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Chinese Recipes
How to cook other poultry and small birds  - J'ut Zhi
Chinese people are often regarded as being able to cook anything! One of the delicacies of Cantonese cuisine is the cooking of small or unusual birds such as: doves, sparrows, and many others I do not have an English name for. "Gai" is the Cantonese for chicken, whilst small birds of many types are simply referred to as "J'ut Zhi"

All poultry can be cooked using our main recipe below, which is a slight variation on the standard Toisan Chicken. Larger birds can often be cooked by restaurants in Shar Siu style, or be quickly steamed.

Let's Get Started - Slow steamed J'ut Zhi
Slow cooked J'ut Zhi Image: small birds called Jut Zhi - Click to Enlarge
• 4 J'ut Zhi plucked and gutted
• A lot of salt
• Water for the steamer, not the pot
• 4 oz chopped Yun Sam
• 10 slices of fresh ginger

Jam kettle or pot of similar size
Double lidded ceramic pot
Prepare the Poultry for cooking:
In China poultry is very often sold alive in wet markets - this is extremely common! Prepared meat and especially chicken can be found, but most Chinese simply do not cook this way.

If you buy live birds then the stall holder may pluck and gut them for you for a small extra charge. Alternatively kill by slitting the neck, drop into boiling water for a minute or so to loosen the feathers and remove. Pull out the feathers and gut to remove the internals. Chinese would probably set aside the larger organs and egg sack as applicable and throw into the pot. The bright yellow stuff is fat which is key to this dish. Leave on the carcass of add to the pot.

Once completed, wash thoroughly under a tap and then rub salt generously into the carcass, both inside and out. This is an important step for helping the fat turn to gee during cooking.

1. Small birds should be added whole, with only the neck and feet removed and added separately. Larger birds could be whole, halved or chopped into quarters - this is up to you.
Note: an upturned rice bowl can be added to the pot in order to trap the gee.
2. To the bottom of the ceramic cooking pot add the rest of the ingredients listed above (Yun Sam and Ginger). You can also add other things such as whole cloves of garlic, and medicinal dried beancurd sheets.
3. Take the large jam-kettle and put a small piece of cloth in the bottom; this is simply to protect the base of the ceramic pot from direct heat. Put the ceramic pot containing birds on top, and add a couple of inches of water. Place the outer lid on the jam kettle, and place on a low heat.
4. The ideal heat is a low simmer, and this may take a while to achieve. You want it to settle so that the water is just bubbling, but not doing too much else.
5. Once simmering nicely, the minimum time is 2-hours, but small birds can be cooked in 90 minutes. Ideally use the very low simmer and cook for longer.
6. It is important to check the simmer every 30 minutes or so, and this you learn from experience. You do not want all the water to evaporate, so may need to top up the water levels in the outer jam kettle from time to time - best to use boiling water from a kettle for this.If your seals are good, then very little water if any will need adding.
7. This dish is quite flexible regards serving timings, so can be cooked in advance of other dishes.
8. When cooked the meat will be tender and ready to fall off the bone. The skin will have taken on a deep brown colouration and look attractive. Serve in the ceramic pot to table and offer gee to guests first.
Image: Typical small steamed birds pot with birds removed - Click to Enlarge

Image: Wild Duck Soup ready for cooking - Click to Enlarge

Image: Cooking vessels required for this dish - Click to Enlarge

Image: Cooking vessels required for this dish, side view - Click to Enlarge

Image: Set up like this and put the big lid on - Click to Enlarge
Wild Duck Soup

This is basically a simple variation on the above recipe with all the essentials remaining the same. The only difference are the ingredients because wild duck should be considered as Game. Therefore we will use sweeter ingredients in place of the Yut Sam above. You can still add the sliced ginger, but garlic cloves do not really suit this dish.
Alternative Ingredients:

• 20 Chinese Red Dates
• 1 dozen shelled Longgnun
• A handful of medicinal dried beancurd
• 5 small slices of fresh ginger
Image: Wild Duck Soup ready for cooking - Click to Enlarge
Char Siu Style Poultry

We use this international term for your understanding, although strictly speaking it refers to the Cantonese / Hong Kong Siu Mei cooking style where honey glazed meat is cooked on the wall of a clay oven. As this is specialised and very difficult - we are going to cheat!

Any poultry is fine with this dish and is prepared as main recipe above - although it is rare for chicken to be cooked this way. Once you have the bird(s) ready for the pot do not add salt.This time we are going to glaze them instead by smearing the outer skin with either a little liquid honey or more commonly, plum sauce. Leave smaller birds whole (Remove head and feet if you prefer), or chop larger birds into halves, quarters, or slices 1 inch wide by half the carcass long.

To a wok or large saucepan add a spacer stand and add warm water for steaming. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, reducing to a vibrant simmer. Place the poultry on a suitable dish with the sweet and sticky side up.

Place the dish on the spacer, cover and leave to steam for about 20minutes. Cooking time will vary with the size of birds, and / or the size you have cut them into.

Serve to table in the cooking dish, or arrange nicely on a server. Any thick juice can be drizzled over the top of the meat, or thinned a little with water and quickly stirred to a good consistency. This would then be poured onto the serving dish and not over the meat.
Image: Duck in Plum Sauce - Click to Enlarge

Image: Wok showing spacer and cooking dish - Click to Enlarge
Mainland Cantonese chef's usually serve this with a soft skin, but you can imitate Char Siu style and make it crispy by working with a blow torch just before presentation.
Steamed and Barbequed Poultry

These alternatives are basically prepared as the Char Siu above, except we are not going to add any sweetness to the skin. Instead we will either use the meat as is, or dust with a few spices of our choice.

Spice Options:
Salt always works well as it combines with the fat and helps promote a crispy skin. Best used when Barbecuing.
Chinese Ziran powder is slightly spicy and excellent with both steamed and BBQ 'd versions.
Chilli powder is always added by street barbeque restaurants and tends to be awful. Don't get me wrong, I love chilli, but they use loads of the dried sichuan chilli powder which I find simply too hot and disgusting.

Cooking Options:
1. Steam in a wok with spacer as described above
2. Barbeque as you would chicken at home. Chinese present drumsticks in the form of a crucifix by cutting the meaty side down the middle and to the bone, then spearing with kebab sticks to hold the meat flat and open. This greatly reduces cooking time and ensures the meat is thoroughly cooked through.
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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