Oh, drunken chicken, how I love thee! Chinese drunken chicken, that is.
If you’ve never heard of Drunken Chicken, it’s a dish of chicken that’s been soaked in Shaoxing wine—an ingredient that’s been used on this blog many, many times. It’s a contributing ingredient to so many Chinese dishes.
Chinese drunken Chicken is usually and appetizer eaten cold or at room temperature and most common among Shanghai Cuisine. It’s delicate in flavor and taste with the Shaoxing wine providing the main flavor so it is important to get a good quality Shaoxing wine for this Chinese Drunken chicken recipe.
Another cold appetizer that you should try is is Drool worthy Chicken or Kou Shui Ji which is as one of thewoksoflife clan’s favorites.
Shaoxing (绍兴) is a city in Zhejiang province with over 2500 years of history and a very famous rice wine. Shaoxing wine really refines and enriches the flavor of many dishes, especially when preparing meats like chicken. Drunken Chicken is a great representation of Shaoxing wine’s true essence.
Usually, this Drunken Chicken recipe calls for a few interesting ingredients, like angelica root, red dates, and wolfberries (aka goji berries). These all have certain medicinal qualities, and I decided to leave them out–except for the goji berries, which are a super food that’s much easier to find these days.
Okay, here we go. You’ll need:
Drunken Chicken: Recipe Instructions
Stage 1: Preparing the Chicken & Stock
Debone the chicken leg quarters, keeping the skin on. Keep the bones to make a homemade stock, which you’ll be using in this recipe. You might be able to ask your butcher to help you with this step!
In a small pot, add your reserved chicken bones, 2 ½ cups water, and ginger. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for at least 1 hour (or longer). We’ll need 1 ½ cups of chicken broth for the recipe. You can also eliminate this step if you want to use store-bought chicken stock.
Rinse off your de-boned chicken and pat thoroughly dry with a paper towel. Grab 2 pieces of aluminum foil, each about 12” long. Lay each piece of chicken onto a piece of foil, and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt.
Roll up the chicken lengthwise…
And wrap up the chicken in the foil, twisting both sides to form a candy-like bundle.
Steam the chicken in the foil over high heat for 20 minutes, covered. Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the steamer for another 5 minutes with the lid tightly closed.
Transfer the foil wrapped chicken to an ice bath, and let it sit there for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is completely cool. This step ensures that the juices remain locked in and improves the chicken’s overall texture.
For Stage 2: The Brine
Now it’s time to make the brine. In a non-reactive container (I used a glass loaf pan. Anything narrow and deep, where the chicken can remain submerged, will work), add the 1 ½ cups Chicken broth, 1 ½ cups Shaoxing huadiao wine, sugar, salt, and goji berries.
Once the chicken is cool, unwrap the chicken and place in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Slice and serve cold or at room temperature. This Chinese drunken chicken dish is usually served as a cold appetizer. Remember to store the chicken in the brine until serving and use clean utensil whenever coming contact with the brine and chicken. Consume the chicken within 3 days.
Note: We did this dish with equal parts wine and broth. You can change the ratio according to your own tastes, whether you like a stronger or lighter wine taste. But beware…upping the ratio of wine can make the chicken bitter, so proceed with caution.