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Chicken in Chinese Rice Wine

This chicken dish is full of sesame oil, ginger, and Chinese rice wine. A traditional dish to serve new mothers, and a tasty treat for everyone else.
Ingredients to prepare chicken in Chinese rice wine: chicken, Chinese yellow rice wine, Chinese white rice wine, ginger, red dates, goji berries, Angelica root, and rock candy.

Ingredients to prepare chicken in Chinese rice wine: chicken, Chinese yellow rice wine, Chinese white rice wine, ginger, red dates, goji berries, Angelica root, and rock candy.

Chicken in Chinese rice wine is a classic Chinese confinement dish that is super easy to make, as long as you can get a hold of the rice wine.

This recipe is passed down to me from my Mom, and hers specifically use two kinds of rice wine, the yellow rice wine (Chinese: huang jiu) and the white rice wine (Chinese: bai jiu) in a two to one ratio.

The requisite old ginger is there, but it also has angelica root, red dates, and goji berries. You just know it is going to taste great with a list of ingredients like that, right? ♥

What are the ingredients to cook chicken in Chinese rice wine?

  • 1 whole free-range chicken (Indonesian: ayam kampung), or 6-8 chicken drumsticks, or 3-4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 100 gram ginger, preferably old ginger, peeled (optional) and thinly sliced
  • 15 gram red dates/jujube (红枣- hong zao)
  • 10 gram Angelica roots (当归- dang gui)
  • 10 gram goji berries (枸杞- gou qi)
  • 400 ml Chinese yellow rice wine (黄酒- huang jiu)
  • 200 ml Chinese white rice wine (白酒- bai jiu)
  • 50 gram rock sugar
  • 12 teaspoon salt, omit if your rice wine has salt content in it

Some Chinese yellow rice wine to consider are 糯米酒 (nuo mi jiu), 紹興酒 (shao xing jiu), and 花雕酒 (hua diao jiu).

For Chinese white rice wine, I usually get a bottle of 米酒(mi jiu). I’ve even used Japanese sake instead of Chinese white rice wine and it works beautifully.

If possible, skip the cooking aisle and go to the alcoholic drink section in your Asian market. This should be where you can find all the different drinking wine such as Chinese Shao xing, Japanese sake, and Korean soju.

Any bottle you get from this aisle will be of higher quality than the ones from the cooking aisle. Plus, the drinking grade is almost certainly free of salt, so you can add as much salt as needed. Also, these wine are good for drinking too!

Chicken in Chinese rice wine.

Chicken in Chinese rice wine.

How to cook chicken in Chinese rice wine?

This is a really simple and straightforward dish. Here is my step-by-step:

  1. Heat sesame oil in a pot on medium-high heat and fry ginger until fragrant. About 3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink. About 2 minutes.
  3. Add red dates, Angelica roots, goji berries, yellow rice wine, and white rice wine. Mix well, and bring to a boil.
  4. Season with salt, then turn the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Add rock sugar and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and serve the chicken in immediately.
Chicken in Chinese rice wine.

Chicken in Chinese rice wine.

Traditional Chinese confinement dish

In many Chinese families, a lot of households will start making bottles of homemade rice wine whenever someone in the family is expecting a baby. Once the baby is born, the mother will start her 30 days of confinement period (坐月子- zuo yue zi).

During confinement, the mother is usually expected to stay indoors to recover, to have plenty of rest, and to learn how to take care of her baby. There is a focus on eating plenty of nourishing food too, especially food to recover and heal the body from delivering a baby, and also, food that increases breastmilk.

Most Chinese confinement food has high protein, also most will feature ginger, sesame oil, and rice wine, which is exactly what goes into this chicken in Chinese rice wine dish.

If you are indeed preparing this dish for a new mother, some people advise omitting salt and sugar, but I think it’s such a tiny amount anyway and should be quite fine, but do consult your physician. :)

Some other popular Chinese dishes for this period are sesame oil chicken, steamed Chinese herbal chicken, and chicken herbal soup.

Chicken in Chinese Rice Wine

4.9 from 9 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 100 gram ginger, preferably old ginger, peeled (optional) and thinly sliced
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (Indonesian: ayam kampung), or 6-8 chicken drumsticks, or 3-4 chicken leg quarters
  • 10 gram Angelica roots (当归- dang gui)
  • 15 gram red dates/jujube (红枣- hong zao)
  • 10 gram goji berries (枸杞- gou qi)
  • 400 ml Chinese yellow rice wine (黄酒- huang jiu)
  • 200 ml Chinese white rice wine (白酒- bai jiu)
  • 50 gram rock sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, omit if your rice wine has salt content in it

Instructions

  1. Heat sesame oil in a pot on medium-high heat and fry ginger until fragrant. About 3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink. About 2 minutes.
  3. Add red dates, Angelica roots, goji berries, yellow rice wine, and white rice wine. Mix well, and bring to a boil.
  4. Season with salt, then turn the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Add rock sugar and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and serve the chicken in immediately.
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Comments

  • Thorsten Thorsten says:

    I just tried your Chicken in Chinese Rice Wine - It was very delicious!

  • Saadia Saadia says:

    Hi, I grew up eating this dish in various ways and I love the smell of dang gui. I just want you to know that alcohol evaporates during cooking, so it is not actually supposed to make you drunk. Here is a family story: over 50 yrs ago, my mother gave birth to my long-awaited baby brother. My father was a foreign service officer and we were stationed in Paris, France. He knew about this traditional chicken & wine recipe but had no idea where to find the rice wine. So he improvised by buying a case of Johnny Walker black label whiskey and fixing the soup every day. This made all the visiting guests roll on the floor laughing because my baby brother was fat and sleepy all the time, from the richness of the breast milk!

  • Hermsoven Hermsoven says:

    Nice! But try using fistfuls of dates, wolf berries, wood ears, and 3 chicken thighs cut in half. Toss in the soaking water from the dry ingredients and simmer the whole thing for not more than a half hour unless you're trying to destroy the chicken! Salt is not necessary. The wine is already salted. Delicious. 5 stars with my alterations.

  • Darren Darren says:

    Hi, just wondering what kind of yellow and white rice wine you used? Ive tried the recipe using a random rice wine i found, but it tasted totally awful. I have also heard people using a red glutinous rice wine - any thoughts on that?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Darren, my Mom makes her own rice wine from white glutinous rice, so I always got them for free. But, she said if I were to buy them from store, it is best to look for the one labeled nuo mi jiu (糯米酒). When failed, simply used either mi jiu (米酒), or even shao xing jiu (紹興酒). But, whichever one you end up using, make sure you buy the one that has 0% salt content, meaning it can be used as drinking wine. The one that has salt content are okay if you are going to use it for stir frying where you only need a couple of tablespoon for the entire dish. In dishes where the measurement calls for copious amount of wine, if you use those with salt content, it will taste awful.

  • Lili Lili says:

    Alcohol doesn't totally cook out when you simmer. I think you only end up losing between 10-40% of the alcohol, depending on the original concentration and how long you're simmering. You do cook away some of the volatile flavors, though, so it tastes more mellow. I had some Russian pork marinated in vodka dish, and even though the pork was well cooked and a little crispy on the outside, I got up from lunch unexpectedly tipsy!

  • Tc Tc says:

    Theres something to the boozyness LOL...In older eastern european traditions women were given beer for several days after birth so it could stimulate milk production.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Ooo, I never know that. Today I learn there are other cultures that encourages alcohol consumption for new mothers. :)

  • Renee | The Good Hearted Woman Renee | The Good Hearted Woman says:

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious! It makes me want to run to our Asian market right now and get this party started!

  • SHANIKA SHANIKA says:

    This Chicken dish looks amazing! I've never tried Chinese Rice Wine, but it sounds so savory!

  • Chris Collins Chris Collins says:

    I'm always looking for new chicken recipes, so I'm definitely going to be trying this! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  • Tisha Tisha says:

    This dish looks absolutely incredible! A definite must try.

  • Irina Irina says:

    I am sure I will fall in love with this chicken meal due to sesame oil adding. This flavor is one of my favorite ones! I just need to figure out where to get Chinese rice wine.

  • tom tom says:

    terrific

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