Shanghai-Style Five-Spice Chicken Wings

“While this recipe calls for chicken wings it also works beautifully using a three-pound chicken cut into 16-20 bone-in pieces. I often cook one piece before the others so I can taste it and adjust the seasonings, primarily checking for salt and five-spice powder. We like it as is, but if you prefer a crispier coating, dredge the marinated chicken in additional dry cornstarch before frying.”—Ed Schoenfeld, New York-based restaurant consultant, with a specialty in Chinese food.

Ingredients:

3 pounds chicken wings, left whole or trimmed into first and second joints with tips discarded or saved for stock
1 egg
1 tablespoon Shaoshing rice wine or good quality dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce (Kikkoman suggested)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder
2 cinnamon sticks
8 star anise
1-inch piece fresh ginger, smashed
3 scallions, white parts only, crushed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
6 tablespoons cornstarch
6 cups vegetable oil

Directions:

Mix wings with marinade ingredients (everything except the vegetable oil), then cover and refrigerate for four to six hours or overnight, so the flavors penetrate.

Heat six cups of vegetable oil in a wok until it is 350°F (177°C). Remove the wings from the marinade, scraping away and discarding any hard bits of anise or ginger that may stick. One by one, place the wings in the preheated oil, and fry over high heat for six to eight minutes until browned and cooked through. Drain wings, and then transfer them to a paper towel-lined pan to absorb any extra oil. Keep warm in a 225°F (107°C) oven while frying remaining wings.

Servings: Serves six.

Shanghai Spring Rolls

Michael Tong introduced spicy, regional Chinese cuisine to the U.S. in the 1960s through his popular Shun Lee restaurants. The Shun Lee Cookbook: Recipes from a Chinese Restaurant Dynasty adapts many of the restaurants’ most popular recipes—including this one for spring rolls—for use in home kitchens.

Ingredients:

3 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 x 1/4-inch strips
1/2 large egg white (beat a whole egg white until foamy and measure out half)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups canned chicken broth or water
1 pound fresh bean sprouts
1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots, thin inch-long slices
4 Chinese dried black mushrooms, soaked until soft, trimmed, and cut into thin 1-1/2-inch-long strips
1/2 carrot, cut into inch-long strips
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and finely chopped
1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
Pinch of ground white pepper
Vegetable oil
1 large egg
12 spring roll wrappers
Chinese plum sauce and Chinese mustard, optional

Directions:

Mix chicken, egg white, and cornstarch in bowl and set aside. Bring stock to boil in wok over high heat. Add bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, carrot, and salt. Cook over high heat for two minutes. Add shrimp and chives, and cook for another minute, and drain. Transfer to a clean cloth kitchen towel, and twist the cloth hard to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Transfer filling to a medium bowl, and add sesame oil and a pinch of white pepper. Clean the wok.

Heat the wok over high heat. Add oil one-inch deep, and heat to 300°F (149°C). Add chicken and stir gently to keep pieces from sticking together. When they turn white (about 45 seconds), transfer chicken to filling using a wire-mesh strainer. Cover the mixture and place in freezer for ten minutes for easier handling. Discard oil. Clean and dry wok.

Beat whole egg until frothy. Place a spring roll wrapper on a cutting board with one corner facing you. Place a heaping tablespoon full of the filling on the bottom third of the wrapper, and spread it out horizontally so that the filling is two-and-a-half-inches wide. Roll the bottom point of the wrapper over the mixture, fold the sides in, brush some egg over the top point, and finish rolling the wrapper bottom to top. Set on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers.

Heat wok over high heat, add two inches of oil, and heat to 350°F (177°C). Deep-fry spring rolls, working in batches. Turn once and remove when golden brown, about two to three minutes. Place on paper towels to drain. Cut each roll in half diagonally and serve immediately, with plum sauce and mustard for dipping.

Servings: Serves four to six.

Wok-Seared Fish in Wine Sauce

Martin Yan, certified master chef and host of the PBS television series Martin Yan’s Chinatown, shares this Shanghai-inspired fish recipe from his 2002 cookbook Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking.

Ingredients:

3/4 pound firm-fleshed white fish fillets, such as halibut, sea bass, or grouper
1 dried wood ear mushroom
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup fish stock or dissolved seafood bouillon
1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon fermented rice
2 teaspoons sugar
Vegetable oil
1/4 cup carrots, sliced thinly
1/4 cup sliced bamboo shoots
3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps halved
4 thin slices peeled ginger
1 scallion, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths

Directions:

Cover wood ear mushroom with water in bowl. Soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain and cut into thin strips.

Stir one teaspoon wine, cornstarch, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl to create a marinade. Toss the fish gently in the mixture to coat and let it sit for ten minutes.

Stir together 1/4 cup wine, the fish stock or boullon, fermented rice, and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.

Heat a wok over high heat. Pour in a half-inch of oil. When the oil is very hot, add marinated fish and cook, turning once, just until the fish begins to flake (two minutes per side). Remove fish with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Spoon off all but one tablespoon of the oil in the wok.

Return wok to high heat. Add wood ear, carrots, bamboo, shiitake, ginger, and scallion, and stir-fry until carrots are tender, two to two-and-a-half minutes. Pour in the seasonings and bring to a boil. Return fish to the pan and cook, stirring gently so fish stays intact (one minute).

Servings: Serves four.

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