Chinese red braising is one of my all-time favourite cooking techniques – and this is one of my all-time favourite recipes. The flavours are the same as those found in master stock, which Chinese cooks save and use repeatedly in which to poach or braise meats. Here, though, the cooking liquid – deeply infused with sweet soy and spice flavours – is the dish's sauce.
8 organic free-range chicken thighs, bone in, skin on, cut in half across the bone
500ml Shaoxing wine
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4cm knob of ginger, thinly sliced
4 spring onions, cut into 2cm lengths, plus extra to serve
125ml peanut oil
½ cup Chinese dried chestnuts* soaked in boiling water for 1 minute (rub off skin afterwards)
125ml dark soy sauce
4 pieces dried tangerine peel*, soaked in hot water for 1 hour, then drained
8 star anise
6 cinnamon sticks
2 small dried red chillies
160g crushed yellow rock sugar
coriander sprigs, to serve
1. Combine the chicken, Shaoxing wine, garlic, ginger and spring onion in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel.
2. Heat a wok over high until smoking. Add the peanut oil and, when hot, add the chicken and stir-fry for about 5 minutes until nicely brown. Add the reserved marinade and cook for a minute, then add all the remaining ingredients, plus 1.5 litres water. Cover the wok, bring to the 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 aromatics, into 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 onion and coriander sprigs and serve with rice and steamed greens.
Tip: You can, of course, braise other meats – I'm particularly fond of red braised beef brisket at the moment. Depending on your choice, cooking times will vary.
Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.