Chilled Drunken Chicken with Rice Wine Granita (Bingzhen Huangjiu Ji)

This take on the Chinese classic dish called drunken chicken marinates overnight in rice wine and a liquor redolent of roses called meiguilu jiu. It's garnished with wolfberries, a red-orange, raisin-like Chinese medicinal herb.

Chilled Drunken Chicken with Rice Wine Granita (Bingzhen Huangjiu Ji)
This recipe is an elegant take on the Chinese classic.
Yield: serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 10 scallions, cut into 3"–4" pieces
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp. plus 1 cup shaoxing jiu (Chinese rice wine)
  • 4 boneless skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1⁄4 lbs.)
  • 2 tsp. meiguilu jiu liquor
  • 8 dried pitted wolfberries
  • 1 large anaheim chile, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1" squares

Instructions

  1. Heat a large flat-bottomed wok over high heat until hot. Add oil, half the scallions, and half the ginger; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add 4 cups water; bring to a boil. Add salt, sugar, bay leaves, star anise, and cinnamon; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for 3 minutes. Strain scallion–ginger liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl (discard solids); let cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, wipe wok clean; add 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Add remaining scallions and ginger, 5 tbsp. of the rice wine, and chicken; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until chicken is just cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Drain chicken mixture in colander, cover with ice cubes and let cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a wide dish; set aside.
  3. Stir remaining 1 cup rice wine and liquor into reserved scallion–ginger liquid. Stir together 1⁄2 cup wine mixture with 3⁄4 cup water in a bowl. Pour into an ice cube tray; freeze. Pour remaining wine mixture over chicken; cover and let chill for 24 hours.
  4. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add wolfberries and chiles; cook for 1 minute. Drain. Cut chicken into 1 1⁄2" × 2" pieces; divide along with chiles between 8 martini glasses. Pulse rice wine ice cubes in a food processor for 10–15 seconds until slushy, to make a granita. Spoon about 2 tbsp. of granita into each glass; garnish with wolfberries.