Tuesday, January 31, 2012

For Alcohol Week, Getting Poultry Plastered AKA Drunken Chicken.


Drunken chicken has a great chew and intriguing flavor.

It’s week 5 of 52 Weeks of cooking, and the theme is alcohol! Awesome! Hard to believe it is 5 weeks already, that means that the year is almost a tenth of the way over. This challenge makes the year feel like it’s going pretty fast…

Now, I am no stranger to alcohol, and no stranger to cooking with alcohol either; beer marinades, wine reductions, beer batters, are all excellent ways to make use of alcohol to enhance the taste of food.

But one obvious recipe that I never got around to making was Drunken Chicken. At the heart of it, it is simply chicken prepared gently by steaming or poaching, and then allowed to marinate after cooking in a mixture of stock and rice wine.

This strikes me as a pretty good warm weather food given that it is served chilled, and the sweetness and chewiness of the dish is very nice as well. I’ve added some my own adjustments to correct the original recipe a bit.

As always, full recipe at the end.


The ingredients are fairly straightforward, salt, pepper, ginger, green onion, Shaoxing rice wine, sugar (not jelly beans), and chicken.


I’d like to draw special attention to the green onions! These actually were grown from the lower parts of the green onions that have been put into soil in the back yard. They grew out even more onion. And doubled the bulb’s bulk too! A handy tip for those of you thrifty types out there.


You’ll want to clean them up a bit of course. We’ll only be using the white parts.


Before getting to anything else, there’s a bit of waiting time after the first step, so without adieu, mix some salt and pepper together.


And marinate your chicken. Set this aside for an hour.


While you’ve got this going, slice up some ginger and the green onions.


Once an hour has passed, time to start the cooking in earnest.

Bring enough water to cover the chicken to a boil, about three cups for a pound and a half.


Add the green onion and ginger, then bring to a boil.


Add the chicken, bring back to a boil, then lower to a simmer.


Simmer for fifteen minutes, then cover and turn off heat.


Let rest until the stock (poaching liquid) cools.


Once cool, shock the chicken in ice water.


Now mix up a one to one ratio of rice wine to stock.


And mix in some sugar.


Cut up the chicken pieces or make some deep cuts into them to help with the marinating.


If you don’t have enough stock/rice wine mixture…


Cover with more stock! I suppose you could add more 1:1 ratio of stock and rice wine, but after trying this out I’d lean more towards the stock side. Let this all marinate overnight.


Now serve chilled!


And maybe garnish with the greens if you still have them for an attractive look.

The chicken had a great texture, but was a little bitter, as I think the original recipe asked for a bit too much rice wine, and I’ve adjusted the recipe below to use more stock. I’ve also adjusted the cooking time a bit so that there’s less pink in the chicken. I have no problem with it but I know how other folks are.

Please enjoy!


Shanghai Drunken Chicken (poached style) adapted and modified from RasaMalaysia:


1.5 lbs. chicken, dark meat preferably
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper (white and/or black)
0.25 oz. ginger (about a half inch piece), thinly sliced
2-3 green onions, white parts only, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp. white sugar
Ice cubes and water


Mix the salt and pepper and rub the chicken pieces with it. Let the seasoned chicken sit for an hour.

Bring 3 cups of water along with green onion pieces and ginger slices to a boil in a Dutch oven or large pot, then add green onion and ginger slices.

Once water is boiling, add chicken (adding more water if chicken is not covered) and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat to a low simmer and continue cooking for 12 minutes.

For whole chicken lift the chicken out of the water and pour out stock from cavity three times during cooking.

For chicken pieces stir the pot once during cooking.

After 12 minutes, turn off heat, cover pot and let the chicken rest in the cooking liquid until it cools to room temperature.

Mix up enough ice and water to hold chicken pieces.

Shock the chicken in ice cold water for 2 minutes.

After cooking, cut the chicken into serving size or score with a knife.

Put chicken pieces into a large container and cover with a mixture of a half cup of stock with the rice wine and sugar. Taste this marinade, season with salt if necessary, and add more stock if you feel it will be too bitter.

Pour marinade over the chicken pieces and let this sit in the fridge at least overnight before serving. Add more stock to cover chicken if necessary (I err on the side of more stock than wine).

Serve chicken cold and garnish with pieces of green onion.


  1. Without further ado, as in 'much ado about nothing'.
    The chicken looks fantastic!