8 organic free-range chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on, halved on the bone
500ml Shaoxing wine
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cm ginger, cut into thin strips
4 spring onions, cut into 2cm lengths, plus extra for serving
125 ml peanut oil
½ cup Chinese dried chestnuts* soaked in boiling water for 1 minute (remove skin afterwards)
125ml dark soy sauce
4 pieces of dried mandarin peel*, soaked in hot water for 1 hour, then drained
8 star anise
6 cinnamon sticks
2 small dried red chillies
160g crushed yellow sugar
cilantro sprigs, for serving
1. Combine chicken, Shaoxing wine, garlic, ginger and spring onion in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel.
2. Heat a wok over high heat until smoking. Add the peanut oil and when hot, add the chicken and sauté for about 5 minutes until nicely browned. Add the reserved marinade and cook for one minute, then add all the remaining ingredients, plus 1.5 liters of water. Cover the wok, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and all the herbs to a bowl. Return the sauce to a boil until it thickens (5 to 10 minutes), then pour it over the chicken.
4. Garnish with spring onions and cilantro sprigs and serve with rice and steamed vegetables.
Point: You can, of course, braise other meats – I’m particularly fond of the braised red beef brisket at the moment. Depending on your choice, cooking times will vary.
Discover more Neil Perry recipes in the Good food New classics recipe book.