Enjoy the authentic flavors of this sweet and savory Slow Cooker Chinese Soy Sauce Chicken Wings.
Did any of you watch the preview episodes of Fresh Off The Boat last week? This series is based off the life of Eddie Huang, a chef and food personality, who wrote Fresh Off The Boat: A Memoir. I’ve been waiting for the season to begin for a while, anxious to see if this comedy will help dispel some of the stereotypes of Chinese Americans. The first of the two preview episodes got 7.93 million viewers, becoming the second highest rated comedy premiere this season, and the second episode was watched by 7.56 million viewers. I was really surprised by these numbers.
As a first generation Chinese American, who is married to another first generation Chinese American, I’m just as American as many of my friends. I’ve never been to China, Hong Kong or Taiwan (the closest I’ve come is my trip to Singapore, Bali and Vietnam many years ago). My kids don’t speak a lick of Chinese (although two have tried to learn and given up for the time being, saying it’s too hard), and my youngest son says he doesn’t like Chinese food (I’m hoping he’ll grow to like it). Yet, because we look Chinese or Asian, people assume we were not born in America. Whenever I’m asked where I’m from and I say Maryland, they look at me strangely, and aren’t quite sure what to make of what I just told them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my Chinese heritage, but I never understood why an Italian American or Irish American was anymore American than me.
Just last week, my son’s coach asked him what he was studying in social studies, and when he said China, his coach said, “Well, that should be easy for you,” to which my son responded, “Not really” because sadly he doesn’t know anymore about China than he does about the rest of the world. Then, the coach followed up with, “Do your parents speak Chinese?” to which he answered, “Not really.” My husband and I do speak some Chinese (thanks to Sunday Chinese school for me and summer Chinese lessons for my husband imposed by our Chinese immigrant parents), but I find it interesting that most people don’t ask Italian Americans if they speak Italian, or Swedish Americans if they speak Swedish. I’m sure his coach was even more confused when he asked my son what he was having for dinner and he told him “Calzone.”
My kids have grown up in a largely caucasian community, and have endured some teasing and ethnic jokes, albeit no where near as much as my generation. Sometimes I think my youngest son tries too hard to “fit in” and act like he’s not Asian. Perhaps that’s why this middle school-aged child refuses to eat any Asian food. Honestly, I haven’t done a very good job of carrying down many Chinese traditions. For Christmas Eve, our traditional dinner is Chinese Hot Pot, and when my kids were young, I’d make a special meal for Chinese New Year (with some “lucky” food), and give them red packets of money. My husband and I have tried to instill good values in our children, many of which are good old Chinese values – the importance of working hard, getting a good education and saving money. And, we’ve worked really hard to keep our family unit close.
The most Chinese thing about me is probably the fact that I love eating and cooking authentic Chinese food. However, these authentic Chinese meals are usually reserved for our own family, our Asian American friends, and close friends. So, when I made these Slow Cooker Chinese Soy Sauce Chicken Wings for our Super Bowl party a few weeks ago, I have to admit I was a little nervous about serving authentic Chinese chicken wings to our guests, most of whom have never eaten authentic home cooked Chinese food.
I’m hoping Fresh Off The Boat helps illuminate the general public not only on what it’s like to be an immigrant family trying to assimilate into the American culture, but also the American born children of immigrants, and the next generations to come. I also hope “Americans” will become more curious about authentic Chinese cuisine and want to give it a try at home.
Now, let’s get onto these Chinese Soy Sauce Wings…ginger, garlic, scallions and star anise are the aromatic ingredients in this recipe, and a combination of dark and regular soy sauce are used to achieve both flavor and a beautiful color.
You can certainly use other parts of the chicken for this recipe – I just used wings because you have to have wings for Super Bowl. I suggest making this dish in advance and refrigerating it so you can scoop off any excess fat that floats up to the top of the sauce. The sauce is so flavorful and delicious over rice, grains or noodles.
Fresh Off The Boat is on Tuesdays at 8PM EST on ABC. Watch it and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear.
Slow Cooker Chinese Soy Sauce Wings
- 1 teaspoons oil
- 1 piece ginger the size of a quarter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 scallion cut into 1" pieces
- 3 pounds chicken wing pieces
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
- 4 tablespoons organic sugar
- 1 star anise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar I used apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
Heat oil in small skillet and saute ginger, garlic and scallion until fragrant. Transfer to slow cooker along with chicken wings, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, star anise, vinegar and chicken stock. Cook on high for 2 hours. Leave on warm until serving time.
Thank you Jeanette for the nice recipe. Sorry you and your family had to go through this, but that’s life I guess. Have a wonderful day and week.
Thanks for your comment Liz – I think we all experience stereotyping at some point in our life, and it’s good for character building. America is such a wonderful melting pot – I just hope generations to come will feel just as welcome as other Americans.
Jenny Flake says
Those wings look amazing & I just love slow cooker recipes!!
I keep seeing dark soy sauce in Asian recipes – a style of cooking that I’m really interested in! – and would love to know what it is compared to soy sauce.
And I read that Eddie Huang hated the final product of Fresh Off the Boat.
Beth – dark soy sauce is not as salty as regular soy sauce. Some have molasses added to them. I love Mushroom soy sauce which is naturally dark. And, yes, I also read that Eddie Huang didn’t like the way Fresh Off the Boat portrayed his story. No matter, I hope the series sparks some thought provoking conversation around the dinner table and helps dispel stereotypes that I think many people have of different ethnic cultures, not just Asians.
Yay! I’ve actually been kindasorta craving Chinese food (for once! :O :O ) lately, and my slow cooker needs some use, so this recipe will be perfect! <3
On a different note, I'm sorry that your kids had to endure teasing and ethnic jokes. :[ I grew up in a predominantly Asian community (why hello, bay area!), but have gotten some comments out here–mostly more out of ignorance than actual racism. I really hope that someday, it'll be welcoming in this country for any gender, race or orientation.
Farrah, I completely agree with you – I really do think a lot of the teasing is just out of ignorance, mis-information and stereotyping. We all stereotype to some degree, so I get that. I just hope that one day people stop making assumptions based on the way you look, and try to see people for who they are inside.
Hi Jeanette! I’ve been an immigrant in several countries (America being the first) so I can understand much of what you are saying. I don’t think it should matter where your parents or you are born, or what you look like on the outside, or what kind of food one eats. The world is a big place with so many beautiful cultures and delicious foods to eat, one needs but an open mind.:)
You’re chicken wings sound and look delectable, saving the recipe. And thanks for the tip on the show I’m quite interested in it now.
Nancy – I couldn’t agree more. An open mind is one of the best assets anyone can hope for. It’s not always easy to understand or see things from other people’s perspectives, but it can really change the way we view people when we do.
This is such a great post, Jeanette. My husband and I are first generation as well and although we grew up in a large city – we still experienced some teasing and stereotyping when we were growing up. I’m sorry that your kids and your son is currently enduring these type of comments 🙁 That makes me so sad to hear. My son is starting school in September and since we moved to a smaller town, we are just hoping that the kids and adults don’t take it too far that it can become too hurtful. My husband and I watched the premiere of the series and we hope it helps people to have a better understanding about different cultures as well.
These wings look absolutely amazing! Love the flavors and the fact that it’s made in the slow cooker!
Kelly – fortunately it’s not as bad for my kids as it was when I was growing up, and my son did say that it’s gotten better this year. Perhaps as the kids mature and get to know each other better, they realize they’re really not that different from each other. Every family has their own heritage of which they should be proud of, and traditions that they celebrate and hand down generation to generation. One’s not better than the other, just different, and I hope my kids will be proud of theirs.
It’s only 9am but all I want are these wings. Love the flavors!
Thanks Matt – these are great for a party – and you could start them at 9AM since they’re cooked in the slower cooker 😉
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have a 4qt slow cooker and would only fit 1.5 lbs of chicken wings… do you suggest I half all other ingredients listed after the chicken wings as well?
Hi Ann, I would reduce the amount of wet ingredients and sugar. You could probably leave the aromatics the same.
Just about to put chicken the slow cooker thanks for your receipe.
Hope you enjoy this recipe Leah!
i am from Malaysia. What does 1 piece of ginger a size of a quarter mean?
also, can i substitute chicken stock to water?
A piece of ginger, about 1 inch in diameter and 1/2″ thick
Slice a piece of ginger about 1″ in diameter and 1/2″ thick. If you use water in place of chicken stock, you may want to add more seasoning such as soy sauce or salt for flavor