My family loves chicken wings—be it fried chicken wings, grilled chicken wings, or braised chicken wings. The meat is easy to cook and hard to mess up. Unlike chicken breast, where I often find the meat can be tough or dry, the meat on chicken wings are mostly juicy and tender and easy to prepare.
The recipe below is for a Chinese-style chicken wing dish that I have been cooking for my family for years. The wings are aromatic, savory, yet a bit sweet. The shiitake mushrooms complement nicely with the chicken wings. They add an umami flavor to the wings but are also mouthwatering by themselves. I made some small changes to the ingredients from the way I prepare this dish at home to make it more easily accessible—fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of dried ones and white sugar instead of rock sugar. But if you have either alternative in stock, feel free to use them instead.
Chicken wings are fairly quick to cook through. To check if chicken wings are really done, an instant-read thermometer can be used to make sure that the internal temperature has reached 165 degree °F or ~75 degree °C (according to foodsafty.gov). The juice should also run clear when cut or pierced.
Active Time: 20 min
Total Time: 40 min
- 1.5 pounds of chicken wings (About 10 wings); Make sure to separate the wingette and drumette and discard the tips 1
- 1 large yellow or white onion; sliced
- 4 to 5 shiitake mushrooms 2; sliced
- 2 to 3 dried small chili peppers (optional) 3
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup soy sauce 4
- 1 tablespoon sugar 5
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large sautépan or skillet over medium-high heat. If using a skillet, make sure it has some depth. When the pan is getting hot, add the sliced onions and immediately use a spatula to toss and stir the onions.
- Continuously toss the onion slices for about 2 minutes to make sure the onion slices are cooked evenly. Add chicken wings to the pan and toss the chicken wings and onions together.
- After 5 minutes of tossing, the chicken wings should start to look plump (they are still fairly raw on the inside). Pour the soy sauce, sugar, shiitake mushroom slices, and dried chili peppers (optional) over the mixture. Toss and stir again to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
- Close the lid and turn the heat to low to maintain a simmering state. Let everything cook for about 15 minutes. Occasionally uncover the lid to turn/flip the chicken wings so all sides are glazed with a nice caramel color from the soy sauce. No water is needed since there will be enough liquid from the soy sauce, the shiitake mushrooms, and the natural juice from the chicken wings.
- After about 15 minutes, the chicken wings should be ready to serve. All the wings should have an even caramel color.
- Here I used 1 pack (out of 3) of the Organic Chicken Party Wings from Costco. They came separated so you don’t need to separate the wingette from the drumette yourself. Also the tips are not included, which is nice.
- Discard the stems of the shiitake mushrooms. Each mushroom cap can yield 4 to 5 slices. Ideally, this recipe calls for dried shiitake mushrooms. I find dried shiitake mushrooms more flavorful than fresh ones. However, it takes up to an hour to properly rehydrate them, which is a luxury that many of us home cooks do not have these days. Luckily, most American grocery stores carry fresh shiitake mushrooms these days. I got mine from Trader Joe’s. If you have dried shiitake mushrooms in your pantry, just put 4 or 5 medium-sized ones in a bowl and pour hot water over them so they are completely immersed. Cover the bowl with a plate to trap the hot air and leave it for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Once rehydrated, the caps will become tender again. Gently squeeze out some of the water and discard the stems from the caps.
- If you do not like spicy/hot foods, skip the dried chili peppers. The dried chili peppers I used here are quite mild. They add just a little bit of kick.
- Here I used San-J Tamari gluten free soy sauce because my husband is currently on a gluten free diet. I must confess that I actually find this tamari gluten free soy sauce tastier than most of the traditional soy sauces (生抽) I’ve used before. The drawback is that it is more expensive than traditional soy sauce (Gluten-free is not cheap!). If you are not gluten allergic or sensitive, any light soy sauce (not the dark kind for coloring purposes) can be used here.
- Ideally, rock sugar or rock candy should be used. Rock sugar or candy is commonly used in Chinese cuisine. They are usually light yellow or white in color and are mostly irregular shaped. If you have rock sugar or candy in hand, use 1 to 2 medium or 3 to 4 small rocks.