Firstly, strip off the chestnut skin, and secondly, peel off the chestnut’s endothelium.
Some methods use a knife to cut a cross-shaped incision in the top of the chestnut, but this is dangerous and poses too much risk to the hands. My way is to put the chestnuts flat face down on the chopping board, and cut off the tail.
Then, insert the tip of a small knife at the tail of the chestnut and gently pry, cracking the skin, enabling it to peel away. Now, some of you might wonder what I’m talking about when I said peeling chestnuts can be challenging, but the most difficult step is yet to come!
The chestnut skin which wraps the outside of the pulp is very fragile, and you must be gentle with it so as not to tear it. The solution is to half-fill a small pot with water and heat it to about seven or eight degrees celsius, then turn it to low. Put five or six chestnuts into the water, blanching for about 3 minutes, which expands the skin making it easy to peel off.
Take a relatively small pot, pour in enough vegetable oil, to cover the chicken wings. Heat the stove to 180 degrees Celsius, and deep fry the chicken wings in batches, for 1-2 minutes each until the chicken wings turn slightly golden. Smell the fried chicken wings and you will find the effect of frying is more effective in getting rid of the smell than boiled water.
After the chicken wings have all been fried, take a heavy-based, non-stick pan, and preheat for 1 minute. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise and red pepper, and stir-fry constantly until fragrant.
When the edge of the garlic is golden yellow, put the fried chicken wings into the pot and stir-fry evenly. Add 30 g of sugar and continue to stir-fry until the sugar dissolves.
Add 30 ml of light soy sauce, 30 ml of dark soy sauce, 20 ml of cooking wine and 5 ml of sesame oil, and stir fry evenly.
Add 300 g of peeled chestnuts (do not stir-fry, let the chestnuts sit on top of the chicken wings), cover and cook for 11 minutes. While heating, open the lid every 2-3 minutes and flip a few chicken wings and chestnuts, and quickly replace the lid.
After 11 minutes remove the lid and cook to reduce the liquid to a small amount of transparent grease and brown caramel for serving. Take the pot to the table and serve straight from the pot.