A refreshing, aromatic appetiser, drunken chicken is made of perfectly poached chicken that’s soaked in a brine of chicken stock and rice wine.
Author: Wei Guo
For the chicken
3free-range chicken legsabout 680g/1.5 lb (see note 1)
6dried red dates/jujube optional
For the brine
180mlShaoxing rice wine, preferably Hua Diao/花雕 varietyabout ¾ cup
Make chicken rolls
Remove the bones of the chicken legs. Lay one piece flat with the skin side down. Roughly score the meat to make it more even in thickness (do not cut through).
Tightly roll the meat into a cylinder. Use kitchen twine to secure (You may also wrap it with kitchen foil/aluminium foil).
Cook the chicken
Put the chicken rolls, along with the bones, into a small pot (ideally just big enough to hold the rolls in a single layer). Add ginger, scallions and red dates. Pour in water enough to cover the meat.
Bring it to a full boil then turn the heat to the lowest. Leave to simmer with a lid on for 10 mins. Then remove the pot from the cooker. Leave to steep (still covered) for a further 10 mins.
Check the doneness by inserting a skewer into a chicken roll. They’re cooked if there isn’t much resistance and the juice coming out is clear (if using a kitchen thermometer, the inner part of the chicken should be above 165°F/74°C).
Put the chicken rolls into a big bowl of cold water (ideally with ice cubes). Leave to cool for 10 mins.
Prepare the brine
While waiting for the chicken to cool. Pour about 250ml (1 cup) of the chicken stock made from last step, through a sieve, into a non-reactive container. Add the cooked red dates, salt, sugar, rice wine and goji berries (see note 2). Leave to cool.
Soak the chicken
Once the brine cools down to room temperature, put in the chilled chicken rolls (They should be fully immersed. Top up with more stock if necessary).
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Slice the rolls and put into a serving bowl. Pour in some brine and garnish with red dates and goji berries.
You may use other cuts of chicken, such as pieces of breast, thighs or wings. Alter the cooking time accordingly.
If you wish to reduce the alcoholic taste of the dish, you may either alter the stock wine ratio (more stock and less wine) or boil the brine mixture for 2 mins.