Saturday, August 4, 2007

Drunken Chicken and my Chinese craving

drawing by marguerita

1 1-inch piece of ginger, cut into 4 slices

2 scallions

2 full chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks), rinsed

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups Shaoxing wine (see note)

1/2 cup cold chicken broth.

1. In a large pot, bring 5 cups water to a boil; add the ginger and scallions. Submerge the chicken in the water. Once the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the chicken sit in the pot for 10 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken, rub with the salt, then let cool completely.

3. In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in the wine and broth. Add the chicken, coat in the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Drain the chicken and discard the marinade. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and arrange on a platter. Serves 4 as appetizer.

Adapted from Henry Chang, Chang's Garden, Arcadia, CA.

Henry Chang, owner and chef of Chang’s Garden in Arcadia, CA. Chang was trained from childhood in an old-school apprenticeship in Taiwan, a place where all China’s cuisines are represented. As a result he is adept in the cooking of every Chinese province. Lately the cuisine of Hangzhou has captured his creative attention, and he has opened this restaurant to showcase the subtle dishes of that city. One clue to his success: while the English name of the place is Chang’s Garden, nobody calls it that in Chinese. In Chinese it’s Lou Wai Lou, the name of one of the most famous and venerable of Hangzhou restaurants. Chang’s Garden, 627 W Duarte Rd., Arcadia, CA 91007, 626-445-0707. English menu; little English spoken. Mealtimes are jammed. Arrive after 8:00 for dinner or wait.

Note: If you cannot find Shaoxing wine, it may be substituted with 3/4 cup sherry and 3/4 cup cold chicken broth.

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