April 15, 2012

Soy Sauce Chicken Wings 紅燒雞翼

Soy Sauce Chicken Wings 紅燒雞翅

chinese, Soy Sauce, Red Cooked, Chicken Wings, recipe, 紅燒, 雞翼,
By Published: 2012-04-15
Every chinese kid will tell you, soy sauce chicken wings, or 紅燒雞, is one of their favorite snacks bar none.  And how could it not be?  Melting from the bone chickeny goodness coated and infused with the aromatically sweet, savory, sticky coating of red cooked soy sauce with a subtle hint of licorice and ginger.  This is chinese snack food at its supreme.  Well at least for kids and those of us who still keep their inner kid alive and kicking.  My family originally being from the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, we grew up eating this kind of thing pretty much every day, be it red cooked (another name for soy sauce cooking) chicken or beef or pork.  This kind of cooking is more of a northern china kind of thing and since I've been in Hong Kong I have missed it.  I know, I know, you can find some red cooked meats in Hong Kong too, but, honestly, I don't think it's that good.  It's only so-so on the taste radar.  Usually the flavor's not quite right or it's been sitting around too long.  So what else to do but make it myself every once in a while to sooth my nostalgic longings.  Beware, though, these little suckers will disappear before you can say "Soy Sauce Chicken Wings"!

Soy Sauce Chicken Wings Recipe 紅燒雞翼


2 lbs chicken wings (we like to use frozen organic chicken wings if it's available)
4 slices ginger, 1/8" thick
3 spring onions, white part only, cut into 1" pieces
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 lumps rock sugar, each about 1/2"
3 pieces star anise


Defrost the chicken wings.  Heat wok med high until you can see heat rising, pour in the oil and swirl and put in the ginger and spring onions.  Stir fry for a moment until you can smell the fragrance from the ginger and onions.  Put in the chicken wings, stirring immediately to coat with the oil (so the skin won't stick to wok).  Add more oil if necessary. Stir fry, turning constantly, for about 3-4 minutes, making sure the skins don't stick to the wok, until the wings are a light gold color on all sides.  Add water to barely cover, light and dark soy sauce, rock sugar and star anise.  Turn heat to med low and cover.  Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom wings from sticking to wok.  Take out the wings.  Reduce the stock left in wok over high heat until glossy and thick.  Pour over chicken wings and serve.  These wings are great hot or straight from the fridge the next day, if they last that long.

Note: If you have a lot of the yummy cooking stock leftover you can save it for the next time you make these soy sauce wings or maybe even use it to start up a "master stock" or "卤水".  Some of the famous 卤水 can be hundreds of years old!  Imagine that!  I want to start one that I can leave to my little girl.  Don't know if she'll be too pleased though.  If you want to save it, just strain out all the bits and reboil the stock, let cool and refrigerate till needed if using in the near future.  If you want to keep it a longer time you  should freeze it.

More Meaty recipes at The Hong Kong Cookery:

rosemary chicken wingsRosemary Chicken Wings - A House Favorite

Chinese Red Cooked Pork 紅燒肉Chinese Red Cooked Pork 紅燒肉

Chinese Steamed Pork with Dried Anchovies 小銀魚蒸肉餅Chinese Steamed Pork with Dried Anchovies 小銀魚蒸肉餅


  1. I've been looking for a recipe for this! My mum used to make this all the time and I had no idea what she put in it but I think this is definitely very close, thanks!

    1. Glad to help. Hope that you can recreate your mum's undoubtedly delicious wings!

  2. So good! Awesome recipe!

    I miss mum's food...

    1. I agree. Nothing quite like mom's and grandma's delicious food for making one feel happy!

  3. Can I use brown sugar instead of rock sugar? If so, how much do you recommend?

    1. Hi Stephen - you could use 2-3 tbsp of brown sugar to substitute for the rock sugar ~ellen

  4. What light soy sauce and what dark soy sauce brand do you use?

    1. Hi Lina - we switch around to experience different soy sauce flavors but at the moment we are using Lee Kum Kee for light soy and Yuan's for dark soy. Hope to do an in depth on our favorite soy sauces soon so stay tuned! ~ellen

  5. I realize this is an old post, so I hope I can get an answer! I see that someone asked about subbing brown sugar for the rock sugar, but AFAIK, rock sugar is less sweet and has a more neutral flavor than brown sugar. I do have some raw sugar (turbinado). Would that be a good substitute for the rock sugar? If so, how much should I use? Or, do you think brown sugar (which has molasses in it) is a better substitute?

    1. Hi Dorothy - I think that raw sugar would probably substitute better than brown sugar, though brown sugar would be fine too, just more of a depth of flavor to it. You are right in thinking that raw sugar is closer in nature to rock sugar and by using raw sugar you can achieve the gloss to the sauce that rock sugar usually provides. Use 2-3 tbsp of raw sugar or to taste. Good luck on your wings! ~ellen

  6. Thank you for the reply, Ellen. Will be making them tonight, with the turbinado sugar. I'm sure they'll be yummy!


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