A simple way to prepare Chinese-style braised chicken wings. The use of whole peppercorns makes this dish unusually aromatic. Only four ingredients required!
I’ve encountered quite a few people who believed Chinese cuisine was somehow intimidating. Yes, it can be! However, there are ways to make certain dishes simple and accessible without compromising the taste. Today’s Braised Chicken Wings with Peppercorns (胡椒鸡翅) is a good example of fuss-free recipes that require minimum effort and skill.
Where the inspiration came from
A few years ago, I was impressed by a chicken dish that I had in a Beijing restaurant. It was steamed pieces of chicken with lots of whole white peppercorns. Traditionally, when a Chinese recipe calls for pepper, it mostly refers to ground white pepper. So that chicken dish was rather unusual to me.
The white peppercorns made the dish spicy yet they didn’t create a burning sensation in my mouth (very different from what chilies do). The wonderful aroma lingered in my mouth for quite a while. It was such a memorable dish that I decided to replicate it at home.
My simple braised version
I’m not sure what ingredients were used in that particular restaurant dish. I tried to imitate it with four ingredients: chicken wings, white (or black) peppercorns, ginger and dark soy sauce. It worked wonderfully!
In order to make it fuss-free, I give it a couple of my own twists: using chicken wings instead of cutting a whole chicken into small pieces (too much bother for everyday cooking); braising it instead of steaming (so it can be done in any wok or pot).
Here is the cooking procedure:
- Fry coarsely crushed whole white (or black) peppercorns and ginger slices in oil until fragrant.
- Put in the chicken wings. Fry until lightly brown.
- Add dark soy sauce, salt and hot water. Leave to simmer for 25 mins or so (stir once halfway through).
Note: I don’t recommend that you use ground white (or black) pepper as a substitute. It doesn’t taste the same and it would get burnt easily when fried.
It goes well with many staples
This braised chicken wings has become one of our family favourites. It goes well with many kinds of staple foods, such as rice, noodles, potatoes or pasta, etc. I served it the other day with egg noodles and green beans as shown in the picture above. Also, you may serve them cold, as finger food for parties.
Other delicious chicken dishes
Versatile and tasty, chicken can be cooked in many delicious ways. Here are some other dishes you might find interesting:
- Char Siu Chicken (Roasted or Air-fried)
- Chinese Smoked Chicken
- Black Pepper Chicken Stir-fry
- Sichuan Mala Chicken
- Soy Sauce Chicken
Braised chicken wings with white pepper
- 10 chicken wings
- 1 tbsp whole white (or black) peppercorns
- 1 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 10 slices ginger
- 300 ml hot water, about 1 ¼ cups
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce, see note
- ½ tsp salt
- Scallions, finely chopped , for garnishing, optional
- Cresh chilies, finely chopped , for garnishing, optional
- Chop each chicken wing into 3 pieces by cutting through its 2 joints.
- Gently crush the whole peppercorns with the side of a knife to open them up a bit (but they should be still in the original shape).
- Put oil, ginger and the peppercorns in a wok. Fry over medium high heat until fragrant.
- Place the chicken pieces in. Stir fry until they are slightly brown.
- Add hot water, dark soy sauce and salt. Bring the water to a boil. Then cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 25 minutes or so (Stir once halfway through).
- Garnish with scallions and fresh chili before serving if you wish (optional).