Dark soy sauce along with regular soy sauce is what gives these wings their rich color (if you can’t find it, use regular soy sauce). We like to use all flats–arguably the best part of the wing!—but a mix with drumettes or whole wings works too.
Soy-Braised Chicken Wings
Servings: 8 regular or 16 small servings
- 2½ 4″-long cassia or cinnamon sticks
- 20 whole star anise
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. whole cloves
- 20 slices dried sand ginger (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
- 2½ tsp. sliced dried licorice root or fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. white peppercorns (optional)
Chicken Wings and Assembly
- 2 3″ pieces ginger, scrubbed, thinly sliced, divided
- ½ cup dark soy sauce, divided
- 20–24 chicken wing pieces (about 2½ lb.)
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 scallions, roots trimmed, halved crosswise
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 red finger or Fresno chile, halved lengthwise
- 3 oz. Chinese rock or lump sugar or ¼ cup raw sugar
- 3 whole star anise
- 2 pieces dried licorice root (optional)
- 1 4″-long cassia or cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground white pepper (optional)
- ¼ tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup unseasoned rice wine
- Thickly sliced cucumbers (for serving; optional)
- Toast cassia, star anise, cloves, sand ginger (if using), Sichuan peppercorns, licorice root, black peppercorns, and white peppercorns (if using) in a small skillet over medium, tossing once, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool; grind to a powder in spice mill or coffee grinder.
Chicken Wings and Assembly
- Mix half of ginger, ¼ cup dark soy sauce, and 1 tsp. Five-Spice Powder in a medium bowl. Add wings; toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
- Heat oil in a wok or large deep-sided skillet over medium-high. Add shallot, scallions, garlic, chile, and remaining ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add rock sugar, star anise, licorice root (if using), cassia, white pepper (if using), Sichuan peppercorns, and remaining 1 tsp. Five-Spice Powder and stir to combine. Pour in low-sodium soy sauce, remaining ¼ cup dark soy sauce, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Lift chicken wings out of marinade; discard marinade. Add wings to wok and pour wine over. Stir gently, then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low 15 minutes. Gently stir, then cover again and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through and a deep brown color, about 15 minutes longer. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer wings to a plate.
- Pour liquid in wok through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Return strained liquid to wok and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook until sauce thickly coats a spoon, 10–12 minutes. Return chicken wings to sauce and toss to coat. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer to a platter. Serve with cucumbers if using.