Because the children are still young, we do tend to eat chicken a fair bit, it's tender enough for them and is pretty meaty, the meat itself is neutral in flavour, so it's suitable for whatever spices or flavours...
And it's always an option for a budget dinner, can be prepared quickly as well.
Sometimes when the family go to some of the small Chinese restaurants, hubby would like to order the Tong Kong Salt Roast chicken, usually they use free range chicken, and traditionally it's a chicken wrapped in paper, and roasted in a big clay pot of salt, on stove top, slow cooking. The main flavour came from a mix of pepper, madarin peel powder, and most importantly, the sand ginger (kencur), with out that, the flavour is not there. Tong Kong is one of the Cantonese names for Hakka, and it's quite a popular dish in most Cantonese restaurants with a Hakka chef.
Of course, it's a bit hard to replicate the whole recipe with a lot of salt - what I'm going to do with it afterwards? So I did a quick version using the oven:
Tong Kong Paper Roast Chicken
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp Sichuan pepper
1 whole chicken 1.2kg
1tsp 5 spice powder
1.5 tbsp sand ginger (kencur) powder
1 knob of ginger
1 onion – sliced (or spring onion, cut in chunks)
Several pieces of dry mandarin peels, soaked
Mix all dry ingredients, salt, peppers, ginger stout, and 5 spice powder, in a small bowl, use 3/4 of it to rub the skin of chicken and marinate inside of chicken.
Put ginger, onion (or spring onion) and mandarin peels inside chicken and secure with skewer.
Marinate chicken for 1 hour.
Wrap with baking paper and roast in 185C oven for 45 min – 1 hour, till cooked (traditional method was pot roasting in salt).
Cut in chunks, drizzle the chicken with the juice left in the paper bag, serve with the rest of marinating spices and serve with rice.