Friday, March 11, 2011

Red Rice Wine Chicken (红糟鸡)

For 30 years in my life, I never like this red rice wine chicken.  The first time I tried this dish, I was still a teenager.  My aunt gave us a bottle of of her homemade red rice wine (红糟) and my mum used it to cook with chicken.  None of us like it as the dish was very sour and the taste to us ... just weird.  Since then, my mum did not cook it again till many years later (it must have been a disappointing dish to my mum, since she is really a great cook).

I don't think I would ever try it again, if not for my mother-in-law, who cooked this dish for me during my confinement.  Initially, I hesitated when my MIL served this dish (oh no... that red thing chicken again, after so many years!).  But again, it is rather impolite not to eat it when my MIL cooked it especially for me.  So, I tried and surprisingly,  I LIKE IT!  Has my taste bud change during confinement?

Now, I cook this dish more often ... than my mum ;)  Since we are not on confinement, I omit the extra wine or sesame oil, but just use a few slices of ginger to stir-fry the chicken.  You can prepare this dish with  thicker gravy to go with rice or prepare it as a soup and add some vermicelli (mee sua or 面线) as a one-dish meal.  Sometimes, I will add some fried eggs (荷包蛋)into the gravy or soup and let the eggs soak up the 红糟 gravy!

Now, when I see how my little girl is enjoying this dish and licking her fingers, I am so glad that I tried this dish again!

(serves 2 to 3 persons)

8 to 9 mid-joint chicken wings (or other parts of chicken)
1 handful of wood ears (rinsed, soaked and trim into bite-sized)
1.5 tbsp red rice wine paste (红糟) - available from supermarket
3 slices of ginger
1 tbsp sugar (or adjust to taste)
Salt to taste

1) Marinate the chicken wings with 1/2 tsp salt & dash of pepper for 30 minutes. 
2) Heat a little oil in wok on high, add ginger and stir. Add chicken wings and stir till aromatic.
3) Lower  heat to medium, add 红糟 and stir well to combine with chicken.  Be careful not to burn the 红糟.
4) Add enough water to cover the wings (can add more water if prefer soupy) and add in the wood ears.  Cover and bring it to boil.
5) When contents start boiling, add sugar and adjust to medium-low heat.  Simmer for about 20 minutes till gravy has thickened and the chicken is soft and tender.

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