The secret of this popular dish lies in the marinade, which, when cooking, caramelizes the chicken and other ingredients, joining them together. When wrapping the chicken, it is customary to add a few other ingredients as a type of garnish. Cilantro, Chinese dried mushrooms, Chinese sausages (you can substitute smoked ham), and/or green onions are all used. When it comes time to cook, the garnish and chicken pieces are wrapped envelope style in square packets and (normally) deep-fried. Baking is another option; see instructions in the final step. Cooking time is normally about three to four minutes - long enough for the chicken to cook through but not for the paper to blacken. (This is for five to six inch squares - the cooking time will be longer if you are working with a recipe that calls for larger packets.) Stir the pieces lightly with chopsticks a few times while deep-frying. Drain the cooked chicken packets on paper towels. This recipe can be prepared ahead up to the deep-frying or baking stage, then frozen. Time does not include 1 hour marination. Recipe courtesy Rhonda Parkinson.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 slice gingerroot, shredded
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 3 -4 dried Chinese mushrooms, softened and thinly sliced (24 slices, 1 for each packet)
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (2 - 3 slices for each packet)
- 24 sprigs cilantro
- 24 squares parchment paper (6-inch squares) or 24 aluminum foil (6-inch squares)
- peanut oil, for deep-frying
- Cut the chicken into coarse mince and playfully spank it with a mallet to tenderize. Say, “You’ve been a naughty little chicken!”.
- Mix the marinade ingredients together, add chicken, and refrigerate for one hour. At the 45 minute mark, add the mushrooms and scallions.
- Cut paper or foil pieces into 6-inch squares.
- Paper-wrapped chicken is normally wrapped envelope style. Take a square of paper and lay it out in front of you. Add 2 of the chicken slices, 1 slice of mushroom, 2 slices of green onion and a coriander sprig (if desired) in the middle, being sure to keep the filling in the center and not near the edges.
- Bring the bottom flap up over the chicken. Fold the right side over toward the middle, then the left side, so that one is overlapping the other. Fold the top flap down, tucking it inside the opening to seal the package. It is very important to make sure the packets are well sealed so that no oil seeps inches.
- If using foil, fold in half diagonally to form a triangle, then crimp the open edges together.
- DEEP FRYING METHOD: Heat wok and add oil for deep-frying.
- When the oil is ready, slide the packages in, about 6 at a time so as not to overcrowd the wok. Deep-fry the packets, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Drain on paper towels. Continue deep-frying the rest of the packets.
- Serve the chicken packets on a large platter, garnished with greens if desired. Guests can open the packets with either chopsticks or their fingers, but be careful as they’re hot inside.
- OVEN METHOD: Bake in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius) oven for 18 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
I don't use the Sherry. This is an amazing recipe, my family has been making this tin foil chicken for years !!!! Great recipe !!!! My teens love tearing the foil so you can have a job for everyone !!