Di Guo Ji is a very famous dish from Xuzhou, China. My sister went to a university in Xuzhou and I paid several visit there. But I have only tried Di Guo Ji once, and couldn’t forget about it ever since.
This dish is a combination of braised chicken and flour cake (mian bing or bingzi). Chicken is tasty and juicy while bingzi also absorbs the flavor from gravy. Bingzi is actually my favorite part of this dish.
- Prepare chicken. I only cook for my husband and myself, so I just need half chicken. Chop it into small pieces. In china, especially in northern part, when we cook (braise or stir fry) chicken, we usually chop it into small pieces.Which means you need a big knife, sharp and hard enough to break the chicken bone. That’s the most difficult part for me. I don’t have that Chinese style knife and really don’t dare to hit the chicken that hard. So I just cut the chicken at joint or the relatively soft bones.
- Heat a pan. I recommend a skillet. Add in 1 tablespoon oil. In with the spices, ginger, onion, star anise, dry chili, bayleaf. Saute till aromatic. Add in all the chicken piece.
- Stir fry chicken patiently and gently. When the chicken turns white in color, pour in 1 tablespoon cooking wine. Stir for another minute.
- Drop in 1 tablespoon sugar, let the chicken be coated with sugar evenly.
- Add in 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce. Blend evenly.
- You can also add vegetables in this dish, like potato or bamboo shoot. I chose potato (2 medium ones). Peel them and cut them into medium chunks. Also add potato into the pan.
- Pour in enough hot water can cover all ingredients. Lid on. turn to medium low heat and simmer for 20 mins.
- For flour cake: 1 cup flour and some water. Mix them well in a bowl. Knead into a dough ball. Lt it rest for a while. Then divide it into 8 small dough balls. Soak them in water for about 5 mins.
- Stretch dough ball by hand to make it a thin long oval shape. Press one end to the pan and let the other one end float on the chicken gravy. Lid on and simmer again for another 15 mins.
Gently tuck bingzi under the chicken and potato. (You can skip this step if you think it’s too troublesome.) Season with salt. Sprinkle chopped green chili and spring onion on the top.
Chicken is a bit like Huang Men Ji.
To me, all the essence is in the bingzi.