A stir-fry with a bit of heat. Dried red chilies, tender chicken, crunchy peanuts and crisp water chestnuts are tossed tog...
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How different is Shaoxing rice wine from Japanese Mirin? I've not been able to track down Shaoxing where I live, so I've used Mirin instead (for a similar, but not identical recipe - I don't use stock or chestnuts). The result I achieve is very good, but I wonder if Shaoxing would lift it even more. Maybe I can get it online somewhere?
For a slightly numbing (and authentic) touch to this dish, add one teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorns. I remove the seeds and only use the husks, crushed in a mortar.
Shao Hsing or Shaoxing rice wine, is a Chinese rice wine, while Mirin is a Japanese rice wine. Mirin is also quite sweet and if often thought of as the sugar element in Japanese cooking. It is used not generally consumed as a beverage, while Shao Hsing rice wine can be. Mirin has a flavor similar to a sweet sake. While Shao Hsing has a flavor similar to sherry. In fact, if you cannot find Shao Hsing, a dry sherry can be used instead.
Shao Hsing rice wine can be found in many Chinese grocery and/or liquor stores. And as you mentioned, it can also be purchased on line. It is worth it to seek it out as it really does add a nice flavor to many stir-fry sauces. Pagoda is thought to be a good brand. Hope that helps. Cheers!
Thanks Dawn. I guess the problem is the alcohol content. In Norway, any beverage with more than 5% alcohol can only be sold by state liquor stores :( Mirin is readily available in a non-alcoholic version.
In any event, your response inspired me to email the local state liquor store to see if they can get a hold of the good stuff. If that doesn't work I'll look online.
State liquor store tells me my only option is to find a distributor and do a personal import through the state liquor store, which will cost me $1000+ :(
Via Twitter, I found another Norwegian Chinese cuisine enthusiast, and she gets her fix whenever she's in London. Oh well.
Next question, can you recommend me a sherry to use in its place? I've only ever bought one bottle of sherry, and that was an oloroso, which is the sweet kind.
Any dry sherry would work. It's hard to say the exact sherry to use as you may not have the same brands available to you as we do here. If you ask at your local liquor store they should be able to help you with that. Ask them for a dry fino sherry, perhaps an Amontillado.
Also, note that shaoxing rice wine can be purchased online. Here are just a couple of placed that I found it http://www.waitrose.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductView-10317-10001-66261-Waitrose+CI+Rice+wine+shaoxing.html?storeId=10317
You may also want to call your local Chinese restaurant to see where they purchase theirs. Cheers!
Thanks again for your suggestions, Dawn. I took your advise and asked around at some restaurants. Am now waiting for an email from a distributor that one of the restaurants got their Shaoxing from. If this works I owe you a chinese meal :)
Restaurants led me to an importer, which eventually led me to realize how tightly alcohol is regulated in Norway. So, no dice :( But I'm going to Denmark in a week, and already located an Asian marked near the airport that sells the wine. Will post experience report after making Gong bao with proper Shaoxing in a week+!
Last night I finally cooked this dish with proper Shao xing wine. The wine has an interesting aroma. As the chicken cooked, it developed an almost nutty aroma which went very well with the peanuts. One of my favorite dishes just got a little better, and now I have plenty of wine on hand :)
I'm happy to entertain Daniel :)
I was planning to write down a comparison of this recipe with two others based being a huge fan of the dish, cooking it frequently, and having tried the recipes side by side. However, I recently worked through the stir-frying lessons, learning that everything about my woking up to this point was wrong... I'll get back with feedback when I've repeated my experiment with proper equipment and techniques. Hope I don't run out of Shaoxing in the process :)