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Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken (Or, Ang Chow Kway)

Yen Lin Kong from Singapore

Serves
4
Preparation
(Optional: 40 days) + 120 minutes
Cooks in
20 minutes
Country of origin
China

Much as we equate travel with new discoveries and foreign lands, it is also about the people and places we leave behind.

My first brush with homesickness came while I was in Sweden on an exchange programme. The year was 2010, and it was the first time I had ever ventured so far away from home.

It started as an inexplicable pang I had never felt before. I found myself longing to be back home, spending a lazy Sunday in the tiny flat where my grandparents lived. I would sit at the table in their kitchen, watching them dance around each other with practiced ease as Grandma sautéed the Ang Chow and the chicken while Grandpa busied himself with hand-pulled noodles. Before long, the flat would be filled with the heady aroma of the chicken simmering in rice wine on the stove. If I asked nicely, Grandma would let me sneak a taste. Dinner would be a simple affair of Ang Chow Kway and hand-pulled noodles, but the tender chunks of chicken mixed with the earthiness of the mushrooms and sweet tang of the rice wine left me content to slurp down bowl after bowl of the crimson coloured soup.

The recipe for Ang Chow Kway is somewhat of a family heirloom passed from my ancestors back in China, down to my grandparents who brought it with them when they came to Singapore in the 50s, and subsequently, my parents. Complacent with the knowledge that I could get Ang Chow Kway whenever I wanted, I never felt the need to learn it – until I found myself combing the Asian restaurants and supermarkets in Gothenburg for anything that was close to the real thing.

In desperation, I begged my mother to send me some of her Ang Chow. And so, 8000 miles away from home with my mother yelling instructions over Skype, I finally cooked my first pot of Ang Chow Kway.

The consistency wasn’t quite right, but I’m pretty sure the smile that crossed my face on that first sip was the same smile that my grandparents wore whenever they whipped up this pot of soup that reminded them so much of their home.

Ingredients

  • Red glutinous rice wine and wine lees may be found at certain specialty shops, but can also be fermented from scratch.
  • (Optional) To Make Red Glutinous Rice Wine and Wine Lees:
  • Glutinous rice – 3kg
  • Dried yeast Cake/Wine cake – 6 pieces
  • Red yeast rice – 300 grams
  • Rice wine – 200ml
  • A glass or ceramic container with a cover
  • For the Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken (Ang Chow Kway):
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (6-700grams) – chopped to pieces
  • Red glutinous rice wine – 300ml
  • Red glutinous wine lees – 5 heaped tablespoons
  • Ginger, thinly sliced – 5-6 slices
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water until soft – 10 pieces
  • Dried day lilies, knotted – 30 grams
  • Sesame oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Light soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
  • Hot water – 1.5 litres
  • Shaoxing Wine (For garnish)
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • (Optional) Red Glutinous Rice Wine and Wine Lees:
  • Wash and soak glutinous rice in water. Leave overnight.
  • Cook glutinous rice over medium heat until it softens and reaches a congee-like consistency, add more water if required.
  • Leave glutinous rice to cool.
  • Dry-blend the yeast cakes and red yeast rice until you get a fine powder.
  • Add a layer of glutinous rice to the bottom of the container, followed by a thin layer of the powdered mixture. Repeat this layering process until the container is full, or all ingredients are used up.
  • Cover the container and store it in a cool place away from any heat sources.
  • After 7 days, add the rice wine and stir the mixture in the container with a dry chopstick or ladle. Make sure to dry them, as any water or bacteria will ruin the wine.
  • Leave the mixture to ferment in a cool and dry place for another 33 days.
  • Run the mixture through a sieve and collect store both the rice wine and wine lees separately.
  • For the Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken (Ang Chow Kway):
  • Add wine lees and light soy sauce to chicken and mix until all the chicken pieces are coated. Marinade for 2 hours.
  • In a wok, heat sesame oil.
  • Add ginger slices and fry them until fragrant.
  • Add mushrooms and continue frying for about 1 minute, make sure to keep stirring the mixture to prevent it from burning.
  • Stir in the chicken pieces and day lilies. Sauté for another 3-4 minutes until chicken is almost done.
  • Add red glutinous rice wine and fry the mixture for another 1-2 minutes
  • Add salt and hot water into the wok. Cover and leave to simmer for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  • Serve into a bowl and garnish with a dash of Shaoxing Wine.
  • Bonus:
  • Eat with white jasmine rice or chinese hand-pulled noodles. You can also use meesua (thin noodles made from wheat flour).
  • Additional tip:
  • Amount of rice wine and wine lees used may be adjusted according to personal preference.

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