This is our version of a Coq-au-vin, prepared with essentially Chinese herbs and wine. What makes it distinctive to the Chinese version of the dish is the wine – fermented rice wine known as Saoxing wine. It is sweet, almost like a sherry which gives a mild marinade to the chicken. Unlike its French counterpart, this dish uses more spice than herb, sometimes flavouring it with a bark of cinnamon but mostly star anise which is signature to asian cooking.
Mushrooms are used as a matter of choice but never overpowering the taste of chicken which is the main highlight of the dish. A bit of green such as spinach adds further dimension, colour and balance to the chicken. It pairs very well with a bowl of steamed rice. This is one of my favourite meals when I want a good bit of sustenance and rejuvenation after a long day of work. Interestingly, this simple and fulfilling meal works beautifully with a glass of red wine.
Chinese claypots can make a heartwarming meal even in Summer. Pairing it with a cool Pinot Grigio or our house red wine can make an elegant meal on those memorable Summer days.