I do not know this red coloured chicken irks you or you feel that it looks “sexy”? Personally, I found that the glossy reddish colour chicken looks attractive and complement well with the fragrance of the red glutinous rice wine and ginger. To me, this is finger licking good and the sauce goes very well with the rice. This is a rather common household dish in many Foochow (Fuzhou) and Hakka families. I learnt to like it when my mother in law cooked this in her house.
The reddish colour is the result of using red yeast rice residue. When family prepared homemade glutinous rice, the red yeast rice was added to the cooked glutinous rice and let it fermented until they become cooking wine for home consumption. Do not ask me for the recipe of homemade wine as I find that there are risks involved in the preparation and that the government does not encourage wine making. The person who gave me is preparing this is for home consumption with no intention of selling.
For those overseas readers who are not familiar with Chinese red yeast rice, it is a Chinese traditional medicine to enhance blood circulation and now become a health supplement in Western countries.
As per Wikipedia
“ Red yeast rice (simplified Chinese: 红曲米; traditional Chinese: 紅麴米; pinyin: hóng qū mǐ; literally: “red yeast rice”), red rice koji (べにこうじ, lit. ‘red koji‘) or akakoji (あかこぎ, also meaning ‘red koji‘), red fermented rice, red kojic rice, red koji rice, anka, or ang-kak, is a bright reddish purple fermented rice, which acquires its colour from being cultivated with the mold Monascus purpureus. Red yeast rice is used to colour a wide variety of food products, including pickled tofu, red rice vinegar, char siu, Peking Duck, and Chinese pastries that require red food colouring. It is also traditionally used in the production of several types of Chinese huangjiu (Shaoxing jiu), Japanese sake (akaisake), and Korean rice wine (hongju), imparting a reddish colour to these wines. Although used mainly for its colour in cuisine, red yeast rice imparts a subtle but pleasant taste to food and is commonly used in the cuisine of Fujian regions of China. In addition to its culinary use, red yeast rice is also used in Chinese herbology and traditional Chinese medicine. Its use has been documented as far back as the Tang Dynasty in China in 800 AD. It is taken internally to invigorate the body, aid in digestion, and revitalize the blood. A more complete description is in the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia, Ben Cao Gang Mu-Dan Shi Bu Yi, from the Ming Dynasty (1378–1644).” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_yeast_rice)
I was given some red yeast wine residue (红糟） and some sweet red coloured glutinous rice wine (甜糯米酒） by a friend。 I usually used it to cook the Foochow favourite noodle dish: red yeast rice wine flour vermicelli (Recipe: Red Yeast Rice Wine Flour Vermicelli （红糟面线） ) and since there are lots of red yeast rice residue left, I thought I will use it too cook this dish too..
If you are wondering if you do not have red yeast rice wine and the residue given by friends, can you cook this dish in Singapore？ Answer is yes, absolutely legal and you can buy 2 items from the supermarket. Just after my arrival in Singapore many years ago, I remember that I bought a small bottle from NTUC FairPrice.. As for the red sweet glutinous rice wine, just recently, I bought a bottle (imported from Fuzhou) from Sheng Shiong supermarket and I am pleased with the purchase as it is aromatic and slightly sweet.. Therefore, there is no problem of getting hold of the ingredients if you want to give it a try. Otherwise, you can use other Chinese cooking wine as a substitute.
This recipe can be used for any parts of the chicken and at times, pork slices were used. The only difference is the cooking time. While this recipe did not ask for marinating in advance, to make it more flavourful, it is advisable that the dish be cooked at lunch time and served at dinner time for the flavour to be further developed.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 4 Adult servings
- 12 chicken mid wings or any chicken parts or pork slices
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 12 pieces of sliced ginger
- 1-2 cups of cooking wine (red sweet glutinous rice wine preferred)
- 3 tablespoons of red yeast rice residues
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- Pinches of salt
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- In a pot, heat up 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, pan fry the chicken mid wings until the chicken skins are set. The main purpose is to prevent disintegration of the chicken wing during the stewing process.
- Push the chicken aside, put the garlic cloves and sliced gingers and sauté until you can smell the ginger and garlic aroma which takes about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the red yeast rice residue and the sweet red glutinous rice (or other Chinese cooking wine). Bring to boil and once it boils, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer until the chicken meat are soft. If it dries up too quickly, you can add more water or rice wine. The entire process will took about 15-20 minutes. If it is too watery to your liking, just increase the heat and let it boil off some more liquid so as to thicken the sauce. Before off the heat, add the sugar and pinches of salt.
- Best to let the chicken rest in the pot for a few hours for flavour to further develop. The dish is great to be eaten with rice or rice porridges.
The colour of the dish will very much depend on the red yeast rice wine residue that you have used… Personally experiences showed that some are maroon in colour yet others are bright red. Some recipes called for the use of starches to thicken the sauce, but my experience shows that there is no such a need at all because most of the red yeast rice residue was prepared using glutinous rice. These sticky rice residue will disintegrate and thicken the sauce automatically after it was cooked.. Lastly, most of the local red yeast rice residue used are for the production of sweet red yeast rice wine, therefore, this dish is sweet by nature. However, I heard that Taiwanese red yeast rice residue is a salty condiment, therefore, before you use, you will have to see if it is salty or sweet and adjust your recipe accordingly. The final dish shall taste slightly sweet yet savoury .
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