Drunken Chicken (Shaoxing Zuiji) – a pressure cooker recipe

Want to cook with alcohol now that we’re no longer in dry January? This drunken chicken recipe is super easy and as it’s made in advance and served cold, you can make it to soak on a weekend and take it out of the fridge on Monday! Traditionally it’s made with Shaoxing rice wine, and that’s what we’re using here.

It’s usually made with chicken thighs or chicken wings, ideally with the bones removed but the skin on, as the skin keeps the meat together better and it will look prettier at the end. I don’t particularly like the skin in cold dishes, so I’m using boneless and skinless chicken thighs here.

There are, of course, ways to make this without a pressure cooker, but I highly recommend just getting a simple one. It will really save you time in the kitchen, and when it comes to this recipe, you won’t find an easier way to make the chicken quite so tender and easy to marinade with the alcohol! Prep only takes 2 minutes, and cooking time is around 20 minutes.


4 boneless chicken thighs
2 large slices of ginger
2 star anise
1 spring onion
Salt to taste
1 cup of Shaoxing rice wine
Sesame oil

Prep steps: tenderise the chicken by hitting it with the back of a cleaver and boil a large kettle of water.


Step 1: arrange the ginger, star anise, whites of the spring onion (cut into 1 inch sections) at the bottom of the pressure cooker.


Step 2: arrange the chicken snugly on top, then scatter the chopped green parts of the spring onion on top.


Step 3: pour boiling water over the top until it just covers the chicken or hits the minimum mark in the pressure cooker. Add salt to taste.

Step 4: shut the lid and cook on high heat until the you start to hear whistling, which should take around 10-15 minutes. Then turn to low heat and heat for a further 5 minutes.


Step 5: release the pressure, remove the chicken into a small bowl (discard the rest or set aside to use as chicken stock in other recipes).

Step 6: pour the rice wine over the chicken until covered. Leave it in the fridge at least for 8 hours and drizzle with sesame oil to serve cold.


If you like, you can garnish it with some carrot or goji berries. It’s also a nice and refreshing starter to cook in the summer. What do you think?


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