AT A GLANCE
"Ubiquitous throughout Yunnan, this classic chicken soup is superb because of its ingenious cooking method. The secret lies in the qi guo, the unique Yunnan ceramic pot with a tapered cone or chimney in the centre. A heavy lid fits snugly over the pot and it is set over a saucepan over boiling water. Steam rises through the chimney and condenses under the lid before falling into the pot, creating a heavenly, nourishing consommé. You can make the soup without this steam pot by simply steaming the soup in a covered bowl over a saucepan. The poor man's ginseng and astragalus huang qi are said to combat ageing, but you can always make a simpler version with ginger, soy, rice wine and dried shiitake and it'll be delicious."
|01||Simmer chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 750ml (10-20 minutes).|
|02||Drain shiitake (reserve soaking liquid) and remove stems (discard). Combine all ingredients in a Yunnan pot (see note above) or large bowl that will fit nicely over a saucepan. Cover with a lid or with foil, place over a saucepan half-filled with water and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Steam until very fragrant (2 hours), topping up saucepan with boiling water as needed. Serve hot.|
Note Dried longan, dried Chinese dates (jujubes), poor man's ginseng (Codonopsis pilosula) and astragalus huang qi (Astralagus propinquus) are available from Chinese grocers, sometimes in the form of a packet of tonic soup mix. The cooking time may vary depending on the flow of steam and the age of your chicken.