Hollow bread chicken

Hollow bread chicken

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

This is based on a daydream about how plants in the tropics seem to run amok when you turn your back on them. The idea of hollow bread, kong xin bing in Chinese, suggests forgotten items to me: things hidden away in the pockets of memory (but what excitement when they’re found again). Salted and pickled foods have the suggestion of having been forgotten or left to their own devices, the result being that they are transformed at the end of the process.

For the hollow bread


Quantity Ingredient
60ml peanut oil
85g strong flour
1 teaspoon salt
260g plain flour
180ml boiling water, cooled with 2 tablespoons cold water

For the green chilli, coriander and chilli relish

Quantity Ingredient
50ml extra virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled
4 long mildly hot green chillies, deseeded and chopped
100g coriander leaves
2cm piece of young ginger, peeled and finely grated

For the chicken filling

Quantity Ingredient
2 chicken breasts, salted and steamed
85g pickled mustard greens, stems cut into 1 cm dice, leaves finely chopped
2 salted duck eggs, placed in a pan of cold water, brought up to boil, boiled for 5 minutes, peeled and finely chopped
2 small cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice


  1. Make the hollow bread:
  2. Make a laminating paste first. Heat the oil in a saucepan to 80°C. Add the strong flour and half the salt and stir to form a paste. If it appears to be too dry, add more oil, cautiously. Cook the paste for about 5 minutes. It should have a dried-out appearance, a nutty smell and be of a consistency that drops off the spoon in splodges. Take off the heat and set aside.
  3. Make up the dough next. Mix the plain flour and remaining salt in a bowl. Gradually mix the water into the flour. Knead to a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour or so. Lightly grease the work bench with oil (to stop the dough sticking) and roll out the dough to 42 x 10 cm. Spread 5 tablespoons of the laminating paste along the length of the dough, leaving a margin of 5 cm on all sides. Store any leftover paste in the freezer for another time.
  4. Bring the edges together along the length of the dough and pinch together. Pinch the edges on the shorter ends as well. Cut the roll into 12 pieces. With a cut side facing you with the piece flat on the bench facing upwards, roll into a 15 x 12 cm rectangle. The width will be slightly expanded from the original size. Turn the dough through 90 degrees. Fold into thirds by folding the left third into the centre then the right third over the left. Roll out again to a 20 cm square with the open seam facing you. Roll up the dough into a cylinder and rest with the seam side down to prevent unfurling while you roll the remaining pieces. Cover with plastic wrap, then a tea towel and leave for 2–3 hours. Roll each cylinder into a 15 x 8 cm rectangle. Leave, covered, for at least 1 hour prior to cooking.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease two or three baking trays. Bake the breads for about 15 minutes until golden and puffed. Cool on cake racks.
  6. Make the relish:
  7. Heat the oil in a saucepan to 60°C. Add the garlic and cook slowly for 30 minutes. Transfer the garlic to a blender or food processor and add the chillies, coriander leaves and ginger. Grind to a paste, gradually adding the flavoured oil. Season with salt and white pepper.
  8. Fill the breads:
  9. Shred the chicken breasts roughly. Combine with the mustard greens, salted duck egg and cucumber and fold in 3 tablespoons of the relish. Cut the top off each bread or split it through the centre. Fill with the chicken mixture. Have extra relish available on the side.
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