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Drunken Chicken: Shaoxing Wine Marinated Chicken

Drunken Chicken is a succulent and aromatic dish that is a staple in Zhejiang cuisine, originating from the region surrounding the city of Shaoxing, which is famous for its rice wine. This dish is a celebration of simplicity and flavor, traditionally made by marinating poached chicken in Shaoxing wine, which results in a tender and flavorful meat with a distinct, slightly alcoholic aroma. Drunken Chicken is often served cold, making it a refreshing appetizer or a palate-pleasing addition to a meal, especially during warmer months. It showcases the delicate art of Chinese cooking, where the infusion of wine elevates the chicken to a luxurious level of taste.

Drunken Chicken: Shaoxing Wine Marinated Chicken

Ingredients for Drunken Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken (about 3-4 pounds)
  • 6 cups of water, or enough to cover the chicken
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 2 green onions, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 cups of Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 star anise (optional)

Cooking Steps for Drunken Chicken

  • Place the chicken in a large pot with water, ensuring it is completely submerged. Add the ginger slices, green onions, and salt.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the chicken for about 30-40 minutes, or until it is fully cooked through.
  • Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pot and place it in ice-cold water to cool down quickly. This process will help tighten the skin.
  • While the chicken is cooling, prepare the marinade by combining Shaoxing wine, chicken stock, sugar, and star anise in a large bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • After the chicken has cooled, discard the ice water and carefully remove the skin from the chicken. Debone the chicken and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  • Place the chicken pieces in a deep dish and pour the wine marinade over them, making sure the chicken is fully submerged.
  • Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to infuse.
  • Serve the chicken cold, garnished with additional green onions or cilantro if desired.

In conclusion, Drunken Chicken is a delectable dish that perfectly encapsulates the essence of Shaoxing wine’s rich and aromatic flavor. When preparing this dish, selecting a fresh, high-quality chicken is key to achieving the desired tenderness and taste. The use of authentic Shaoxing wine, rather than a substitute, will impart the characteristic flavor that is central to this dish. The balance between the savory chicken and the sweet and fragrant wine marinade is what makes Drunken Chicken a delightful experience. It is a dish that offers both the comfort of poached chicken and the sophistication of wine-infused cuisine, making it a favorite for both casual dining and special occasions.

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