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Chinese Style Chicken Legs Recipe: Tips to Upgrade Your Dining Adventures

If you're looking for a new and exciting way to prepare chicken legs, why not try a Chinese-style recipe? With a range of delicious flavours and cooking methods, Chinese chicken leg recipes are sure to impress your friends and family.

A wok sizzles with marinated chicken legs, stir-frying in a savory Chinese sauce with ginger, garlic, and green onions

When it comes to essential ingredients for Chinese-style chicken legs, five-spice powder, soy sauce, and sesame oil are commonly used. You can also add garlic, ginger, and chilli for an extra kick of flavour. To make the dish even more interesting, you can also add seafood such as prawns or squid.

Preparation techniques for Chinese-style chicken legs can vary depending on the recipe, but marinating the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and spices is a common method. You can also coat the chicken in cornflour or potato starch to create a crispy texture when cooked. Once the chicken is prepared, you can either fry it, bake it, or stir-fry it with vegetables.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese-style chicken leg recipes use essential ingredients such as five-spice powder, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  • Adding seafood such as prawns or squid can make the dish even more interesting.
  • Preparation techniques can include marinating the chicken and coating it in cornflour or potato starch for a crispy texture.

Essential Ingredients

A sizzling wok with marinated chicken legs, surrounded by soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and green onions

When it comes to making Chinese-style chicken legs, there are a few key ingredients that you'll need to ensure that your dish is full of flavour and has that signature umami taste. In this section, we'll take a closer look at some of the essential ingredients that you'll need to make your dish a success.

Choosing the Chicken

When selecting chicken legs for your recipe, it's important to choose high-quality meat that is fresh and free from any signs of damage or discolouration. Look for chicken legs that are plump and juicy, with a good amount of fat and skin attached to help keep the meat moist during cooking.

Key Chinese Flavours

To give your chicken legs that classic Chinese flavour, you'll need to use a combination of key ingredients. Soy sauce is a must-have ingredient, and you'll need both light and dark soy sauce to achieve the perfect balance of saltiness and sweetness. Fresh ginger and garlic add a spicy kick to the dish, while oyster sauce and sesame oil give it a rich, savoury flavour.

Additional Seasonings

In addition to the key Chinese flavours, there are a few additional seasonings that you can use to add extra depth and complexity to your dish. Hoisin sauce and honey are both great options for adding sweetness, while garlic powder and sesame seeds can be used to add extra flavour and texture. Rice wine and scallions are also great additions that can help to balance out the flavours and add a fresh, aromatic note to the dish.

If you're feeling adventurous, you might even want to try adding some seafood to your chicken legs recipe. Shrimp or scallops can be a great addition, adding a briny, oceanic flavour to the dish. Just be sure to choose high-quality seafood that is fresh and free from any signs of spoilage.

Preparation Techniques

Chicken legs marinated in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Searing in a hot wok, then simmering in a savory sauce until tender. Garnished with green onions and sesame seeds

Marinating for Flavour

Marinating the chicken legs is an essential step in Chinese-style cooking. It helps to infuse the meat with flavour and keep it moist during cooking. The marinade typically consists of a combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and other spices. You can also add honey, lemon juice, or vinegar to balance the flavours.

To marinate chicken legs, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken legs. Cover the bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours. For best results, marinate the chicken overnight to allow the flavours to fully penetrate the meat.

If you want to add seafood to the recipe, try using shrimp or squid instead of chicken. Marinate them in the same way as the chicken, but for a shorter time, as seafood cooks faster than chicken.

Achieving Crispy Skin

Crispy skin is a hallmark of Chinese-style chicken legs. To achieve this, you need to use cornstarch as a coating and bake the chicken legs on a baking rack. The cornstarch helps to create a crispy crust, and the baking rack allows the heat to circulate evenly around the chicken legs, resulting in crispy skin all over.

To coat the chicken legs in cornstarch, mix the cornstarch with salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken legs in the mixture, making sure to coat them evenly. Shake off any excess cornstarch.

Place the chicken legs on a baking rack placed over a baking sheet. Bake them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

By following these simple preparation techniques, you can create delicious Chinese-style chicken legs with crispy skin and full of flavour.

Cooking Methods

Chicken legs sizzling in a wok with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Steam rises as they are flipped and coated in the savory sauce

Stir-Frying Basics

Stir-frying is a popular cooking method in Chinese cuisine, and it's perfect for cooking chicken legs. To start, heat up some vegetable oil in a wok or a large frying pan. You can also use cooking oil, but vegetable oil is preferred for its neutral taste.

Once the oil is hot, add your chicken legs to the pan and stir-fry them for a few minutes until they're browned on all sides. Then, add your vegetables of choice, such as peppers, onions, or broccoli. Keep stirring until the vegetables are cooked through but still crisp.

For added flavour, you can also add some soy sauce, garlic, and ginger to the pan. This will give your chicken legs a delicious Asian-inspired taste.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can even add some seafood to your stir-fry. Shrimp or scallops would be a great addition to this recipe.

Baking Chinese Style Chicken Legs

Baking is another great way to cook chicken legs Chinese style. Preheat your oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with a baking rack.

In a bowl, mix together some soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger. Then, coat your chicken legs in the sauce and place them on the baking rack.

Bake the chicken legs for about 30 minutes, or until they're cooked through and crispy on the outside. Serve with some steamed rice and vegetables for a complete meal.

If you want to switch things up, you can also try using different marinades or rubs for your chicken legs. Experiment with different spices and sauces to find your favourite flavour combination.

Serving Suggestions

A plate of Chinese-style chicken legs garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, accompanied by a side of steamed vegetables and a bowl of rice

Accompanying Dishes

When serving Chinese-style chicken legs, it is important to have the right accompanying dishes to complete the meal. A popular choice is to serve the chicken legs with steamed rice, which can absorb the delicious flavours of the chicken and sauce. Alternatively, you can serve fried rice with vegetables or stir-fried vegetables as a side dish.

If you have leftovers, you can use them to make a delicious chicken fried rice, which can be served as a meal on its own. Simply fry the leftover chicken legs with rice, vegetables, and eggs, and add soy sauce and sesame oil to taste.

Seafood can also be a great addition to the meal. You can add prawns or scallops to the stir-fried vegetables or serve a side of steamed fish with the chicken legs.

Garnishes and Toppings

Garnishes and toppings can add an extra layer of flavour and texture to your Chinese-style chicken legs. Green onions, also known as spring onions, are a popular garnish for this dish. You can chop them finely and sprinkle them over the chicken legs before serving.

Sesame seeds can also be used as a topping. Toasted sesame seeds have a nutty flavour that complements the savoury flavours of the chicken. You can sprinkle them over the chicken legs or mix them into the sauce.

When serving Chinese-style chicken legs, it is important to have a variety of dishes and toppings to complement the flavours of the chicken. With the right accompaniments, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that everyone will enjoy.

Shopping Tips

A chef browses the market, selecting fresh chicken legs and vibrant Chinese ingredients for a flavorful recipe

When it comes to creating an authentic Chinese-style chicken legs recipe, using the right ingredients is crucial. Here are some shopping tips to help you find the best ingredients and substitutes for hard-to-find items.

Finding Authentic Ingredients

To ensure that your Chinese-style chicken legs recipe is as authentic as possible, it's best to shop at a Chinese grocery store. These stores typically carry a wide range of authentic Chinese ingredients, including soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and rice wine.

When shopping for these ingredients, look for brands that are made in China or Hong Kong. These brands are more likely to use traditional recipes and methods, resulting in a more authentic taste.

Substitutes for Hard-to-Find Items

If you're unable to find some of the ingredients at a Chinese grocery store, there are some substitutes you can use. For example, if you can't find oyster sauce, you can use hoisin sauce instead. If you can't find rice wine, you can use dry sherry or white wine vinegar.

When substituting ingredients, keep in mind that the taste may be slightly different. However, it's still possible to create a delicious Chinese-style chicken legs recipe using substitutes.

As a suggestion, you can also use seafood to add more flavour to your recipe. For instance, you can use prawns or scallops to create a seafood and chicken legs dish. These seafood options can be purchased at your local seafood market or grocery store.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sizzling wok tosses marinated chicken legs with aromatic Chinese spices, filling the air with a mouthwatering aroma

How can I make a simple Chinese-style chicken leg dish?

Making a simple Chinese-style chicken leg dish is easy. You can marinate chicken legs in a mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and ginger for at least 30 minutes. Then, you can stir-fry the chicken legs with vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, and onions. You can also add some seafood such as shrimps or scallops to the stir-fry to give it a unique flavour.

What are some easy Chinese-style recipes for chicken legs and thighs?

Some easy Chinese-style recipes for chicken legs and thighs are braised chicken drumsticks, honey chicken drumsticks, and Cantonese chicken legs. These recipes involve marinating the chicken legs or thighs in a mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and other spices, then cooking them in a pan or oven until they are tender and juicy.

How do I bake chicken legs in the oven with a Chinese twist?

To bake chicken legs in the oven with a Chinese twist, you can marinate them in a mixture of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, and garlic for at least 30 minutes. Then, you can bake them in the oven at 190°C for 45-50 minutes, or until they are cooked through. You can also add some seafood such as prawns or squid to the marinade for an extra flavour.

Can I prepare boneless chicken legs with Chinese flavours, and how?

Yes, you can prepare boneless chicken legs with Chinese flavours. You can marinate the boneless chicken legs in a mixture of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, and ginger for at least 30 minutes. Then, you can stir-fry the chicken legs with vegetables such as broccoli, mushrooms, and snow peas. You can also add some seafood such as mussels or clams to the stir-fry for a seafood twist.

What's a good recipe for soy sauce marinated chicken drumsticks?

A good recipe for soy sauce marinated chicken drumsticks is to mix soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil in a bowl. Then, marinate the chicken drumsticks in the mixture for at least 30 minutes. After that, you can grill or bake the chicken drumsticks until they are cooked through. You can also add some seafood such as lobster or crab to the marinade for a seafood twist.

How do I differentiate between the cuts of chicken legs and drumsticks?

Chicken legs consist of two parts, the thigh and the drumstick. The thigh is the upper part of the leg, while the drumstick is the lower part. The drumstick is smaller and more pointed than the thigh. When buying chicken legs, you can usually see the separation between the thigh and the drumstick.