How to make Chinese food Drunken Chicken? we’ll show you how to make a classic from the Jiangnan region, Zuiji, or Drunken Chicken.
At its core, Zuiji is cooked chicken that’s soaked and chilled overnight in a boozy brine, but there are a couple different approaches
Probably the most classic is to poach a freshly-killed whole chicken and serve it cleaved it across the bone.
But because we’ve already covered a few poached bone-in chicken dishes, instead we’ll show you another popular method: deboning some chicken, rolling it up, and steaming it.
How To Make Chinese Food Drunken Chicken?
Basically just as tasty, it’s a bit more replicable, and undeniably easy to love.
So to get started with Drunken Chicken, you’ll need wine.
Now, there are two Chinese techniques that are often translated as ‘drunken’ in English: “Zao” and “Zui”.
Zao uses this stuff, Zaolu pickle sauce, which’s made by infusing rice wine lees into a spiced Shaoxing wine mixture.
If you ever happen to run into a bottle of this stuff, buy it – it’s awesome and basically requires no prep.
Zui, meanwhile, makes a brine with straight-up Shaoxing as a base it’s a bit more common with chicken and makes for fewer sourcing headaches, so that’s what we’ll be making today.
So to get started with that brine, first add three cups of water to a saucepan, then go in with some spices.
You’ll definitely want to add in two-star anise, one cinnamon stick, about fifteen whole cloves, and one teaspoon of fennel seed.
Then optionally add in three grams of sand ginger and you could swap for dried galangal or just skip it and also a heavily recommended five grams of goji berries.
Now get that up to a boil, then down to a simmer, and over low heat let it reduce by roughly one third, so uncovered for about
Now, quick aside that we’ve seen some recipes call for stock here in place of water, you could obviously go that route too, you’d
just have to use something nice like Superior stock or else the brine turn overly gelatinous.
But regardless, now add one cup of Shaoxing wine, or about half of a bottle.
For the wine, try to use something decently tasty like a Huadiao Shaoxing wine if at all possible then, get it back up to a boil
to cook out a touch of the raw alcohol taste, then down to a simmer and season.
So here we added two tablespoons of salt, but if you happen to live somewhere with stupid alcohol laws, salted Shaoxing might be your only option.
Most abroad seem to be 1.5%, so in that case cut the salt in half.
Also add in one tablespoon of sugar and two teaspoons of MSG, optionally swapping the MSG for a tablespoon of fish sauce if you’re
in the mood.
Once those are dissolved, shut off the heat, let that come down to room temperature, then toss in the fridge.
Now for the chicken.
Most traditional for this dish would be to debone a whole chicken, and I promise one day we’ll walk that mile but for now
I hope you’ll forgive us for using two large legs instead.
While neither I nor Steph is exactly Jacque Pepin when it comes to deboning, to do this first slice down to get to the thigh bone,
then scrape the meat off.
Now pull it up, and cut that out.
Then, slice down on both sides of the leg bone, cut along the bottom, slice it off at the ankle, and finally remove it from the
Cut out any excess fat or cartilage, and you’ve got yourself a deboned leg.
Now, take the back of a knife and pound the chicken flat for about one minute.
Then, starting from the narrower drumstick side, with the skin facing down tightly roll the chicken up a bit in the same way that
you would sushi.
Now with that rolled, get a bit of gauze or cheesecloth, and cut up a few pieces of twine.
Place the chicken roll on the cloth, and roll it up tightly again.
When rolling some of the meat might’ve squeezed out a bit, so just tuck that in, twist, and tie it off.
Now brief aside that in a lot of kitchens nowadays, people use aluminum foil in place of cloth and that’s totally fine,
but the cloth has its advantages.
Because it can breathe, it lets a lot of the grease render off, which’s what we want for a light refreshing cold dish like this.
But either way, just tie up the center, and we are ready to steam our chicken rolls.
So to steam, to some rapidly boiling water first add in a solid glug of Shaoxing wine, and about an inch of sliced ginger.
Then nestle in a steaming rack, toss on the chicken rolls, cover, and let those steam for 15 minutes.
After that time, shut off the heat and let it sit inside for another five minutes.
Then, open up your steamer, take out the chicken rolls, and ideally give those a quick toss in an ice bath.
Now once those are cool, add in your now chilled brine.
Take out the goji berries and any large spices you feel like then cover, and let that sit in the fridge overnight.
Next day now, take out your chicken roll together with a few goji berries to serve.
Slice off the twine, unwrap and starting from the center carefully slice your chicken roll into about half-inch pieces.
Now transfer those to a plate, toss on a few of the goji berries to make everything all pretty, and spoon a good bit of the brine
all over everything.
And with that, you’ve got yourself some drunken chicken, a nice refreshing dish to kick off summer.
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