Chicken with Rice Wine Dregs

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I was wandering round my favourite hangout in the neighbourhood – aka supermart – when I noticed some cookbooks in the fruits and vegetables section. Instead of being tucked away in some obscure corner, they were occupying prime real estate, right under my nose.

If you want the customer to buy something, put it where he's bound to walk past, at eye-level. This is one of the oldest tricks of supermarkets.

True enough, I stood amidst the apples, oranges and Russet potatoes and started browsing the cookbooks.

Flip, flip, flip . . . .  

Hey, Pork Ribs Stewed in Red Yeast Rice Paste – 红糟排骨!

I'd seen before, on TV, chicken cooked with 红糟 . I never got round to trying it because I kept getting distracted, by other dishes, work, fun and games . . . . But last night I had the recipe in my hand, and I was surrounded by all the ingredients I could ever want in the world.  

Perfect! No more excuses!

I picked up all the stuff I needed but there was one thing I saved on. Seriously, who buys cookbooks nowadays?! The web is chock-full with recipes! And when I see one I like in a book, I whip out my handphone and – ka-cha! – the recipe's in my handphone!

Shrinks say colours affect our appetite, and red makes us eat more.红糟鸡, as you can see from the photos, is fire engine red. Even tandoori chicken would seem like a washed out vampire in comparison. I have no idea if the shrinks are right but the boozy chook was gone in a flash.

(Recipe for 4 persons)

2 tsp white sesame oil
10 thin slices ginger
3 tbsp red wine dregs (红糟 or 'fermented rice residue')
600 g chicken, washed and chopped chunky
4 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 tbsp light soya sauce
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

Heat wok till very hot. Add oil and heat till just smoking. Add ginger and stir-fry over medium heat till lightly golden. Add wine dregs and stir-fry till fragrant. Increase heat to high. Add chicken and stir-fry till heated through and wok is stonking hot again. Add wine, then light soya sauce, salt and sugar . Stir thoroughly till wine and soya sauce are absorbed. Add enough water to cover about two thirds of chicken. Stir to deglaze wok. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring once half way through. Uncover and increase heat to high. Reduce sauce till thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If it doesn't taste right, it probably needs more sugar. Add more till it tastes good, then adjust the saltiness. Turn off heat. Plate and serve with steamed rice.


Rice Palette said...

Very interesting.. I wonder if this is one of those things I've had before, but never knew what it was :0) I'll have to keep an eye on this next time I go to the supermarket!

KT said...

Hi Rice Palette

Wine dregs are usually placed with other wonderful stuff like fermented soya beans and fermented beancurd in the supermarket.

BTW, this dish is great for postnatal mothers. Just add more wine and pile on the ginger!

Anonymous said...

Oh this is a wonderful recipe, and brings back lots of memories (my grandmother was FoChow). You could also try it with sliced belly pork, though you may have to simmer a little longer to get the pork soft and tender. I also remember that my grandmother would add 1 huge soup spoon of hua tiao wine to the dish before bringing it to the table. It was quite a knockout!

KT said...

Hi Anon

Oh boy, adding the wine just before serving sounds awesome. I'll definitely try it next time.

Anonymous said...

Hi KT,

Was the Rice Wine Dregs sour? I don't know why mine was VERY sour...I've cooked this before but I bought the Rice Wine Dregs from Malaysia which was homemade and it wasn't sour at all...

KT said...

I just tasted a bit of the dregs straight out of the bottle. I'd say it's sourish rather than very sour; definitely nowhere near as sour as lemons. I've actually not noticed the sourness until you asked. It's the astringency/dryness I've noticed more. Whichever it is, that's why there's quite a lot of sugar in the recipe, to smoothen the dryness and sourness.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your reply. Yes, I put quite a lot of sugar just to counter it, it's not too bad afterall

Anne Yeo said...

Dear KT
Recently I came across your site and enjoy all your recipes. I admire your greatness to share, and sharing it fully and authentically. It is always a blessing to share and give.
On your recipe of Chicken with Red Wine Dreggs, I would like to share my experience with you.
I am a Foochow and cook the red yeast (ang chow) dish every year for my family, but as a soup.This is particularly done our family CNY reunion dinners.
First saute a knob of ginger in oil, add in few tbsp ang chow paste to fry till fragrant, add in chopped chicken pieces and softened chinese mushrooms and then simmer in hot boiling water till chicken is tender. When almost done, add in the Foochow meatballs and simmer a little longer till the meat balls are soft and when ready, pour over scalded laksa beehoon of softened beehoon. Garnish with a hard boiled egg and chinese parsley.
I have noticed each time I cook this dish, I remember it is either the light sauce or salt that cannot be added to the ang chow as it will cause it to be sourish.
But each time after cooking, I forget again until I ask my old aunt (she came from Foochow province) to confirm.
This is the cause for the dreggs turning sourish.

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