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Wine Chicken, Hakka Style


Wine Chicken, Hakka Style
5 dried black fungi such as cloud ears
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3/4 cup minced fresh ginger (about 4 ounces)
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), rinsed, and cut into about 3-inch pieces
2 cups glutinous rice wine, cream sherry, or tawny port
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1. Rinse the black fungus and place in a small bowl. Soak in hot water until soft, about fifteen to twenty minutes, then rinse them well and squeeze out excess water. Discard the hard knobby centers of the fungus, then cut them into thin strips.
2. Heat a 14-inch wok or a five- to six-quart pan, stir in the vegetable oil, sesame oil, and ginger over medium heat until the ginger begins to brown, about five minutes. Then add all the chicken except the breast pieces, and stir until the chicken begins to lightly brown, about eight minutes. If desired, at this point, transfer the contents to a Chinese clay pot.
3. Add one cup wine, one and a half cups of water, sugar, and the fungus to the chicken and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer stirring occasionally for fifteen minutes.
4. Next, add the remaining cup of wine and the breast pieces, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender when pierced, about ten minutes longer. Skim off and discard any fat, add salt to taste, and spoon the chicken and the juices into a serving dish. If using a Chinese clay pot, serve directly from the pot.
Note: If preferred, do not chop the chicken through the bone, cut it into larger pieces. One can substitute small whole bone-in chicken thighs, but may need to increase the cooking time by ten to fifteen minutes. This dish serves eight to ten people as part of a multi-course meal.

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