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Chinese Recipes
Savoury Chicken Wings or Gai Yeur
Chicken wings are a popular dish with Cantonese people and can be cooked in various ways. The same is true for Chicken Leg or drumsticks, which are called 'Gai Bei'. At late night street restaurants these are usually barbequed, often with too much inappropriate chilli powder.

Our home-cooked recipe is one my wife prepares frequently, and is delicious. She proffers subtle variations depending upon her mood, but I give the full recipe below.
Buyer Tip

Chicken wings and drumsticks are sold at every supermarket and wet market. These are often relatively small, so you may want to buy 1 dozen or more to feed a couple of people.

You will often find these frozen, which are ideal to take home for the freezer. Be careful at wetmarket's, as sometimes they defrost whilst on display - so smell them to ensure they are still fresh. Alternatively, buy fresh ones from one of the chicken counters. These will also tend to be a little larger.
Image: Gai Yeur marinade - Click to Enlarge
Recipe 1

Yesterday I watched my wife as she prepared these - and this is exactly what she did...


1. Wash the chicken wings and leave them to dry for a few minutes.
2. Take a handful of Kosher or Rock Salt and rub well into the wings using both hands (Over the bowl).
3. Cover well with Soy Sauce and leave to marinade for at least 1-hour.


Put the wok on to heat adding a teaspoon of cooking oil.
5. Smash one or two Chinese garlic and add to the wok, stirring well for the first few seconds.
6. Add the chicken wings and juice, stirring frequently to begin with. You are searing the outside to retain natural juices.
7. Add a little water by swilling it in the marinade dish first so as to keep all the juices, and then add to the wok. When bubbling away happily, stir well and reduce the heat to a slow simmer.
8. Cover and leave for 30 minutes, checking occasionally. You are looking to retain a little juice for cooking at all times - otherwise the wings will simply burn. Stir every 5-minutes or so.
9. Remove the lid and turn up the heat. If you time this correctly you can quickly burn away all the liquid and briefly brown the outsides.
10. Serve before they begin to burn.
Image: Gai Yeur - Click to Enlarge

Present to table in a suitable dish, and know these go extremely well with chips (Fries) and a home made salsa dip.

Version 2

As above until part 8. This time we are going to add a full cup of water or more (Still using the marinade dish), in order to create a light and beautiful natural gravy. A cup = half a pint. So picking up from above:

8. Add 1 cup of water and return to the boil. Stir well before reducing the heat to a slow simmer. Cover and leave for 30 minutes. Check every 5 minutes or so, topping up the water as it assimilates into a thin stock, and stir to prevent the chance of sticking.

9. Remove the lid and turn up the heat. Add water so the wings are semi covered in fluid. Add a pinch of salt and stir well in. Add a large pinch of Chicken Bouillon granules and again, stir well in. Pay attention for the next 5-minutes, as the bouillon acts in similar manner to cornflour, thickening the gravy. Therefore you are looking for a light gravy and may need to add more water. Keep stirring every few minutes. This should settle after 5 minutes.

10. Once you are happy with the consistency of the gravy, serve to table in an appropriate dish. I would serve this on a bed of potatoe discs (Like chips, but cut crosswise and boiled). They are also excellent with a simple bowl of rice.

Version 3

I find both recipes above deliver a beautifully succulent chicken of mild and exquisite taste. If you prefer something with a bit more 'zing', then here's what you do...

Follow the main recipe up to stage 8, and until there is little liquid remaining and you are about to start the final few minutes cooking.

9. This time we are going to add some hot chilli powder, which is readily available at any wetmarket. Alternatively you could add fresh chopped chilli's, or some chilli sauce - of which I highly recommend the Guilin version - See Condiments

Throw this into the wok as you turn up the heat and stir well in. We are looking to sear this onto the skin without burning, so it is quick and easy cooking. Perhaps 1 teaspoon of juice is all that remains in the wok when cooked.

Serve to table with a sour cream or sesame seed dip.

Other Versions

Add a tablespoon of Plum Sauce instead and flash fry for a sweeter alternative.

We cannot make 'Crispy Chicken Wings' properly using this method, as the marinade and cooking is quite different. For an authentic Char Siu version (Crispy Wings) please see our 'Siu Mei' Page.
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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