I’m pretty sure there’s nothing authentically Cantonese about these wings, but my mom has been making Cantonese Chicken Wings since we were kids. It’s a simple recipe with just a few ingredients but the result is tasty zesty tender wings. I’m guessing this is one of those women’s magazine recipes but don’t be fooled by the basic ingredients. The flavours really work together. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
WAY back in the day, chicken wings were cheap. Once the good parts like the legs and breasts were cut off, the wings were the pieces no one wanted. They were good for soup, but that was about it. My mom was amazing at creating meals on a budget and she could feed our family of 6 some pretty delicious meals without spending a fortune. Including this one.Click here to jump right to the recipe.
We all still make many of mom’s recipes. Except liver. None of us ever cook liver.
Now that chicken wings are popular they’re expensive and not always available. I don’t mean the tiny wing pieces that are mostly skin and bones. I’m talking about real full chicken wings. If you can’t find them you can make this with thighs or small drumsticks. I often do. But in keeping with the original recipe, I’m using real wings. They can vary in size so hopefully you can find some that aren’t too small.
The most important step is getting as much fat out of the skin as possible. This takes some patience but it’s worth it. Mix together oil and soy sauce. Well, mix as well as you can but you’ll see that they don’t combine well. Use cooking oil, NOT olive oil. You’re going to be searing the skin under the broiler and olive oil can’t withstand high heat as well as other oils. Canola or vegetable oil work well. You have to literally blacken the skin.
Brush the oil mixture over the wings, both sides. Arrange the wings in a baking dish with the outer skin side up.
Sprinkle brown sugar over the wings. The sugar helps give the skin that charred look. Then mix the celery seed and chili powder together and sprinkle over the chicken, reserving part of the sugar and spices for the other side.
Broil the first side until the skin starts to char in places. You probably want to have your hood fan going for this. Keep a close eye on them.
Turn the wings over and sprinkle the remaining sugar and spices over top. Broil again until they’re sizzling and blackening. Use the middle rack or a little higher but not right under the broiler so you don’t burn down your house. You may have to move them around at different angles to get the best position for ultimate blackening.
This takes maybe about 10 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile mix together tomato soup and vinegar. Yup, that’s the sauce. If you like a spicier sauce, add some Sriracha if you like. When you pour it over the wings, it mixes with the other ingredients and incorporates the flavours. And don’t be alarmed by the colour, it looks better once it’s cooked. Give the sauce a bit of a stir to incorporate the spices and oil at the bottom of the pan.
Turn the oven down to 325 and bake for 40-45 minutes. Uncovered. The sauce will thicken as it reduces but you’ll still have some in case you serve this with rice. I recommend it.
The meat will fall off the bone and the blackened skin is the best part.
Serve over rice. Then you get to eat more of the delicious tangy sauce!
Here’s the recipe:
Cantonese Chicken Wings
- 12 full chicken wings not the separated pieces
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil not olive oil
- 2 Tbsp soya sauce
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp celery seed
- pinch of salt if using reduced sodium soya sauce
- 1 can tomato soup
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- 1 tsp Sriracha Sauce optional
- Combine cooking oil and soya sauce. Brush over entire surface of both sides of the chicken wings. Arrange wings main skin side up in oven safe baking dish.
- Sprinkle brown sugar over the wings. Reserve half for the other side.
- Combine chili powder and celery seed. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the top side of the wings.
- Broil wings near the top of the oven, watching closely so they don't burn too much. You want them to blacken as evenly as possible. Move wings around to maximize blackening areas.
- Turn wings over once tops are well blackened, sprinkle remaining brown sugar then spice mix over top. Return to broiler and blacked other side.
- Adjust oven to 325 degrees set to bake. Mix together tomato soup and vinegar. Add Sririacha sauce for extra heat if desired. Turn wings so best skin side is facing up. Pour sauce evenly over top, stirring oil and spices from the bottom into the sauce and spooning over wings.
- Bake uncovered in centre of the oven for about 40 minutes until sauce is thickening and bubbling.
- Serve with rice if desired.