Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hong Kong Royal Chicken / 香港贵妃鸡

Happy New Year to everyone! It's a brand new year for 2016 and CNY is just around the corner. I think it's the right time for me to share my Hong Kong Royal Chicken recipe.

Tender chicken piece with some gelatinous layer in-between. Salty, with a hint of angelica root. The existence of Cekur, Turmeric and Spring Onion on the water bath injected all the flavors into the chicken and gives really good flavor. A dish that looked simple, but yet requires every details to be followed to ensure it's success.

Chinese New Year is just a month away and I would like to share with you Hong Kong Royal Chicken (香港贵妃鸡) recipe which I think it is ideal as part of the CNY dish served during Chinese New Year dinner.

During my previous trip to Hong Kong last year Jan'15, I had Gui Fei Chicken in Hong Kong Tasty Congee Noodle Wantun Shop 正斗粥麵專家, it was really good. I like it. So, I decided to replicate it at home. But the one in Hong Kong is dried version. The one I've re-created is with sauce. I like the idea of having sauce. If you are unsure with the sauce, you could always serve the sauce separately.

The chicken dish on the picture above is showing half chicken only. I save the other half for the next meal.

My mom did this once, many years back. She gave me quite a number of tips to ensure I didn't go wrong. These are the tips :
  1. Cekur (沙姜 Sand Ginger) is a must. Do not replace with Cekur powder or ordinary ginger. They are different. 
  2. Turmeric (黄姜) is also a must. Do not replace with Turmeric powder. 
  3. Choose a nice chicken for this dish. Even if you have to pay more for the chicken.
(Source : Harvest Rich Recipe Book, with modification)
  • 1 Fresh Chicken, preferably Kampong Chicken (est. 1.3kg) 甘榜鸡
  • 60g Cekor Ginger 沙姜
  • 15g Turmeric 黄姜
  • 5g Angelica Root 当归
  • 2.4L Water, or more 水
  • 75g Sea Salt 海盐
  • 2 + 2 tbsp Rose Wine 玫瑰露酒
  • 1 tsp Sugar 糖
  • 1 Sprig Spring Onions 青葱 
  • 5g Goji Berries / Wolfberries 枸杞子
Turmeric is easily available at the wet market. But not all wet market sells Cekor Ginger. I got mine at Tekka Market, where they sell all sorts of spices to cater for Indian and Malay cooking. I love Tekka Market :)

For the water, you just need to make sure that you have enough water to cover the chicken, Probably 2.3L to 2.5L, depends on the size of your pot.

  1. Wash and trim away visible fats from the chicken. Chop away the chicken feet. Set aside for later use.
  2. In a slim and tall pot that can fit in a chicken nicely, fill with water, dissolve salt in water, add in Cekor Ginger, Turmeric, Angelica Root, 2 tbsp Rose Wine and Sugar, Bring to boil. Switch to low heat and continue boiling for 15mins.
  3. Once water is boiled for 15mins, the water should have been infused. Hold the chicken head (refer to photo), soak the chicken body into the boiling water. With your hand still holding the chicken head, lift the chicken up, and soak it into the boiling water again. Do this for 4 times before you release the chicken head and let the chicken submerge into the water completely. By doing this, water will go into the chicken cavity, and hence, the whole chicken will be well cooked. Water level must completely cover the chicken.
  4. Immediately turn the fire into dead low and slow, lids on, and leave it there for 5mins. Remember to set timer. Do not go over 5 mins. 
  5. After 5 mins, heat off. Leave it there untouched. Set timer for 50mins (for 1.3kg chicken). Walk out of the kitchen and go watch your TV show. If your chicken is 1.7kg or anything bigger, please make it 1 hour and 10mins or so. You have to gauge the time yourself. For 1.6kg chicken, it would be about 1 hour.
  6. Use a pair of chopsticks, carefully and gently remove the chicken from the pot and place the chicken to the big tub, and fill with running tap water to cool down the chicken. Try your best not to bruise or tear the chicken skin. We need the chicken to have nice appearance.
  7. When the chicken is cooled down abit on the surface, put the chicken into a tub of ice-cold water to further cooling process until chicken turned room temperature inside out. Drain.
  8. Chop chicken accordingly and arrange it nicely on a plate.
  9. For the sauce, pour 2 tbsp Rose Wine and add Goji Berries into half bowl of stewed soup (the water that you used to cook the chicken), pour it on a separate saucepot, bring to a boil. Give it a taste to ensure the saltiness is right, or adjust it accordingly. Thicken the gravy with tapioca starch. Pour the gravy on the chopped chicken. Garnish with Spring Onions and serve.
You don't have to remove the skin for both Cekur and Turmeric. It is fine to leave the skin on, just remove the dirts if any. Shaving off the skin is just for cosmetical appearance only.

I used 菜园鸡 (Veggies Farm Chicken), which is widely available in Malaysia. I'm happy with it.

As advised by my mom, I adapted the recipe from a recipe book "Harvest Rich" by Choong Su Yin, and modified it accordingly. This is how the chicken dish looked like in the recipe book. The chicken looked really yellow, which I don't think the amount of Turmeric indicated on the recipe book gives this result. And the recipe book asked for 150g Salt that makes my jaw dropped.

Anyway, I'm happy with the result. My husband love this dish. Although this dish is not difficult to make, but there's quite a number of steps needs to be noted and not to be missed.

I hope you like this dish.


You may also like : Hakka Steamed Salted Chicken / 客家蒸盐鸡


  1. Annie, the chicken looks very good. Will definitely try this as I love pak cham gai but your photograph shows lengkuas or lam geong, not cekor/sa geong. Which is the right ginger to use?

    1. Hello, I'm very sure that the photograph on my post is Cekor. Not Lengkuas. You may want to do a double check on the Internet :)

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Twinklesix, Angelica root is a common chinese herbs easily available in any of the chinese medical hall. As I stated clearly in my recipe, Angelica root is also known as 当归 (Dang Gui in Mandarin, and Dong Guay in Cantonese). I hope it helps.

  3. This sounds delicious. My father has cancer in remission and I am looking for unique, tasty recipes with ginger and turmeric. This has both and sounds so good.