Many people enjoy bourbon chicken. Those of you who are sauce fans, like my daughter and myself, will fall in love with this bourbon-glazed bourbon chicken recipe.
It’s a Cajun-Asian fusion cuisine that’s become popular in Chinese takeout joints and shopping mall food courts. It’s adored for its sweet and sticky sauce, but it’s also known for its “comfort food” vibe.
Bourbon chicken is neither Cajun nor Asian in origin. There is a sense that it is a product of a specific moment and place in the United States.
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 1 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs or chicken breast (boneless, skinless)(cut into 1-inch chunks)
- 3 tbsp. of water
- 1 tsp. of soy sauce
- 2 tsp. of cornstarch
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 2 tbsp. of soy sauce
- 1 tsp. of dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp. of rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp. of dark brown sugar
- ½ cup of warm chicken stock or water
- ½ tsp. of sesame oil
- 1/8 tsp. of white pepper
- 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil
- 1 slice of ginger (1/4 inch thick and smashed with knife)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- ¼ cup of onion (minced)
- 2 tbsp. of bourbon
- 1 tbsp. of cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
- 1 scallion (chopped)
- First, marinate the chicken. Work the chicken chunks with your hands until they’ve absorbed all of the soy sauce and 3 tablespoons of water. When using chicken breast, add water and soy sauce to keep the meat wet and soft.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the chicken once it has absorbed the liquid, and put aside.
- Soy sauce and black soy sauce are combined with rice vinegar, brown sugar, chicken stock, or water and sesame oil and white pepper to make the sauce. Set aside.
- Chicken should be spread out in a wok or large frying pan with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil on high heat until it’s almost smoking. For 1 minute, fry the chicken on one side alone. Using a metal wok spatula, flip the chicken over and cook for one minute on the other side (or a rubber spatula if you don’t have access to metal equipment). After the chicken has been seared, remove it to a platter and turn off the heat. Set aside for later.
- Put the wok back on medium heat and add the ginger, garlic, and onion, if using. The mixture should be stir-fried for 20 seconds or until the onion is transparent.
- Deglaze the pan with the bourbon; the alcohol will cook out almost completely, leaving only the taste. Put the sauce mixture into the wok and continue to stir for another 30 seconds or so to deglaze the pan. Deglaze the wok by adding the sauce mixture and stirring for another 30 seconds or more. Stir the sauce until it returns to a simmer, then add the cornstarch/water combination slowly (stir it up first, as the cornstarch may have settled).
- Continue stirring and cooking until the sauce coats a spoon. To avoid any surprises, you can either remove the piece of broken ginger or notify your guests in advance. Serve with steamed white rice and scallions!