Chapter 159: Roast Beggar’s Chicken
With a heavy heart, Parker brought the pearl oyster mushrooms out, then came back into the house with a drenched short-winged bird.
“Qingqing, give me a hand. This bird refuses to eat it.” Parker placed the bowl on the floor and grabbed the short-winged bird’s neck, then pried open its beak by force.
Bai Qingqing quietly thought that was cruel, but still, she instantly walked over. She picked up a pearl oyster mushroom and blew upon it, then stuffed it into the short-winged bird’s throat.
The short-winged bird cried pitifully for a long while.
The two of them took a long time before they managed to get the bird to eat a few slices of those mushrooms. Just then, Curtis, who was away handling the food, had finally returned.
Upon seeing Curtis come back with the short-winged birds, she thought to herself “oh no.” Curtis had been gone for so long, yet the short-winged bird he brought back was still covered with fine hairs. Speaking of which, how did one go about plucking a chicken’s feathers?
Please forgive a kitchen newbie for her ignorance. Although Bai Qingqing had seen her mother whip up a chicken dish many times, the chicken was always slaughtered when it was bought from the market, so there was no need for her to slaughter the chicken herself.
Curtis had also plucked the feathers off this short-winged bird, but he only removed the thick and long feathers. There were still many fine hairs that couldn’t be removed. Bai Qingqing tried plucking for a bit and ended up nearly tearing the bird’s skin. Still, the fine hairs wouldn’t come off. She eventually gave up.
She wouldn’t dare to eat steamboat made using such a bird. Remove the bird’s skin? But her favorite part of the chicken was the chewy chicken’s skin. What flavor would there be if the skin was removed?
Curtis glanced at the stone pot and estimated that the rice was cooked by now. Thus, he said to Bai Qingqing, “If you don’t want to eat it, then don’t. I’ll cook other foods for you. The rice is already cooked.”
Parker also chimed in. “If it can’t be cooked, it can still be barbecued. Let’s roast the bird.”
Upon hearing Parker’s words, Bai Qingqing’s eyes lit up. She excitedly patted Parker on his shoulder. “You’re so smart. Even if we can’t cook it, there are other ways of eating it.”
Parker shook his tail in a smug manner. “I’ll go roast it right away.”
“No no no, help me dig some wet mud from the riverside,” Bai Qingqing said.
Parker looked at the river outside the house and asked, perplexed, “Why do you need mud? Do you apes… eat mud?”
Bai Qingqing couldn’t hold back a smile with her lips pursed. “No, I’m just using it. Help me dig a goop of clean mud. Don’t get the watery mud.”
“Alright.” Parker went out as he was told. The skirt around his waist was wet again. Bai Qingqing wanted to stop him, but it was too late.
While Parker was gone, Bai Qingqing smeared condiments and salt on the bird’s stomach. As the exterior of the bird was covered with fine hairs, she didn’t add any condiments to that. Next, she poured the bamboo rice into the stone bowl and mixed in some seasonings, before cracking an egg into it. After mixing evenly, she filled the bird’s stomach with the mixture.
Curtis smiled slightly and stroked Bai Qingqing’s head indulgently. “Playful.”
Bai Qingqing looked up at Curtis defiantly and said in a serious manner, “I’m cooking very seriously.”
Curtis stroked Bai Qingqing’s head again.
Parker came back with the mud. Bai Qingqing excitedly grabbed a handful of mud and smeared it on the bird’s body.
“Qingqing, don’t!” Parker’s hands were filled with mud, so he couldn’t stop her. Looking at the food that had now turned filthy, he sighed. “Aren’t you most afraid of filth?”
“Nothing to be afraid of. There are hairs on the outside.” Bai Qingqing smeared another goop of mud on the puffed-up stomach of the bird as she spoke. Shortly after, a bird was enveloped in the mud.
That’s right, Bai Qingqing was making a dish called Beggar’s Chicken.
Although she had never made it before, she had seen it on the television. When the chief of the Beggars’ Sect made it, he didn’t remove the hairs either and simply smeared it with mud before roasting it. It turned out delicious nonetheless.
Surely her preparation wasn’t inferior to that of a beggar? It wouldn’t turn out too terrible, right? Even if she failed, so long as the bird’s stomach wasn’t made filthy, the rice inside would now have the aroma of meat, so it was bound to taste yummy.
Bai Qingqing buried the mud-covered bird firmly under the firewood. As the pearl oyster mushrooms couldn’t be left for too long, Bai Qingqing asked Parker to pour clear water into the stone pot, to make a pot of soup from the eggs, mushroom, and fungus. Finally, she stir-fried the eggs with some spinach.