Food & Drink

Teri Mena: The Mailbox

Looking for Chinese rice wine

Does anyone know where I can purchase in the Sacramento area Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)? I have found various stores that carry the Shaoxing cooking wine which is overly salty. A lot of Chinese recipes call for the “real wine” and tell you not to use the cooking one. I noticed the recipe for Char siu in the Mailbox recently called for rice wine.

– Betty Pazoureck, El Dorado Hills

Old-fashioned bologna at Oto’s, Corti Brothers

Margaret Rhode of Rancho Cordova was looking for a place to buy good-quality, old-fashioned bologna.

We heard from Russell Oto, owner of Oto’s Marketplace at 4990 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95822. He carries the old-fashioned stick bologna made by the Old Sausage Factory. He says it’s one of their best sellers in the luncheon meat department along with their old-fashioned franks.

Arnelle Sanford of Woodland recommends Corti Brothers in Sacramento. She says they carry Saag’s brand.


Chinese brandy fried chicken

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Marinate time: 24 hours

Serves 4

David Lee of Sacramento was looking for a brandy fried chicken recipe, similar to the ones served at Luau Gardens and Frank Fats. His dad grew up on this fried chicken. It has a very unique flavor, Lee says, probably from the brandy and whatever else the chicken is marinated in. When it comes out of the fryer, the chicken is bright and gold in color. Lee was hoping to make this dish for his father on his birthday.

This recipe may be a match for Lee.


4 boneless chicken breasts


1/2 cup brandy

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger


1 cup (or more) flour


1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup ice water

1 beaten egg

Oil for deep frying


Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Combine the chicken pieces and all marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Make the batter by combining well the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine the ice water and beaten egg in another small bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the water-egg mixture. Mix lightly but don't overbeat; there should be a few small lumps.

Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in flour then dip each piece into the batter. Deep fry the chicken pieces in enough oil to completely sink the chicken pieces under the surface of the oil. Cook the chicken in 350 degree oil. (If you fry hotter, you risk the surface of the chicken becoming too dry and the center undercooked.)

Fry the chicken pieces at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until they float to the surface for a minute. Dark meat takes longer to cook.

Per serving: 480 cal.; 37 g pro.; 26 g carb.; 15 g fat (4 sat.); 146 mg chol.; 1,976 mg sod.; 1 g fiber; 28 percent calories from fat.