Wooden Bucket Chicken in the shade of the willows
The other day (maybe two Wednesdays ago) we went geo-caching to a place called liuyin gongyuan, or willow shade park.
Before we found the entrance to the park, we decided to find something to eat. We looked around for a while, but didn’t find anything we liked, then stumbled across a very large looking restaurant, with pictures of the menu displayed that looked quite good.
When we went in, the waitress asked us if we wanted to sit inside or out… and promptly lead us straight out into the park, as it turns out the restaurant backs straight out onto it. So we sat outside by the willow trees looking over the lake, sipping Yanjing Beer and eating 饺子（ jiaozi – steamed dumplings) and a pumpkin and chicken dish we picked using the picture menu.
The pumpkin and chicken dish is called 木桶南瓜鸡 (mu tong nangua ji – wooden bucket pumpkin chicken). It was pretty good, so we tried to work out the ingredients and wrote them down.
I recreated the dish on Monday night...
Wooden Bucket Pumpkin Chicken (木桶南瓜鸡 – mu tong nangua ji)
The original we had in the restaurant was just Chicken and pumpkin with ginger, but this is what I came up with…
500g of mixed pumpkin (a sweet variety like butternut) and sweet potato, peeled and cubed.
200g chicken (I used tenderloins, but the restaurant used chicken on the bone, skin left on. Your choice…)
Handful of mushrooms
3cm of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
Half an onion, finely chopped
A good grind of black pepper and sea salt
1 bay leaf
Cup chicken stock (I make this from scratch with chicken drumsticks, leeks, celery, pepper and salt, then I freeze it until I want to use it).
What to do:
Boil a saucepan of water to par boil the pumpkin and sweet potato (I also put a bay leaf and a little ginger in the water) This should take about 3 minutes. I boiled them for 5 and they were completely cooked. If you cook them for longer, the pumpkin will break down more when you cook it further with the chicken.
Heat a little oil in a pan or wok
Add the onions to the pan. Add the garlic after 30 sec, with a good grind of Black pepper and sea salt, cook for a further 30 sec.
Add the chicken to the pan and cook until slightly browned.
Add the pumpkin, sweet potato, mushrooms and chicken stock. Cook until the sauce has reduced nicely. You may need to add a little water.
Thank you for sharing this recipe with us - must be fascinating living in China