When I was little, we always had a box of Chinese chicken wings in the fridge.
Our house was full of foods from all over the world. I remember the pantry being stocked not with crisps, biscuits and things like my friends homes were, but things like vine leaves, yellow bean paste, kimchi, black rice and smoked mussels. It didn’t make quick snacks very easy, but thanks to my dad meals were delicious, inventive and adventurous. I always felt very lucky on the food front.
We didn’t have loads of money but because dad was thrifty and clever in the kitchen we always ate well, and when jointing chickens for eating across several meals he’d siphon off the wings for an easy Chinese style treat. And every now and again, when I’m feeling lazy and in need of oriental flavour, thoughts of those rich, sticky, salty wings from when I was little land in my head.
To stay true to how my dad did them, they need to sit for 24 hours in the fridge in a tupperware box full of soy, shaoxing rice wine, minced ginger and garlic. And while they’re marinading, whenever you go to the fridge give the box a shake to make sure the wings are being evenly coated.
They bake in a very hot oven, crisping deliciously around their edges and skin with the dark meat inside kept juicy and fragrant. They make the perfect economical mid week supper or Sunday afternoon snack with a chilled bottle of Tsing Dao. Bliss.
For two greedies
- 4 chicken wings, a few drumsticks and a few thighs – all skin on and bone in
- 150mls dark soy – the best you can get will be from an oriental supermarket, it’s really really thick and a little sweet
- 100mls light soy
- 150mls shaoxing rice wine
- 1 level tsp of my Chinese Blend, or:
- A few pinches Chinese five spice powder
- A large thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
- A tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- Strands of ginger, red chilli and sliced spring onions to serve
- Place the soy, minced ginger and garlic and shaoxing rice wine into a box with a lid and place into the fridge. Marinate for at least 24 hours, turning the box over occasionally so the wings are totally coated in the marinade.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C.
- Decant the chicken drumsticks and thighs (liquid and all) but not the wings into a roasting dish and place into the oven. After 15 minutes add in the wings and cook the whole lot for another 30 minutes in total, turning the pieces over every 10 minutes. Make sure the last 10 minutes is done with as much of the skin facing up as possible and give the skin a pinch of Chinese five spice just before it goes back into the oven.
- Remove from the oven, give a drizzle of sesame oil, scatter with the ginger and spring onions and eat – we especially like it with egg fried rice.