This is a delicious soup with substance. The chicken is cut up, then quickly blanched to rid it of any scum so that the finished broth will be clear, rich, and delicate, very much like a double consommé. It is similar to a French pot-au-feu, but without chunky vegetables. The dish cooks and comes to the table in a specially designed ceramic pot with a chimney in the middle. The pot itself is placed in water in another covered pot or a wok. The steam condenses off the lid of the pot and back onto the chicken in a gentle mist. This differs from the usual method of steaming, in which the steam surrounds the food and the plate. Pot-steaming is more gradual and subtle. However, if you do not have a Yunnan pot, you can steam this dish in the usual way. Just cut the steaming time to 1½ hours. The dipping sauce for White-Cut Chicken makes a delicious accompaniment.
© 1981 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.