I love Yim Kok Kai. When I was young, my dad would buy special " salt chicken " from a famous shop in Jakarta whenever he went there for business trip. We call it "Kiam Ke" in Hokkian aka salty chicken. I believe it's similar to yim kok kai in Malaysia. It was so delicious and my mom being a great cook herself would use the left over bones to boil the best chicken congee ever. I think it was the saltiness of the chicken and the fragrance of salt in it, it was just so good to have it with plain rice. And the congee that was made out of the bones was divine. I always looked forward to have the chicken congee the next morning for breakfast. Gee, can't believe I have been a foodie since I was like 10 years old.
Yim Kok Kai really reminds me of this kiam ke from Jakarta. I always wanted to try making it. Then I saw this recipe from the malaysian cuisine and I set my mind to make yim kok kai for dinner yesterday. I made my own adaptations to the recipe. I added some chinese herbs to it, namely dong quai and red dates. You can get them from any asian groceries. I just thought it would add a really nice fragrance to the whole dish. Something different from the traditional one. And boy was I right, the dish came out delicious. My whole family enjoyed it so much. It was so simple to make, yet so tasty and went so well with a bowl of rice. I would definitely keep making this again in the future. I also took some step-by-step photos on how I wrap the chicken in baking paper and aluminium foil with coarse salt. Hope you enjoy it.
Chinese Herb Salt Baked Chicken - Dong Guai Hong Cou Yim Kok Kai
- 3 chicken marylands - each chopped into 3 smaller pieces OR 8 chicken drumsticks
- 500 grams coarse salt
- Baking paper and aluminium foil
- 15-20 pieces of red dates
- 8 pieces dong guai
- 1/3 cup shao tsing cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce ( I used ABC kecap manis)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic ginger paste ( you can refer to yau fan for recipe OR you can just use 1 tablespoon grated ginger)
- Marinade chicken with all the marinade ingredients for at least 2 hours
- When you are ready to bake the chicken, preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius
- First of all take a big piece of baking paper and put the chicken pieces ( without the marinade sauce) on it. Then add the dong quai and red dates.
- Put another piece of baking paper on top and wrap the chicken pieces by folding in the sides, top and bottom. I used stapler to staple the folded sides so that they stay in place like this.
- Place the aluminium foil in a baking tray and spread half the coarse salt on the foil. Then, add the wrapped chicken on top of the salt.
- Add the remaining of the salt on top of the chicken.
- Lay another piece of aluminium foil on top of everything and wrap it all up.
- Bake in oven for 60 minutes
- Take chicken out of the baking paper and serve with rice.
- You can reuse the salt if you want so that you won't waste it. The only thing will be to wrap the chicken in another layer of baking paper if you really want to recycle the salt because the sauce from the chicken sometimes will leak out of the baking paper and the salt might become wet from the sauce. So to prevent that I'll just wrap the chicken with another layer of baking paper before putting it on top of the salt.