Wanted to follow up on this.
Seasoned a whole chicken with salt a couple of hours before the process.
Also, soaked the bamboo leaves in boiling water for 10-15 minutes and the wiped the dry.
Combo of rock salt and rock sugar on the bottom, then bamboo leaves, then smashed lemongrass stalks, then chicken, goji berries, and then sprinkled some shaoshing on top of the chicken. 25 minutes of heat (5# chix), then another 20 off the heat.
Results: meat was juicy, but quite firm. Had a springiness to it. Skin was anti-crispy, but I actually enjoy that slightly gelatinous texture. It was kind of taut and it had picked up the flavors of all the ingredients in the pot. Predominant flavor was the bamboo leaves. The flavor, while relatively mild, has permeated everything. Lemongrass got a bit lost here.
Notes: Chalking this up to user error, but the rock sugar caramelized, then burnt. I assume my flame was too high for too long. I hadn’t planned on using the sauce that forms at the bottom the pot, but it looked good. After tasting it, though, the burnt sugar made the sauce too acrid. Thankfully, the flavor of the burnt sugar didn’t affect the chicken. The other issue is that burnt sugar made clean up a chore. Had to boil off the crud from the bottom of the pan. Things get worse. I used an enameled Dutch oven. As flakes of the carbonized sugar were coming off, so was the enamel. The Dutch oven is a Le Crueset (gift) that I’ve been truly abusing for about a decade. So bright side is that I get to test the warranty!
All in all, I’d do this again. Obviously, there is a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’re prone to extended periods of boneheadedness like me. Next time, I’ll keep a lower flame and maybe not use an enameled pot. I also think I might use banana leaves or perhaps some kaffir like leaves.
The results are really tasty and quite interesting.