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Mar 3, 2010 08:48 AM

chinese cooking wine help

Hello :) I plan on trying this recipe tonight

It calls for Chinese Cooking Wine, I've looked online and usually it says that it's used as an enhancer and can be left out. In this recipe however it calls for 1/4 cup which I find is a lot for and enhancer. I was thinking of substituting it with homemade chicken stock I have frozen and maybe a tsp of Sherry? I'm afraid the Sherry would be too strong. The only other thing I could do is maybe add a tbsp. or two of oyster sauce to the stock to give it more flavour since I find the recipe to be kinda plain.
I bought chicken thighs yesterday and would like to make them tonight, I've never cooked thighs before so I'm open to other suggestions. Thanks in advance!

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  1. I think your first solution with the diluted sherry is the best. Most recipes suggest substituting the chinese cooking wine with cherry so they must have similar tastes.

    1. Anytime you see "cooking wine" associated with a recipe, forget about it and buy a drinking wine of the same or similar variety. "Cooking wines" are usually made from old, stale wine that couldn't be marketed for drinking and I've never seen it sold without salt (a preservative I suspect) as an ingredient. Aaaargh....
      Try a Chinese Shaoxing, Sherry, or Gewurztraminer.

      1 Reply
      1. re: todao

        The salt is put in there to make it undrinkable. It's so that vendors can sell wine without adding liquor taxes to it (they basically make it a wine-brine, if you drink it with that much salt in it, you'll get sick).

      2. Light dry sherry should be fine.

        1. Thanks for the input, I'm going to try stock with some Sherry. Next time I go to a Chinese grocery store I'll see what they have for cooking wine. If Chinese cooking wine is basically alcohol with salt, then you add soy sauce to the recipe on top of that? Sounds salty :P Thanks again everyone, I'm off to the kitchen!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Krissy

            I may be too late with this but for the future, Chinese Shaoxing can be found in Asian markets, not liquor stores unless, I guess, you go to a dedicated Asian liquor store in a Chinatown. The good drinkable Shaoxing is not salted and I know it's often referred to as cooking wine in some Asian cookbooks, (it's for cooking and drinking applications) but it's not the overly salty old crappy stuff you'd buy in a supermarket labelled "cooking wine" (various flavors include Marsala, Sherry, "red or white".) You can use the amount of soy called for in the recipe without fear of over salting.
            A light dry Sherry in the same amount would be a reasonable substitute.