Singapore Main Dish – Paper Wrapped Chicken (Baked)

001 Paper wrapped chicken edited re-sized

These little parcels of moist and aromatic chicken pieces are usually deep fried. In the 1970s and 80s, Union Farm Restaurant along Clementi Rd, Singapore was the only place that we knew served them. Then, there was no reason to look further.  It seems French master chef extraordinaire Paul Bocuse, once awarded them a gold, silver and bronze prize in 1978 at the Asian Salon Culinaire. The waft of fragrant aroma when the parcels were opened stimulated my gastric juices but that was quickly overcome by drippy oil which quickly flowed from the deep fried parcels. Perhaps that is one reason that this dish is now out of many Singaporeans’ radar of popular dishes. My “mission” has always been to serve tasty and nutritious food to my family with as little sacrifice to the original taste as possible. This recipe that I am posting comes from a book which had been given by Malaysian friends as a farewell gift. The book is “Malaysian Festival Cuisine”. I made a major adaptation – baking instead of frying. This recipe is much better than my previous recipe. Frequently, we double the recipe below as left-overs are still finger-licking good.

As you can see, the dish calls for ingredients which are commonly found in a typical South East Asian pantry, click here for the list. Greaseproof paper can be found on NTUC supermarket shelves or from Phoon Huat & Co Pte Ltd.  One kampong chicken weighs about 1.3 kg to 1.5 kg. Save the back bone, wing tip, neck and feet for chicken stock. Each half  of the remaining chicken is cut into portions – wings, drumsticks and thighs, each breast is cut into 2 to 3 pieces. Click here for recipe for home-made chicken stock.

Prepare your marinade, place chicken pieces in a large heavy duty plastic bag, pour marinade over the chicken pieces. Gently “massage” the bag so that all the chicken pieces are covered with marinate. As a pre-caution, place bag on a tray or in a bowl to ensure no leaks as chicken bones may pierce bag and cause leaks. Refrigerate for several hours to season. If you are short on time, an hour should be sufficient. Photo shows a bag filled with two and half kampong chickens (minus all the parts removed to make stock) – 24 pieces of chicken.

Place one seasoned piece of chicken on each piece of greaseproof paper. Top with sliced young ginger and shredded spring onions. Each rectangle piece of paper is 18 to 20 cm by 15 to 17 cm. Size of paper depends on size of each piece of chicken. If you have made a mistake on the size of the rectangle (see above photo, my helper had insisted on was the right size) the mistake is easily remedied. Photo shows the overlapping of 2 pieces of rectangles. Hey, another advantage of baking versus deep frying.

Fold the rectangle like an envelope and tuck the top end into the overlapped slit to secure parcel. Whilst your are preparing these parcels, switch on your oven to pre-heat at 180C.

Place all your parcels onto a foil lined baking tray. Tuck them in close together. Bake for 40 to 50 mins. Time depends on size of chicken pieces and number of parcels. This time, it was baked for 50 mins.

Ingredients:

  • One whole chicken, weighing 1.3 to 1.5 kgs.
  • 4 to 6 stalks of spring onion ( they come in varying sizes), cleaned and shredded
  • 40 gm of young ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

Few sheets of grease-proof paper, cut into 18 to 20 cm by 15 to 17 cm. Size determined by size of chicken pieces. Marinade (mix all in a bowl)

  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ginger juice
  • 1 Tbsp each shallot juice and garlic juice
  • 1 Tbsp Lea & Perrins
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil

Method:

1.  Cutting up the whole chicken. Save the back bone, wing tip, neck and feet for chicken stock. Each half  of the remaining chicken is cut into portions – wings, drumsticks and thighs, each breast is cut into 2 to 3 pieces. Yields about 10 to 12 pieces, depending on the size of the chicken.

2.  Prepare Marinade, place chicken pieces in a large heavy duty plastic bag, pour marinade over the chicken pieces. Gently “massage” the bag so that all the chicken pieces are evenly covered with marinade. As a pre-caution, place bag on a tray or in a bowl to catch leaks since chicken bones may pierce bag. Refrigerate for several hours to season. Flip bag once or twice whilst in the fridge to ensure that all pieces are seasoned. If you are short on time, an hour should be sufficient.

3. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line baking tray with aluminium foil and grease with cooking oil to prevent parcels from sticking to tray and tearing which means you loose all those delicious juices. Make parcels as shown above.

4. Bake for 40 to 50 mins and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Quick Meal. Serve with some hot fragrant Thai Jasmine rice and “Shanghai Cabbage with Oyster Sauce and Garlic” Click here. Sometimes, you are craving for Fried Noodles. Here’s my post on “Fried Yellow Noodles” Click here.

Guests for dinner? Depending on the number of people and their dietary preference at mealtime, this dish may be accompanied with another meat, seafood and vegetable dish!

Chinese Soups

1. Jin Hua Ham and Winter Melon Soup. Click here.

2. Lotus Root, Peanut and Pork Ribs. Click here.

3. Radishes and Dried Squid. Click here.

Seafood dishes

1. Dry Assam Seafood. Click here

2. Fried Fish with Fermented Black Bean Sauce. Click here.

3. Stuffed You Tiao (Baked).  Click here.

Meat dishes

1. Beef Rendang (spicy). Click here

2. Singapore Curry Chicken (spicy). Click here.

Vegetable Dishes

1. Spinach in Broth with 3 types of eggs. Click here.

2. Pork, Spinach and Egg Stir Fry. Click here.

3. Shanghai Cabbage with Oyster Sauce & Garlic. Click here.

Try a little fusion addition with these complimentary Japanese dishes.

1. Chawan Mushi. Click here.

2. Simmered Pumpkin. Click here.

3. Tofu no Shira-ae. Click here.

Dessert

A plate of cold, freshly cut seasonal fruits is always appropriate. Perhaps you had time to make a dessert like one of the 2 listed below? Either of them is most suited to our hot tropical climate.

1. Almond Jelly + Longans Click here.

2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.

3. Sweet Potato Dessert Soup. Click here.

4. Sago Pudding. Click here.

5. Orange Agar Agar. Click here

If your guests’ palates are more international, try

1. Caramel Custard Click here

2. Ginger Poached Pears Click here.

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