This soup was prepared fry chef Wen Hongchun at his restaurant the Kang Le Xiao Wu. To make it I use a Yunnan ceramic steam pot, a squat, round, lidded vessel with an internal spout that allows steam to circulate but not to escape. Steaming in a covered heatproof casserole for 2 hours will do almost as well. Chicken steamed this way produces a superior clear soup enriched by condensation of the natural juices of the bird. Serve the soup accompanied by a platter of chicken with dipping sauces.
Blanch the chicken for 3 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Remove the chicken and rinse thoroughly in cold running water.
Place the chicken pieces around the Yunnan pot or on a rack set into a heatproof casserole. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt, and scatter the ginger pieces and spring onions over the top. Pour in the chicken stock and rice wine or sherry. Cover and steam gently over low heat for 2 hours, replenishing the hot water from time to time if needed. Remove the ginger and onion pieces. With a spoon, skim off all the surface fat. Ladle the soup into a tureen, and pass the chicken on a platter with the selection of dipping sauces.
© 1990 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.