Red-cooked chicken wings with chestnuts

Red-cooked chicken wings with chestnuts

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Anyone who has been to Beijing in autumn or winter (bbbrrr!) will know the enticing smell of roasting chestnuts that fills the streets. But chestnuts, which have a long history in Chinese cuisine, are used for much more than this. From soups and stews to desserts (or ground into a flour that is sometimes used in dumpling skins), they are a much loved ingredient. Around Shanghai they particularly like chestnuts cooked in poultry dishes, such as this one.


Quantity Ingredient
20 mid-section chicken wings or drumettes
125ml shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon ginger, very finely chopped
3 teaspoons cornflour
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
600g fresh chestnuts
625ml vegetable oil
250ml Chicken stock
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 star anise
2 pieces dried tangerine peel
2 tablespoons sugar
2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal, green part only


  1. Put the chicken wings in a large bowl. Combine 1 tablespoon of the rice wine, the ginger, cornflour and white pepper, then add to the chicken and toss to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Drain well, reserving the marinade. Pat the chicken wings dry using paper towel.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Using a small, sharp knife, cut a cross in the base of each chestnut, then place them in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast for 25 minutes, then cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, peel the chestnuts and remove the papery skin. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large wok over a high heat, then add the chicken wings in batches and cook for 6–7 minutes, or until golden. Remove with kitchen tongs and drain on paper towel.
  4. Pour off all the oil in the wok. Return the wok to a medium heat, add the remaining rice wine, stock, soy sauces, star anise, tangerine peel and sugar, then add the reserved marinade and chicken wings, and scatter the chestnuts over the top. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the wok and cook for 20 minutes, or until the chicken wings and chestnuts are tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened. If the sauce hasn’t reduced, remove the lid and boil for 3–4 minutes, or until thick and sticky. Transfer to a platter, scatter over the spring onions and serve.
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