SWEET CHILI-GLAZED CHICKEN WINGS
This recipe represents yet another entry into the Game Day Food Hall of Fame. I guess I have football on the brain, or I just can’t get enough of the typical game day offerings — savory, salty homemade junk food. I made these a few years ago for a Super Bowl party and they were gone within minutes. I too loved the wings, but felt like something was missing. I had followed the instructions of the original recipe and baked the wings in a hot oven. They had great flavor due to an overnight soak in cilantro, soy, ginger, garlic and red chili, but I quickly realized that the texture of a baked wing (i.e. flabby chicken skin) was not my favorite. I needed the crispy-crunch of well-rendered chicken skin — something I was never going to get unless I fried them. So, using a few tricks I picked up from another wing recipe, I tossed the chicken in a bit of rice flour before frying them to a delicious golden brown. After a quick toss in the oh-so sticky, sweet chili-glaze I was left with what I consider to be one of the best finger foods around.
If you’re planning on doing any Super Bowl entertaining of your own or you just love a good wing, think about giving this recipe a try. The asian flavor profile is a welcome alternative to the usual hot sauce/butter laden buffalo wing. If you’re looking for a special main course, serve these guys atop a bowl of sticky rice to sop up all of that sweet-chili glaze.
SWEET CHILI-GLAZED CHICKEN WINGS
Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine, July 1997
If you’re adverse to the idea of frying, these wings can be baked on a sheet pan in a 400° for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown. If you decide to fry them, dredging the wings in rice flour before doing so will ensure the formation of an extra crispy crust. If you’re having a hard time finding rice flour, you can omit this step and proceed to frying the wings after you’ve thoroughly dried them with paper towels. Making the glaze is a simple affair, just be careful not to over-reduce the sauce to the point of a caramel. You will know the glaze is ready when it coats the back of a spoon. The resulting glaze is especially sweet, so if you want a bit more of a sour bite to your wings, don’t be afraid to scale back the amount of sugar that is called for here. Looking for a bit more heat? Add more chili-garlic sauce. Less heat? Just reduce the crushed red pepper called for in the dish.
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tablesp00ns minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup rice flour
- Oil for deep frying (such as peanut oil, canola, grapeseed or vegetable)
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- Cut each chicken wing in half at the joint and remove/discard wingtips. Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag.
- Mix oil, cilantro, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons garlic, ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes in a bowl until well combined. Pour the marinade into the plastic bag and turn to coat the chicken evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight. Toss the contents of the bag from time to time to ensure even distribution of the marinade.
- Remove the chicken wings from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before frying to allow them to come to room temperature. Drain the chicken wings from the marinade and dry them thoroughly using paper towels. Place the rice flour in a shallow plate and set aside.
- Pour the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of 2” and heat until a candy thermometer registers 350° F. Preheat the oven to 200° F.
- Meanwhile, while the oil is coming up to temperature, make the glaze. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, water, chili-garlic sauce along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes and 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to a thick, syrupy glaze, about 20 minutes.
- When the oil has reached 350°, toss the chicken wings in the rice flour, patting off any excess. Working in 2 batches, fry the wings, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking to one another, until each is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes total. Transfer when done to a wire rack set over a sheet tray and keep warm in the oven until all of the wings are fried. Repeat with remaining chicken wings.
- Once all of the wings are fried, combine them with the glaze in a large bowl and toss to cover and coat them evenly. Transfer the glazed wings to a serving platter and garnish with the sliced green onions. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 appetizer servings