Big Plate chicken, Dapanji 大盘鸡 in Chinese, is a type of chicken stew. It is a popular dish that originated in Xinjiang. The dish gained popularity in Xinjiang in the mid-to-late 1990s. It is said to have been invented in Shawan, Northern Xinjiang, by a migrant from Sichuan who mixed hot chilli peppers with chicken and potatoes in an attempt to reproduce a Sichuan taste. Although Shawan is generally believed to the place of origin of the dish, there are also other claims of origin, including an invention by a Hunan native at Chaiwopu Lake near Ürümqi. Some believed the dish was originally served in a number of smaller plates, but later a large single plate was used instead which gave it its name. The dish was served by restaurateurs along the Xinjiang highways as a quick fix for truck drivers who often arrived at an odd time of the day. Its rich flavour and heartiness quickly made the dish a favourite of the region and the dish then spread to the rest of China.
The whole chicken is cut into bite-size pieces (usually unboned), sautéed with spices and coarsely chopped vegetables and simmered in broth, providing a savoury and spicy casserole-like dish. It is usually served with latiaozi (hand-stretched noodles) or laghman and shared by family and friends in a communal manner. If there are not hand-pulled noodles available, you can use any fresh or dried noodles or pasta instead.
Other variations of the dish may be served with nan (馕包大盘鸡), a staple bread widely consumed in Xinjiang, usually served baked or roasted in Xinjiang restaurants and other places. With the sauce, the bread becomes very soft and moist, producing a melt-in-the-mouth savoury texture. If the noodle and the bread is a challenge for you to get, it is also a delicious dish to serve with rice.
The main ingredients are chicken, bell/ chilli peppers and potatoes, cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, dried chilli peppers, ground white pepper, star anise, Sichuan peppers, chilli bean paste cooking oil, also soy sauce and optionally beer or cooking wine.
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Let us see how to cook this dish.
For this recipe, we choose the chicken thigh instead of the whole chicken and we choose noodle to serve with the dish
2 big chicken thigh ( 1 whole chicken about 700g) *
Chicken can be substituted with assorted mushrooms and or tofu
3 medium-size potatoes
1 medium-size green chilli pepper
1 medium-size red chilli pepper
1 small yellow onion
5-8 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of Sichuan chilli bean paste*
1tsp of salt or salt for taste *
1tsp of sugar or sugar for taste*
1 tbsp of cooking wine*
2tpsp of light soy sauce*
1tbsp of dark soy sauce*
2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil*
250g freshly made wide noodle
1L Chicken/vegetable stock/water, or enough to cover all the ingredients.
10 pieces of dried chilli pepper
1 tbsp of Sichuan peppercorn
1 cinnamon bark
2 pieces of star anise
2 pieces of bay leaves
a small pinch of white pepper powder
Wash the chicken and cut into bite-size. Cut the potatoes, chilli pepper into small pieces about bite-size. Slice the ginger, onion & crush the garlic.
Heat 2-3tbsp of oil in a wok with low heat and add sugar in. When Sugar is getting melted. Add the chicken to stir fry quickly till the chicken meat tight and dried. Add the Sichuan peppercorn, dried chilli. star aniseed, cinnamon, bay leaves, garlic, ginger, onion to fry till fragrance.
Put Sichuan chilli bean paste, light soy, dark soy, cooking wine and mix well. Add water/ stock to boil and cover it and simmer it for about 3 min. and then mix the potatoes well in, (make sure all the potato and chicken will be merged in the water/stock) check-in between and stir a bit in while the liquid is reducing.
Get a fork to check the potato, if it could get through easily. They are cooked and add the bell pepper to fry about another 3 minutes till the liquid thicken up. Give a taste and adjust the flavour for saltiness. Serve with noodles, rice or bread.
- Chicken can be substituted by assorted mushrooms and tofu.
- Sichuan chilli bean pastes can be substituted by tomato paste or fresh tomatoes.
- Pixian chilli bean paste 郫县豆瓣酱 Pí xiàn dòubàn jiàng
- Light soy sauce 生抽 Shēng chōu
- Cooking wine 料酒 Liàojiǔ
- Vegetable oil 植物油 zhíwùyóu
- Salt 盐 Yán
- Sugar 糖 Táng
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