Drunken chicken

Drunken chicken

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

This elegant dish from Zhejiang makes a feature of the region’s wonderful shaoxing wine. There are many grades and types of this and it’s best to use a good-quality drinking one here (experts say to use hua diao, a mellow, yellow, smooth example). Prepare the chicken the day before so it can steep overnight in all that luscious alcohol.


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 x 1.6kg chicken
5 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely sliced
4 spring onions, white part only
250ml shaoxing table wine
1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Combine the sea salt and pepper in a small bowl, rub the mixture all over the chicken, then cover the chicken and place in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Bring 3 litres water to the boil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Add the ginger, spring onions and chicken, making sure the chicken is totally covered in the water (invert a plate over the chicken to keep it submerged). Return to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 20 minutes. Cover the pan, remove it from the heat and set aside until the chicken cools to room temperature.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan, reserving the stock. Using a cleaver, cut the chicken through the bone into neat 2 cm pieces. Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl.
  4. Combine 250 ml of the reserved stock (use the remaining stock for other purposes), the wine and sugar in a bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Pour the stock mixture over the chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve the chicken in the liquid at room temperature.
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