Coffin Bread, what a name for a food. Well do you know why is it named like such?
Well the real deal apparently looks like a coffin.
So what is it?
Coffin Bread or Guancai Ban is a type of bread bowl where coffin shaped bread is deep fried then filled with a starchy soup of seafood, vegetables and chicken which most probably was inspired by the Western chowder. A dish originated in Tainan which was created by Hsu Ji during the 1940s in a food and entertainment filled market called “Shakaliba” . The shape and the name led to its popularity hence since its invention different vendors copied the dish and even brought it outside of Tainan.
Basically this dish is a chowder but instead of serving it in bread bowls it uses “Pain de Mie” which is basically a loaf of bread. Pain de Mie is then sliced thickly roughly at least 4 to 5 cm thick to allow enough depth of cavity for the chowder to be served on. This bread is then deep fried until crispy. For best results the bread used are the stale ones as the freshly baked are still moist for deep frying.
For our recipe I did not make my own bread, I am a very lazy when it comes to baking but if you want to make your own one here is a good recipe for “Pain de Mie” otherwise I suggest you to buy an uncut white sliced bread. You will not find this in a supermarket, at least not from where I live so I have to pay a visit to a proper bakery and request for an uncut one, I got mine from Bakers Delight.
Another adjustment I made to the recipe was not deep frying it as it can become really oily and would waste a lot of oil so I instead baked it but brushed butter all over the place to give it a good flavour. You can fill this with any chowder you like but I am sticking with a similar chowder used in this Taiwanese dish.
- 1 unsliced stale white loaf
- butter, melted
- 1 small chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 12-15 pcs shrimps, shelled and deveined
- 2 pcs medium sized squid, sliced
- 1 cup straw mushrooms, cut in half
- ½ cup corn kernels
- ⅓ cup cubed carrots
- ⅓ cup peas
- 1 stalks celery, sliced
- 2 pcs streaky bacon, finely chopped
- 50 g butter
- ½ cup cream
- 500 ml seafood stock
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- freshly ground black pepper
- Slice your bread into 5 cm thick pieces
- Brush butter on all the sides and bake in a 180C preheated oven until golden crispy. I did not take notice of the time and just have a look as it browns, so I estimate it around to be 10-15 minutes.
- Remove bread from oven then let it cool.
- Once it cools down cut a square opening on top, this will be your cover then dig out some bread inside keeping bottom part. Set it aside.
- In a pot add the bacon and a bit of oil, cook until golden brown then remove and set bacon aside.
- Add the chicken, cook for 3 minutes, remove and set chicken aside.
- Add and sauté the onions and celery.
- Gently add the flour then mix it until it form a roux.
- Pour the stock slowly into the roux and mix well until free of lumps.
- Add chicken, carrots, corn and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add peas, shrimps, squid and cream, bring to a boil and simmer for additional 4-5 minutes or until cooked.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Fill the bread with the chowder then serve.