Chinese Herbal Paper Wrapped Chicken 纸包鸡 (Zi Bao Ji)

Paper Wrapped Chicken is a dish much loved by the Chinese. This method of cooking is a sure way to ensure the meat is moist and beautifully tender. There are many different styles and ingredients. Today, I have chosen to use Chinese Herbs or Chinese Tonics, these are often used to nourish the body. The most well known ingredient is probably Dang Gui 當歸 (Angelica Root). I love the smell of this, even before cooking. Dang Gui is believed to enrich blood, promote blood circulation and modulate the immune system (great whilst we are all trying to improve our body’s immunity in this pandemic). Dang Gui is also great for women’s health. I have also added Dang Shen 党参 (Codonopsis Root), Huai Shan 淮山 (Chinese Yam) and Goji Berries. You can add Dried Red Dates, Ren Sheng 人参 (Chinese Ginseng) – which is different from Korean Ginseng (高麗參). If you are not an expert in Chinese Herbs, do be careful of mixing as certain herbs can counteract, so unless you know them well, stick to the common ones or go into a Chinese Herbal Shop (in Chinatown) to get the right mix.

Best served with Jasmine Rice

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 whole Free Range or Organic Chicken
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 x 2cm ginger (Julienne)
  • Sesame Oil
  • Spring Onions x 4 (Julienne)
  • 4 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 200ml water
  • 3 tsp corn flour
  • 1-2 tbsp liquor (Brandy or Benedictine DOM)
  • 4-5 slices of Dang Gui 當歸
  • 6-8 Dang Shen 党参
  • 3-4 Huai Shan 淮山
  • Handful Goji Berries
  • Handful Red Dates 


First, prepare the sauce. In hot pan, add a teaspoon of sesame oil. Fry until golden brown the finely chopped garlic and ginger. Add in the Dang Gui and other herbs (this helps the herbs to release their herby goodness).

Now, add the sauces – dark soy and oyster sauce, followed by the water.

Pre mix the corn flour with water (1:2) to make a corn flour starch (to thicken the sauce) and add this into the pan.

Chinese Herbal Sauce

Add the liquor of choice. I love Benedictine DOM, you can use Brandy or Chinese Cooking Wine. Take the pan off the hob and let it cool.

Adding Benedictine DOM

Place the chicken on a long greaseproof paper, so it is long enough to wrap the chicken. I use double wrapping, so 2 pieces of greaseproof paper.

When the sauce has cooled, use it to marinade the chicken. Stuff the Chinese herbs into the chicken’s cavity. Some of the Dang Gui pieces can also be scattered on the chicken (makes it taste better). Keep any leftover sauce (to be used later).

Marinated and ready to wrap

Wrap the chicken in the greaseproof paper. I do cheat and use a staple or two to ensure the paper is securely fastened and the yummy sauce is well contained.

Paper Wrapped Chicken ready to go in

Marinate for at least 2 hours. Keep refrigerated.

Before cooking, make sure the chicken is almost room temperature, so leave it out for about 20 minutes before cooking.

I am using the oven at 180C for approximately 1.5 hours (please check the chicken’s weight to ensure it is cooked thoroughly)! If you have a Green Egg or barbecue, this is perfect for it.

Let the chicken cool for at least 10 minutes before opening. Add some spring onions and leftover sauce and serve with Jasmine Rice. I hope you will enjoy my version of 纸包鸡 Chinese Herbal Paper Wrapped Chicken. 请享用!

Ready to serve, my 纸包鸡
纸包鸡 – up close
Cutting into the tender 纸包鸡
Amazingly nutritious and delicious herbal sauce
Let’s eat!
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