Bonus round: Simple chicken ginger noodle soup at the end.
Drunken chicken is one of the fancy dishes that surprised me with the ease of making. It’s usually served as a cold appetizer dish in Chinese restaurants. It’s made with a special spiced rice wine from the XiaoHsing area of China. It’s made With very few ingredients and the ricewine is the star of the dish so don’t be shy with it!
The recipe is straight forward. Start with de-boning three (or however many you like) chicken thighs or use boneless for convenience. I love using the leftover chicken bones for a simple chicken soup later so I always de-bone it. The key is to try to water-proof the chicken in an aluminum foil pouch so it poaches slowly and remains tender. I rub each thigh with a splash of rice wine, some salt and roll each into a log shape. Then I wrap them individually in aluminum foil and twist tie the ends tightly. Kind of like a giant candy.
The chicken is then slow poached and soaked in a rice wine bath overnight until they become drunk and delicious.
Bonus round: Simple chicken ginger noodle soup! I simply put the chicken bones with a few slices of ginger and a pinch of salt into a pot with water that just drowns the bones. Boil on low for 30 minutes or until reduced by about half. Voila – fragrant ginger chicken soup perfect with some noodles and sliced drunken chicken. Probably one of my favorite simple meals.
Drunken Chicken (紹興醉雞)
Makes 4 servings as appetizer, serve cold or warm
- 3 De-boned chicken thighs with skin on
- 1 cup of XiaoHsing rice wine (紹興酒)*
- Pinch of salt
- Optional: 5 to 10 Goji berry (枸杞)
*I use a 1:1 ratio between rice wine and water to marinate the chicken, but it can be easily adjusted for stronger or weaker wine content.
- Rub each thigh with a splash of rice wine, some salt and roll each into a log shape with the chicken skin facing outwards.
- Place each thigh individually on a large sheet of aluminum foil and wrap them each in aluminum foil and twist tie the ends tightly. Kind of like a giant candy.
- Boil the chicken foil pouches in low simmer water for 25 minutes then turn off the heat and let the chicken soak in the hot water for 10 minutes.
- Run the chicken foil wraps under cold water for a few minutes. Then carefully unwrap the chicken and preserv all the chicken juices in the wrap.
- Place all the chicken thighs, juices, and Goji berry (if using) into a water-tight container. Add 3/4 cup XiaoHsing rice wine and 3/4 cup water to the chicken. This should just submerge the chicken. If not, add more water and rice wine in a 1:1 ratio.
- Place container in the refrigerator overnight. This step is important!
- Next day, slice and enjoy!
The left over chicken-wine-sauce can be added to pretty much any dish for a delicious flavor boost!