Dezhou is a city in Shandong famed for its farm-raised chickens. Although it is now a busy industrial city, it was first famed for its chicken dishes. Traditionally, the chickens are coated with soy sauce, then braised and served splayed out. For a better presentation, I made chicken rolls, which are sliced, topped with slivers of quail eggs and served in a rich sauce.
Lotus root15g (½oz)
Bok choy150g (5⅓oz)
Chicken thighs2, cleaned and deboned
Dark soy sauce1Tbsp
Cooking oil300ml (10fl oz / 1¼cups)
Salt to taste
Potato flour2Tbsp, mixed with 2Tbspwater
Quail eggs3, hard-boiled then peeled
Flying fish roe (tobiko) 2tsp
Chive1, chopped into 2.5-cm (1-in) lengths
Prepare sauce. Combine ingredients in a deep stockpot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare vegetables. Wash and drain, then cut celery, pumpkin and lotus root into 1-cm (½-in) pieces. Set aside.
Wash and clean chicken, then drain and pat dry. Using plastic wrap, roll chicken into a 4-cm (1½-in) diameter roll. Steam for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
Remove plastic wrap and leave chicken roll to cool. When cooled, coat with dark soy sauce. Heat enough cooking oil for deep-frying and deep-fry chicken roll until golden brown. Drain excess oil off, then place chicken into pot with sauce. Return pot to stove and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
While chicken roll is cooking, blanch vegetables in hot water for about 1 minute. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and sauté vegetables, seasoning with a little salt. Place vegetables, except for cabbage, on a serving plate.
Remove chicken roll from sauce and cut into 5 even lengths. Place on top of vegetables, then arrange cabbage around bed of vegetables.
Thicken sauce with potato flour solution. Ladle it over the chicken rolls and garnish with quail eggs, flying fish roe and chives. Serve immediately.