinated in salt and wine, air dried slightly, and then steamed till done. The texture and flavour of fenji is quite remarkable, with texture of a wet-cured ham and a hint of flavour that one gets from a dried-cured ham. I’m sure jiangji is something like that too.

For the last sentence, I’ve translated “three dong” (三冬) as simply “winter”, since it indicates the last three months of the lunar calendar, which typically  hovers around  November, December, and January. In Canada, we had a typically have a “5 dong”, but at this rate of global warming we’ll be lucky if we have 2 in a few years.

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