How To Make Drunken Chicken

How To Make Drunken Chicken

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If you think that there’s nothing that says “home for the holidays” more than cooking with alcohol, then drunken chicken is the recipe for you. Bathed in fragrant Shaoxing rice wine, drunken chicken is sure to warm your palate at the beginning of any Chinese banquet meal.

Drunken chicken is wonderfully easy to make. You essential prepare half of a whole white cut chicken, then marinate the meat overnight in a mixture of chicken broth and Shaoxing rice wine.

Consequently, an important element of preparing drunken chicken is making sure you use a good Shaoxing rice wine. I prefer the blue label version of Pagoda Brand, which you’ll commonly find at Chinese markets. It’s about $4 a bottle and has a bright, nutty flavor. Buy a bottle to make drunken chicken, then keep it in the pantry for dumpling fillings, roasted meats and the like.

Drunken Chicken

Drunken chicken is typically served cold, as an appetizer course in a banquet setting. Eaten plain, the Shaoxing rice wine produces a distinctive (and some would say acquired) taste in the chicken. It’s a bit alkaline, like licorice. As a result, the dipping sauce included below is important — its savory saltiness complements the rice wine flavor really well.

If you’re in the throws of planning a 7-9 course holiday reunion meal, drunken chicken is a great dish to make ahead of time. Boil the chicken the night before, reserve the broth for a soup or stew and then pop the meat into the fridge overnight. Then all you’ll need to do is put the chicken on a serving platter before bringing it to the table.

Here’s how to make drunken chicken, step-by-step. The detailed tutorial with pictures and directions is at the bottom of the page.

Your turn! What tips can you share from your family’s recipe? Want to ask a question before you start cooking? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!


Drunken Chicken Recipe

Makes: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 25 Minutes | Cook Time: 35 Minutes, Plus Overnight Chilling
Drunken Chicken

Ingredients

Chicken:
2 teaspoons salt
2 green onions, sliced into sections
3 slices fresh ginger
1 star anise pod
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 fresh chicken
1 cup reserved chicken stock
1 cup Shaoxing rice wine
cilantro to garnish

Dipping Sauce:
1 inch fresh ginger
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup reserved chicken stock

Directions

1. Generously salt the chicken’s exterior and body cavity. Rub well and set aside.

2. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add the green onions, ginger, star anise and sesame oil. Immerse the chicken in the boiling water, breast side up. Cover and boil for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and steep in the pot for another 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and soak in an ice water bath for 15 minutes, to stop the cooking process. Finally, drain thoroughly and set aside to rest, while straining and reserving the stock.

3. Slice the chicken into thin pieces and pack them, skin sides facing down, into a deep dish in 2-3 layers. Combine the rice wine and reserved chicken stock in a small bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture over the chicken pieces, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

4. Prepare the dipping sauce by first peeling and grating the ginger, then combining it with the other ingredients and mixing well. Transfer to individual serving bowls for everyone at the table to help themselves.

5. When dinner time arrives, place a serving platter over the refrigerated dish and carefully invert the chicken onto the serving platter, keeping it neatly layered. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve cold with the dipping sauce on the side.


Step-By-Step Tutorial

Drunken Chicken

Start by gathering your ingredients. You’ll use ginger, green onions, star anise and sesame oil to boil the chicken, then a combination of Shaoxing rice wine and reserved chicken broth to marinate the meat overnight.

Drunken Chicken

Salt the chicken and set it aside, then bring the water to a boil and add the ginger, green onions, star anise and sesame oil.

Drunken Chicken

Place the chicken in the boiling water, breast side up.

Drunken Chicken

Cover and boil for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and steep in the pot for another 20 minutes.

Drunken Chicken

Remove the chicken and soak in an ice water bath for 15 minutes, to stop the cooking process. Drain the chicken thoroughly and set aside to rest, while straining and reserving the stock.

Drunken Chicken

Slice the chicken into thin pieces with a Chinese kitchen cleaver.

Drunken Chicken

Combine the rice wine and reserved chicken stock in a small bowl and mix well.

Drunken Chicken

Pack the chicken slices, skin sides facing down, into a deep dish in 2-3 layers. Pour the rice wine and chicken stock mixture over the chicken pieces, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Drunken Chicken

Prepare the dipping sauce by first peeling and grating the ginger, then combining it with the other ingredients and mixing well. Transfer to individual serving bowls for everyone at the table to help themselves.

Drunken Chicken

When dinner time arrives, place a serving platter over the refrigerated dish and carefully invert the chicken onto the serving platter, keeping it neatly layered. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve cold with the dipping sauce on the side.

HT: Recipe adapted from Chinese Feasts & Festivals: A Cookbook.

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