Stir-Fried Bourbon Chicken in a Wok
Food - Drink
Does New Orleans' Famous Bourbon Chicken Contain Booze?
Bourbon chicken is a sticky-sweet pan-fried dish often served with rice, and is considered to be a fusion dish between Chinese and Cajun cooking, having originated in a Chinese restaurant on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Many diners wonder if bourbon whiskey is an ingredient in this dish, or if it's simply named after its location of origin.
Most bourbon chicken recipes today include the iconic American liquor to round out the ginger- and sesame-heavy flavor profile with a sweet smokiness. Historians argue about if bourbon was in the original dish, and whether or not it was named after Bourbon Street, but in today's culinary world, bourbon chicken is synonymous with bourbon whiskey.
The flavors of the bourbon you use in bourbon chicken will come through in the final dish, and higher-proof bourbons take longer to lose their alcohol content, so try not to use a strong, expensive bottle just for cooking. For an alcohol-free version, try using hoisin sauce in place of bourbon, or just add more soy sauce and chicken stock.