The secret of this popular dish lies in the marinade, which, when cooking, caramelizes the chicken and other ingredients, joining them together. When wrapping the chicken, it is customary to add a few other ingredients as a type of garnish. Cilantro, Chinese dried mushrooms, Chinese sausages (you can substitute smoked ham), and/or green onions are all used.
When it comes time to cook, the garnish and chicken pieces are wrapped envelope style in square packets and (normally) deep-fried. Baking is another option; see instructions in the final step. Cooking time is normally about three to four minutes - long enough for the chicken to cook through but not for the paper to blacken. (This is for five to six inch squares - the cooking time will be longer if you are working with a recipe that calls for larger packets.) Stir the pieces lightly with chopsticks a few times while deep-frying. Drain the cooked chicken packets on paper towels.
This recipe can be prepared ahead up to the deep-frying or baking stage, then frozen. Time does not include 1 hour marination. Recipe courtesy Rhonda Parkinson.