A super easy, 7 ingredient chicken side dish that’s served cold. ShaoXing drunken chicken is flavorful and delicious, can be easily prepped ahead for convenience and it looks pretty! Perfect for any dinner party. This recipe can also be adapted for drunken shrimp or drunken eggs!
Drunken chicken, like the name suggests, the chicken is literally soaked in alcohol. The alcohol used in this recipe is a type of HuangJiu(Yellow wine) called ShaoXing (紹興酒, shao4 xing1 jiu3). It’s fermented with sticky rice, originated in the region of Shaoxing, China. ShaoXing is often used in cooking or marinated with herbal medicine for drinking because of it’s distinct sweet flavor and aroma. Another dish that uses this wine for cooking is the melt-in-your-mouth CLASSIC DONG PO PORK. You have no idea how many compliments I got every time I make Dong Po Pork. It’s a must-learn classic and so is the drunken chicken!!
Use of herbal medicine
Herbal medicine is often used in Chinese and Taiwanese cooking because of the healing effect and the flavor. Think of them as spices rather than medicine, a lot of common spices are also considered to have healing effects in Chinese medicine. Chinese and Taiwanese believe in the “food therapy”, eat according to season and combining food and herbs with healing power together in everyday cooking.
The most common herbal medicines in Taiwanese cooking are jujubes(red dates) and goji berries. Goji berries have become better known in the western world and is considered a superfood. Chinese medicine studies showed that jujubes can help with better blood flow, has a calming effect and are rich in vitamin C, which is great for the immune system. There’s a saying in Chinese “天天吃紅棗，一輩子不會老. Translation: If you eat jujubes every day, you’ll never grow old.
Other herbal medicines commonly used in this dish include female ginseng(dong quai, 當歸, dang1gui1), but it’s harder to find so I’ve left it out. The jujube can also be left out if you can’t find any.
The best part of a chicken to use for this recipe are the thighs. This part of the meat is fattier, more tender, perfect texture for making drunken chicken. Before you start, remove the bone from the thigh, but leave the skin on! The skin is the secret to super tender chicken, helps trap the moisture in and it looks prettier on a plate.
Debone the Chicken Thigh
I have no idea how I learned this, but a pair of kitchen scissors has always been my favorite weapon of choice to debone a chicken thigh. Maybe it’s immature or unchef like but it works and it’s fast! Before I learned to use a knife, my mom would hand me a pair of scissors to help “chop” up green onions or cut veggies into sections. We have a pair of Cutco scissors, it’s sharp and gets into wherever it needs to go. Plus it can easily be taken apart for cleaning purposes it’s awesome. One of my favorite kitchen tools ever.
Tie it up!
You don’t have to, but I love the shape! If you don’t want to tie it up, leave the bone in the chicken thigh, and cook following the instructions. Instead of tying the meat up with strings, you can also wrap them with tin foil to hold the shape. The chicken thighs can be boiled or steamed. Personally, I like it steamed, I often worry that all the juice from the meat will seep away from the meat when boiled. BUT if you want to keep that for chicken stock and make another meal out of it, it works too!
The marinade is really easy to make. Chicken drippings+ ShaoXing Wine+ Jujube+ Goji Berries+ Salt and soak overnight, or even two nights for extra flavor! The soft boiled eggs don’t look like much, but they are packed with flavor. There is a ShaoXing factory in Taiwan and these eggs are one of their specialties and people couldn’t get enough of them! You have to try them.
- 2 Chicken Thighs Deboned, skin on
- 2 C ShaoXing Wine
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- 10 Goji Berries
- 4 Jujubes
- 2 Slices Ginger
- 2 Sprigs Spring Onion
- Roll the chicken thighs up in rolls and tie them up with strings.
- Add the slices of ginger, sprigs of spring onion to the chicken and steam for 15 mins on high, turn the heat off and let it sit for 20 mins. OR bring a pot of water to boil, add the chicken, slices of ginger, sprigs of spring onion and simmer on low heat for 15 mins then cover and let sit for 20 mins.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and add to the ice marinade. Top the dish enough chicken stock from the pot/plate to cover the chicken. Let soak overnight.
- Slice and serve!
Soft Boiled Eggs
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Add 6 room-temp eggs to the pot and boil for 6 minutes.
- Remove from pot and drop in cold water immediately.
- Peel and add to the marinade.Might need to add more ShaoXing or stock to the marinade.