Ginger & Sherry Chicken with Wolfberries

The wintry chill inspired me to cook this very warming dish; ginger and wine chicken with wolfberries/goji berries. Traditionally, this is made with old ginger, rice wine and wood fungus AND especially made for new mothers during the confinement period. In the chinese custom, the ‘confinement’ period refers to a month long restorative period for a new mother, where she will replenish her weakened post-natal body by keeping warm and eating loads of warming foods such as ginger, rice wine, and circulatory-boosting tonic soups. For 30 days, she must avoid all ‘cooling’ elements and by that I mean staying away from wind drafts, eating fruits, bathing or washing her hair and the worst I’ve heard is not brushing teeth; all these while being housebound for the entire period. Well, I guess that’s why they call it the ‘CONFINEMENT’ period. Hmmm…I suddenly have a vivid picture of J pinching his nose while standing next to Stink-fish here with bad breath, plasticky hair and body odour.  Fortunately, my mom assured me that it isn’t as bad as what I read online but later conceded that after 9 days into her confinement period she could no longer tolerate her itchy scalp so she snuck out and washed her hair at midnight, as quietly as one was to know. 😉 

Confinement period or not, this ginger and wine chicken is delicious but I have adapted mine by replacing old with young ginger so I could actually eat the finely sliced ginger without spewing it out. Old ginger tastes hotter, more pungent, is tougher in texture and more warming but I’m eating this dish for pure enjoyment so I used tender young ginger. I actually do not know which grade of rice wine to use so I opted for dry sherry instead which works a treat. There is a whole 750ml bottle of sherry in this dish which makes it so flavourful and it does really warm you up. The long simmering cooks off the alcohol but the flavour remains intact so you won’t get drunk after eating it. This dish tastes better on the second day. I decided to have this with an accompaniment of stir-fried noodles although it goes well with simple plain rice to soak up all that lovely gingery sherry broth.

So here’s my version of Ginger & Sherry Chicken with Wolfberries


80g ginger, finely sliced,
4 pieces whole chicken thigh, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons sesame oil
750ml Dry Sherry
1 cup water
2 tablespoons wolfberries
100g raw sugar (better still if you have rock sugar)
salt to taste


  1.  Heat up the sesame oil in a heavy-based pot.
  2. Add in the finely sliced ginger and fry on medium heat for about 2 minutes until fragrant and softened.
  3. Toss in the chicken chunks and stir-fry for a minute.
  4. Pour in the sherry and bring to the boil uncovered.
  5. As soon as it’s boiling, reduce the heat, put a lid on and simmer gently for 30 minutes
  6. Add in the 1 cup of water, sugar,wolf berries and salt to taste and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with plain rice or noodles.

Even though the alcohol was cooked off via evaporation, my face still flushed and I felt warm after consuming a bowlful of this dish so it’s perfect for winter. 


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