Friday, July 06, 2007

Jee Bao Gai/Chinese Paper Wrapped Chicken/Silver-Wrapped Chicken

I remembered my friend's mom used to make these for her parties, and I loved the caramelized flavors of the chicken. Since then I had always wanted to make these little packages, and found a recipe that works time and time again. It's not as time consuming as I thought it would be, and folding the paper around the chicken was kind of therepeutic for only doing 24 packets. The serving plate was emptied over the course of dinner and the fun part for the kids was opening the wrappers with their little fingers! Sort of messy, but fun for the family table. Have lots of paper napkins handy. Used the recipe from Bon Appetit and used parchment paper instead of foil for the wrapping.Picture of the chicken thigh on top of rice with parchment paper removed.
1/2 c sugar (sometimes I use 1/4 c sugar and 1/4 c honey combo)
5 Tbs soy sauce (used light soy sauce)
1 Tbs Chinese bean sauce (may be substituted with dark soy sauce although taste may vary)
1/4 c minced green onions
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbs organic hoisin sauce (available at Wholefoods and some supermarkets)
2 Tbs dry Sherry
2 Tbs oriental dark-roasted sesame oil
4 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
12 skinless boneless chicken thighs with fat removed, each cut into 2 pieces

24 9-inch parchment paper squaresVegetable oil (for deep-frying)
Combine first 12 ingredients in a food processor to blend and pour into a large glass bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally.
Place 1 foil square on work surface with 1 corner pointing toward the edge. Place 1 chicken piece in center of foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon marinade. Fold bottom corner over chicken. Fold sides in. Lift section of foil containing chicken and fold upward, leaving top corner of foil exposed. Fold top corner into flap. Repeat with remaining chicken and foil. Discard remaining marinade.

Pour oil into heavy large Dutch oven to depth of 6 inches. Heat to 350°F. Working in batches, carefully add chicken packages (oil will bubble vigorously) and fry until chicken is cooked through, about 8-9 minutes per batch. Using tongs transfer packages to paper towels and drain.

Arrange packages on platter. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Note: These chicken wraps (using foil) can be baked at 400F for 20 mins or until cooked through, and also broiled (without wrapping.) I have also tried just marinading the boneless, skinless chicken thighs pieces overnight and putting it in the crockpot on low for 8 hours, and served it with stir-fried tau geh (bean spouts) and broccoli over rice. It was good, but I liked the wrapped presentation better. Tip: Use the leftover marinade as a sauce by cooking it over the stove and reducing it.


Anonymous said...

Wahhhhh! You made jee bao gai??? So hardworking what?

Little Corner of Mine said...

This looks delish! I like your presentation too. :)

I have a Chinese cookbook that has paper wrapped recipe, I think it uses fish. Oh man, I really should read my cookbook instead of let it sit on the shelf. I buy cookbooks to drool on the pictures and then on the shelf they sit. Very bad habit, so now I stop myself from buying, unless I'm in M'sia...LOL!

SteamyKitchen said...

restaurants sometimes use this thin clear paper - do you know what this paper is called?

Anonymous said...

My mum used to make this. I think her greaseproof paper came out a lot greasier. How is it yours still looks like it's not been fried?
Chicken looks good.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

San.y, LOL! Thanks for the laugh!

Thanks C! I have the same habit too! Lots of cookbooks and yet I try recipes from magazines!

Hi Steamykitchen,
I used a different brand of parchment paper this time, and it seems thicker. The parchment/greaseproof paper in asia is also thinner. Must look for that at asian markets next time.

Hi Judy,
What I did was deep fry it on the stove for a few mins, then transferred them to the oven to continue cooking. Maybe that's why it doesn't look as greasy???

Big Boys Oven said...

Oh paper wrapped chicken... I luv them! I always take at least 2 of them when I dine out. In KL you can find them at Serdang and the Mines. Every shops has their distintc taste and flavour.

Serena said...


Your paper-wrapped chicken parcels look really good, as you have explained that you deep-fried them for a while then continued cooking them in the oven, I wonder if it would be ok to just bake them from scratch? I.e. not using foil but just the parchment paper. Would the paper catch fire?! Regards the question by steamykitchen on the "thin clear" paper, I wonder if it's cellophane paper. I distinctly remember having seen something like that eons ago in some restaurant. But won't cellophane (or glass paper, as it is sometimes called) melt if fried? I know it is used in steamed egg cake as a lining (the clear transparent non-coloured type).

WokandSpoon said...

Ooo, that looks great! Which section of the Asian grocery shop do you find the parchment paper in? I'll have to look out for it.

Anonymous said...

Jee Bao Gai, a long-forgotten dish. My family back in Sg, has not even done this dish before.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Big Boys Oven,
Have to try those places when I get to KL! :)

Hi Serena,
Thanks and Good question! I haven't tried just baking it as I usually deep-fry it for 3-5 mins to seal in the flavors before putting them in oven to finish cooking process and keep it warm while making other dishes. I think the risk of grease-fire would be minimal at 350F/180C in an electric oven. You may want to pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken packets to keep the chicken from drying out too much in the oven. And thanks for reminding me about the cellophane paper. But doesn't it have plastic qualities in it? I think the ones my friend's mom used is more like the thin tracing paper found in Singapore? I use parchment paper here for lining cakes and baking too, and Reynolds here makes a thicker version of those found in Singapore. Hope this helps?

Thanks Wokandspoon,
I bought the parchment paper in the baking aisle at the grocery store. :)

East Meets West Kitchen said...

LOL! I know my family doesn't back home doesn't cook this either, especially when you can just go to all the good Chinese restaurants and order delicious jee bao gai! :)

J@n!ce said...

Hi, your dishes really makes me hungry....*slurp*.....:)

Lee Ping said...

The chicken meat must be juicy and tender. I have seen whole chicken wrapped in clay and baked until cooked (in restaurant).

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Thanks Janice for visiting my blog!

Thanks Lee Ping! It was juicy and tender cause of the thigh meat and very flavorful. :)