Hong Zao Mian Xian (Ang Zao Mee Suah)
My love affair with hong zao chicken 红槽鸡 cooked in red glutinous wine didn’t get off to a good start at first.
When I was young, my mum who is Hock Chew, would make her own red glutinous wine or more commonly known here as “hong zao jiu” 红槽酒 (hong zao jiu) for home consumption. She will often make a huge pot of hong zao chicken (to be served with rice), or cook it with mee suah (flour vermicelli) for a simple one-dish meal. But back then, I didn’t dare to touch the chicken at all because I thought it looks all red and pretty scary. 我真不识货! When I grew older, I somehow became a lot more adventurous with food (greedy?) and upon trying some hong zao mian xian outside, I fell in love with this dish. And I wish I had tried my mum’s home made wine back then. Now, she told me that she has “forgotten” how to make the wine no matter how much I begged her T_T
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So help came in the form of a kind, and very generous food blogger Rei from All That Matters (do check out her blog for great recipes and AMAZING bakes). When she read my post at a local food forum asking where I can purchase the red wine in Singapore, she immediately offered to give me some of her home made wine for free. This is such a kind gesture especially when I didn’t know Rei before this. I was incredibly touched by her kindness and generosity and I still am today, as I am writing this post. Thanks Rei! ^_^ If you would like to make your own wine at home, check out Rei’s recipe. I feel so inspired to try making my own wine so that I can have an endless supply, haaa…
For the uninitiated, this dish is also known as a “confinement dish” – a must have for women recuperating after child birth. But you don’t need to be having your confinement to enjoy the health benefits of this dish. This is a super nourishing dish and is said to boost benefits such as lowering bad cholesterol, strengthening cardio, regulating menses and so on. For me, I just love the aromatic and slightly sour taste of the wine, so I try to cook it at least once a month. This is truly comfort food for the soul for me.
Note: The dish can be quite “heaty” especially due to the generous use of ginger and sesame oil, so do not consume this during “that time of the month” or when you’re having a sore throat.
My recipe is based on Rei’s but I made some modifications to suit my own cooking style/preference.
- 600g chicken (you can use drumlets/chicken wings portions), or half a chicken, cut to bite sized pieces
- 100g (about 5 bunches of mee suah)
- ginger, cut to thin strips (for garnishing)
- cilantro (for garnishing)
A) For the marinade
- 1.5 tbsp hong zao wine lees
- 1 tbsp ginger juice (grate the ginger, take the ginger pulp and squeeze out the juice)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp hong zao wine
B) For the stir frying
- 1 cup hong zao wine
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp brown sugar
For Hong Zao Chicken 红槽鸡 (Serve as a main dish & served with warm rice)
1. In a deep and wide bowl, marinade chicken pieces with the marinade ingredients (A). Marinade for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
2. Heat wok with 2 tbsp sesame oil and fry the ginger strips till crisp. Set aside the ginger strips.
3. Using the oil left in the wok, add in the marinaded chicken pieces (along with the marinade sauce) and stir fry for a few minutes till well coated.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients (B) into wok, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes on low flame.
5. Open the lid, using a pair of tongs, turn the chicken pieces the other side, cover the wok and simmer for another 10 minutes.
6a. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with cilantro and the previously fried ginger, and serve with warm rice.
For Hong Zao Mee Suah 红槽鸡面线 (Serve as a one-dish meal)
I prefer a more “watery” consistency as compared to the thicker sauce for the chicken as a main dish, so I added a further 1/4 cup of wine after step 5. To prepare the mee suah and assemble the dish,
6b. Rinse mee suah pieces in cold water to remove the starch, then cook them in a wok of boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, separating the strands with chopsticks.
7. Take out the cooked mee suah and set in a serving bowl. Arrange the cooked chicken pieces on top of mee suah, and pour the sauce over. Garnish with cilantro and the previously fried ginger.