Salt Poached Chicken (Ga U Muoi)

Salt-Poached Chicken (Vietnamese: gà ủ muối) is an interesting dish applying the poaching cooking technique. By slowly poaching at a low temperature, the chicken meat can retain its juiciness while absorbing the aroma from herbs and salt.

In 2023, Salt-Poached Chicken became a trendy dish in Vietnam. It’s much more intriguing than boiled chicken, which is overly common across the country. Sichuan pepper, salt, shallot, onion, cinnamon, etc. contribute to the taste and flavor, and poaching cooking technique helps keeping the best quality of the meat. The skin remains crunchy and chewy, the chicken meat is exceptionally tender and juicy, with an attractive pinkish color.

salt poached chicken ga u muoi

Poaching Cooking Technique

When you cook your food slowly using moist-heat, at a low temperature of 60-80°C (140-176°F), it’s called poaching. Poaching is a cooking technique that heats food by submerging it in a liquid such as water, wine, milk, butter, or oil for a long time and at a low heat that prevents the liquid from reaching a boil.

To make salt-poached chicken, we’ll employ the poaching technique. After seasoning the chicken with salt and Sichuan pepper, it will be poached in a large pot containing water and herbs. The duration is usually 3-4 hours.

Herbs Used in Salt Poached Chicken

The combination of herbs used in the Salt Poached Chicken recipe can vary depending on their availability, but Sichuan pepper is a must. Sichuan pepper is the soul of this dish thanks to its unique tingling sensation left on your tongue after each bite. Other herbs and spices include turmeric powder, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, shallot, white onion, bay leaf, etc. All infuse their special aroma into the poached chicken; besides, turmeric powder will bring out a bright, impressive yellow color on the chicken’s skin.

salt poached chicken ga u muoi
The yellow skin color comes from turmeric powder.

Ingredients

Here’s the ingredients list you need for Salt Poached Chicken:

  • 1 medium chicken (1-1.5kg)

For seasoning

  • 10g (1 tbsp) Sichuan pepper
  • 75g (5 tbsp) salt

Herbs and Spices for Poaching

  • 20g (0.7 oz) ginger
  • 10g (2 tsp) curcumin powder
  • 1 big white onion
  • 1 big shallot
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anises
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 2-4 dried red chilies (optional, spicy)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (optional, spicy)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 5g (1 1/2 tsp) Sichuan pepper

It would be perfect when you can collect enough herbs and spices for poaching. However, in case you lack of 1 or 2 herbs/spices, it’s still alright as long as there are Sichuan peppers.

How to Make Salt Poached Chicken

Step 1. Seasoning the chicken

  • Mix the seasoning (salt and Sichuan pepper) together. Toast them in a pan over medium heat until you smell the aroma of Sichuan pepper, and the mixture turns slightly brown.
salt poached chicken ga u muoi
  • Rinse the chicken 1-2 times. Then, evenly apply the mixture of salt and Sichuan pepper on the entire chicken, including the skin and inside. Let it rest in 10-15 minutes. While waiting, preheat the oven to 80oC (176oF), preparing for the next step.
salt poached chicken ga u muoi

Step 2. Oven-drying or sun-drying the Chicken

The purpose of sun-drying or oven-drying process is to dry the chicken skin, make it firmer, as well as to season the chicken more deeply.

  • Place the chicken in the preheated oven and let it sit 40-60 minutes under the lowest temperature of your oven, 60 oC to 80 oC (140oF to 176oF).
  • Once the skin is dry partly, remove the chicken from the oven and rinse it again to remove the seasonings.
salt poached chicken ga u muoi

Step 3. Poaching

  • Add 100ml of water to the pot (the largest one to accommodate the whole chicken) and dissolve all the herbs and spices into the water.
salt poached chicken ga u muoi
  • Put the chicken into the pot, then add water until the chicken is fully submerged.Turn on low heat and simmer the chicken under water for 2-4 hours depending on the size of the chicken. The water temperature should be between 60-70oC (140-158oF ), absolutely not higher to prevent the water from boiling.
salt poached chicken ga u muoi
  • After poaching, the chicken is totally cooked, with bright yellow skin color outside and the tender, juicy meat inside. Gently tear the meat and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce, such as pepper, salt and lime juice mixture (muối tiêu chanh), green/red chilies, salt/shrimp salt & lime juice mixture (muối ớt xanh/đỏ), and so on.
salt poached chicken ga u muoi

Some Important Notes

Tips for perfect salt poached chicken (ga u muoi) are the dried skin of the chicken, the sufficient herbs and spices, and the right poaching technique. Here are some important notes while making this dish:

  • Dry the chicken under the lowest temperature of your oven, or under the sun. Higher heat might make the skin too dry, or even cooks the chicken partly.
  • Use the right amount of each spice. Sichuan pepper is not spicy but makes our tongue numb and tingly, so don’t overuse it. The aroma of curcumin powder is also strong, you can adjust based on your preference. The list of spices and herbs are flexible for you to adjust.
  • The chicken should be fully covered under water, and the water must not be boiled. Therefore, be patient while poaching the chicken: set the stove to the lowest heat, cook in 3-4 hours, and check the pot regularly. If you have a sous vide machine at home, you can use it to save your time checking and adjusting the water temperature frequently.
salt poached chicken ga u muoi

Salt Poached Chicken (Ga U Muoi)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours

Salt-Poached Chicken (Vietnamese: gà ủ muối) is an interesting dish applying the poaching cooking technique.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium chicken (1-1.5kg)

For seasoning

  • 10g (1 tbsp) Sichuan pepper
  • 75g (5 tbsp) salt

Herbs and Spices for Poaching

  • 20g (0.7 oz) ginger
  • 10g (2 tsp) curcumin powder
  • 1 big white onion
  • 1 big shallot
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anises
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 2-4 dried red chilies (optional, spicy)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (optional, spicy)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 5g (1 1/2 tsp) Sichuan pepper

Instructions

Step 1. Seasoning the chicken

  • Mix the seasoning (salt and Sichuan pepper) together. Toast them in a pan over medium heat until you smell the aroma of Sichuan pepper, and the mixture turns slightly brown.salt poached chicken ga u muoi
  • Rinse the chicken 1-2 times. Then, evenly apply the mixture of salt and Sichuan pepper on the entire chicken, including the skin and inside. Let it rest in 10-15 minutes. While waiting, preheat the oven to 80oC (176oF), preparing for the next step.salt poached chicken ga u muoi

Step 2. Oven-drying or sun-drying the Chicken

The purpose of sun-drying or oven-drying process is to dry the chicken skin, make it firmer, as well as to season the chicken more deeply.

  • Place the chicken in the preheated oven and let it sit 40-60 minutes under the lowest temperature of your oven, 60 oC to 80 oC (140oF to 176oF).
  • Once the skin is dry partly, remove the chicken from the oven and rinse it again to remove the seasonings.salt poached chicken ga u muoi

Step 3. Poaching

  • Add 100ml of water to the pot (the largest one to accommodate the whole chicken) and dissolve all the herbs and spices into the water.salt poached chicken ga u muoi
  • Put the chicken into the pot, then add water until the chicken is fully submerged.Turn on low heat and simmer the chicken under water for 2-4 hours depending on the size of the chicken. The water temperature should be between 60-70oC (140-158oF ), absolutely not higher to prevent the water from boiling.salt poached chicken ga u muoi
  • After poaching, the chicken is totally cooked, with bright yellow skin color outside and the tender, juicy meat inside. Gently tear the meat and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce, such as pepper, salt and lime juice mixture (muối tiêu chanh), green/red chilies, salt/shrimp salt & lime juice mixture (muối ớt xanh/đỏ), and so on.salt poached chicken ga u muoisalt poached chicken ga u muoi

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 250g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 650

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