March 11, 2018

These soy-glazed chicken wings are a dish from Ben’s childhood that really live up to the memories. His mom makes it almost every time we go over for dinner, and it’s a tasty treat that is gobbled up in minutes every single time. Everybody loves it. For years, I kept asking her for her recipe and method, and she didn’t have a recipe, but insisted it was really simple- just simmer the down the wings in a soy sauce mixture with Chinese rock sugar. That was it.

I tried to recreate it a few times, following various recipes I found online for proportions, but always ended up with something that came out beige-ish and tasting like boiled chicken wings… with some soy sauce. They did not hit the spot. Last time we had dinner at her place, I asked again for her method, determined to figure this recipe out. She must have known I would ask, and smiled as she pulled out a bag of rock sugar she had set aside just for me.

How did she know I still hadn’t actually tried it with rock sugar? (I have like 25 lbs of white and brown sugar already at home- it’s hard to justify buying more haha). Well, she was right, and guys: IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. It had that extra special flavor and gave that extra syrupy sheen that was missing before.

But I didn’t know that until I went home and decided to just kind of wing it (har har) instead of using an online recipe. I made two other adjustments this time, increasing the amount of soy sauce and keeping the wings in one single layer in the pan. I used my potsticker method: pan-frying for a bit, then adding liquid (sauce instead of water though) and letting them simmer down until almost all the liquid evaporated. I guess that’s kind of like braising?

Anyway, they turned out AMAZING. The wings had a rich, glossy sauce and were finger-licking DELICIOUS. I am happy to say that we have a new easy weeknight go-to chicken recipe to add to the mix! Try these, and maybe you will, too!

A note on rock sugar (aka rock candy or Chinese lump sugar): Another reason I had never tried it with the rock sugar before was that rock sugar is kind of a mystery to me. I wasn’t sure exactly where to find it, how to pick the right one, how much to use, or how to get the size I needed. Actually, I still don’t know much, but here are some suggestions: go to a Chinese supermarket, like 99 Ranch, and look for something like the package pictured above. I guess you can also buy it here on Amazon (but it looks like the 16oz package I have was under $2).

Soy Glazed Chicken Wings
My closest approximation to what Ben’s mom makes
*All measurements are guesses at what I had used- I will measure more precisely next time and update with more accurate numbers and units if needed!



  1. Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, and broth together. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add wings in one layer (meaty side down) and let cook for half a minute. Add soy sauce mixture, so that the sauce mostly covers the layer of wings. If you need, add more broth. Add the rock sugar to the pan, stirring occasionally until it is melted into the sauce. (I just kind of shook the sauce around every time I flipped the wings and at some point it was all melted).
  3. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover and let simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Flip the wings over so both sides get nice and saucy. Cover and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Flip the wings one more time and leave the cover off. Let the sauce reduce until it is thick like syrup. Use a spatula to remove the wings (save and refrigerate the sauce and use it to flavor your next stir-fry!) and garnish with green onions. Enjoy!

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