Growing up with a half Hakka family, there was a particular dish which we have at the dinner table quite often whenever we visited my mum’s hometown and that is the traditional rice wine chicken. Many people are probably familiar with this dish as a confinement dish where ladies eat after giving birth but the Hakkas have this dish very often. Some people dislike the strong ginger and spicy alcohol taste but we loved it since young.
My mum decided to try her hand at making rice wine from scratch so we ended up with a batch of homemade rice wine which was just perfect for cooking this dish.
The ingredients needed for this dish are as follows:
- 1 medium-size chicken
- 1 litre of fermented rice wine ( I’m not sure where you can buy this but you can check out traditional Chinese provision shops)
- 1 mid-size piece of rock sugar
- 200 grams of black fungus shredded
- 100 grams of young ginger shredded
- 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
Just to show you, this is the kind of black fungus to buy as there are a few kinds. To make this dish, you need the kind where it is black on 1 side and white on the other. The white side feels slightly velvety. After purchasing them from the store, you need to soak them in water for at least 30mins until they turn soft and you can cut them into thin shreds. As for the ginger, it is recommended to get the young ginger so that it is not too spicy and hearty since you also eat the ginger in the dish.
The first step is to fry the chicken in a dry wok without any oil or water. This step is to dry out the chicken so that the chicken is tastier later. The chicken is chopped into big pieces so that it retents its flavours while boiling.
When you see that the water has escaped the chicken which should take less than 2 mins, you can remove the chicken from the wok for use later. The water can be kept in a separate bowl for use later as it contains the juices from the chicken.
Next, fry the black fungus and shredded ginger with the sesame oil for 2 mins till you can smell the fragrance of the oil and ginger infusing together.
Add the chicken back to the pot and do a quick stir fry for 1 min
Add enough boiled water to cover the ingredients halfway. Do not add tap water. Let the ingredients boil for 2 mins without covering the pot.
Next, while the pot of ingredients is boiling, add in all the rice wine and continue boiling at high heat for 1 min.
Lower the heat to medium and put in the rock sugar for the soup to be sweeter
Put the lid on and boil for another 5 mins and the rice wine chicken is ready
Our family love this dish with a stronger alcoholic kick so we do actually add a tablespoon of brandy or whisky to the soup when it is served.
This soup dish is best eaten during rainy or cold days as the hot soup will keep your body warm. The ginger will help remove toxins from your body and the black fungus is good for blood circulation.