Chicken wings are the unloved and unwanted part of a KFC bucket, joining green Skittles, Orange Cream biscuits, Miranda from Sex and the City, and Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child as voted Least Favourite in their respective groups.
However, pile a whole bunch of fried chicken wings in front of someone and suddenly they’re the best thing to eat ever. I experienced this phenomenon at LAX, of all the places to make a miraculous food discovery. Anyway, it was at a bar in Terminal Five, and the Spicy Chicken Wings were the only decent looking thing on the menu. I swear the 15 hour flight I had just taken was not causing me to hallucinate, these wings were absolutely delicious and if it weren’t for the fact that you only got 6 wings for $US15, I would have ordered 50 of them.
These are not your average flabby, fatty-skinned wings drowned in some kind of horrific vinegary chilli sauce. These will change your life if you can be bothered with the deep-frying – but they’re totally worth it. Would it be wrong to buy a deep fryer just for these? And more worryingly, have I really just turned into someone considering buying a deep fryer?
The trick to turning these wings into wingy perfection is the employing the double-frying technique which renders out the fat and makes them extra crispy despite the generous coating of spicy sweet sauce. They miraculously manage to retain their crunch for ages if you bathe them in the sauce immediately after pulling them from the fryer, some kind of scientific thing to do with the steam from the wings making contact with the sauce to prevent sogginess, but really who cares how it happens. It just happens and we should be grateful for that.
The problem is that you will eat many, many wings and it will never be enough. There is nothing better than crispy chicken skin, especially encasing that delicious morsel of chicken with a morish spicy sweet sticky glaze that you’ll love licking off your fingers. They’re so addictive that I would have suspected that these wings had crack added to them if it weren’t for the knowledge that I definitely didn’t add any crack to them.
Sweet & Spicy Glazed Chicken Wings
Adapted from norecipes.com
1kg chicken wings, separated at joints
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 medium clove grated garlic
2 tablespoons black vinegar
½ teaspoon chilli powder or to taste
vegetable oil for frying
sliced spring onion, for garnish
Pat chicken wings with kitchen paper to remove all moisture. Heat pan in a large pan to 160C, add the chicken wings and leave to fry for 10 minutes. The wings will not take much colour. Remove from the oil and let cool on some absorbent paper.
Make the glaze by putting the sugar, soy sauce, sake, mirin, ginger, and garlic in a shallow pan. Heat over medium high heat until the glaze is at a rolling boil. Stir in the vinegar, then transfer to a large bowl and allow the glaze to cool. The glaze will thicken a little as it cools, if it thickens too much, add a little water to thin it out.
Heat the oil again to 190C, add the chicken wings, taking care not to crowd the pot. Fry for 5 minutes or until the wings are crisp. Remove from the oil and add immediately to the glaze to coat. Garnish with spring onion. Serve straight away.