braised chicken wings – happy Chinese new year!

braised chicken wings Chinese styleWith Chinese New Year one week away, this celebration always gets me in the mood for Chinese cuisine.  Our time spent in Asia saw us with a keen curiosity for local food and traditions surrounding holidays and events.  While I have tried a variety of Chinese food, some came with much distaste (chicken feet, innards of animals, stinky tofu, etc).  What’s fascinating about China’s cuisine is how each geographical region dictates what is common to that area. 

In the north (apart from Shandong) there is little fertile land coupled with long, harsh winters and scorching short summers. Hearty crops such as wheat and vegetables are best grown in this climate.  In this region the flavors are strong – think of salty bean pastes, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.  In Beijing, Peking duck remains its most famous dish.  Move to the south and it becomes subtropical where rice crops, fruit, and vegetables are available year round.  The coastline in the south is vast allowing for fresh fish and seafood.  The flavors of the south are relatively simple compared with other parts of China.

In the east, braised dishes are common rather than steaming or stir-frying. Shanghai cuisine is reflected agriculturally by the rich provinces that surround it as well as Yangtze Delta (fish, seafood, and rice).  Much of China’s soy sauce is created here as is Shaoxing rice wine.  The west and central areas are dominated by the spice of Sichuan.  Famous for its hot cuisine – Sichuan pepper (hot and pungent) and chili peppers for added layers of heat.  According to the book, The Food of China, the cuisine from the west is famous for its hot food and sheer variety of cooking styles, summed up in the phrase ‘one hundred dishes and one hundred flavors’.

Chinese New Year begins February 3rd but mini celebrations have already begun.  So, to help usher in the lunar new year here’s an easy appetizer to make.   Gōng xǐ fā cái!

Serves 4 to 6
24 chicken wings (tip of wing discarded)
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 spring onion, sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
oil for deep-frying

Cut each wing (at the joint) into two pieces.  In a large bowl combine sugar, soy sauce, rice wine.  Add chicken wings to sauce and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.  Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry.  Reserve marinade for sauce.

1st batch of fried chicken wings…I wanted to eat them as is but glad I waited for the sauce!

Fill wok one-quarter full of oil and heat oil until temperature reaches 180c (350f).  Cook chicken in batches until golden brown.  Remove and allow to drain on paper towel.  If you don’t have another wok, use a deep sided frying pan.  Add one tablespoon of oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Stir-fry ginger until fragrant.  Add hoisin sauce, reserved marinade, and chicken wings and cook for one minute then add chicken stock or water.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and gently cook for 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve with sliced spring onion.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  When chicken is cooked, increase heat and allow the sauce to slightly thicken.  Enjoy!

braised chicken wings - happy Chinese new year!
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 24 chicken wings (tip of wing chopped & discarded)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • ½ cup chicken stock or water
  • oil for deep-frying
Instructions
  1. Cut each wing (at the joint) into two pieces. In a large bowl combine sugar, soy sauce, rice wine. Add chicken wings to sauce and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. Reserve marinade for sauce.
  2. Fill wok one-quarter full of oil and heat oil until temperature reaches 180c (350f). Cook chicken in batches until golden brown. Remove and allow to drain on paper towel. If you don’t have another wok, use a deep sided frying pan. Add one tablespoon of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry ginger until fragrant. Add hoisin sauce, reserved marinade, and chicken wings and cook for one minute then add chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and gently cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with sliced spring onion.
  3. The Culinary Chase’s Note: When chicken is cooked, increase heat and allow the sauce to slightly thicken. Enjoy!

 

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