We all love chicken wings, right? There’s something so decadent about eating some crispy fried bite of something with your fingers. It’s even better if it’s got a some heat in my opinion. I tend to be pretty picky about my wings though. They have to be EXTRA crispy – I don’t like the skin to be soft or gummy at all. Ick. So I rarely get them when we go out because most places just can’t get them “right” enough for me. And I rarely make them at home because it’s kind of a pain and mess to fry so many tiny little things. But sometimes it’s just worth it.
A couple of Super Bowl’s back, I made Buffalo wings at my in-laws’ house. They are pretty healthy eaters and tend to have really great table manners. So it was really fun to make a bunch of bar/finger foods and watch everyone just dive in and get messy. My first experience making wings at home was about 20 years ago. When Chef J was just starting out, he temped for a small catering company that made the best Asian wings. The first time we made them, I’m sure we had a recipe or at least ratios. But over the years, it morphed into something of our own simply because we no longer had the original recipe and had only a general idea of the ingredients.
This is definitely a bit of a process but if you are hosting a party for a big game or something, I would keep this recipe ready to go. You won’t disappoint anyone!
Spicy Asian Chicken Wings
- 2 lbs chicken wings, wing tips removed (save for a stock later) and separated into wings and drummettes
- 2 T Chinese Five Spice Powder (available in most supermarkets)
- 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1/4 C cornstarch
- 1 t salt
- 1 t pepper
- 2 inches ginger, peeled and minced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1-2 T sesame oil
- 3/4 C hoisin sauce
- 1/2 – 3/4 C hot sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot)
- 1/4 – 1/3 C low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 – 1/3 C honey
- Cooking oil (I used vegetable oil) to fill your cooking pot about 2 -3 inches
- about 1/4 C fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish, optional
- 2-3 T sesame seeds for garnish, optional
Mix together Five Spice, flour, corn starch, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over chicken pieces, tossing to coat evenly. Set them aside while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. I find it best to bread about half of them at a time as they can get pretty gummy while the others are cooking.
Heat sesame oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook just until fragrant, about a minute or two. Stir in hoisin, hot sauce, soy, and honey. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired (the hoisin or honey will make it a little sweeter, the hot sauce spicier, the soy saltier). Turn heat to low and keep warm until ready to use, stirring occasionally.
Heat about 2-3 inches cooking oil in a large, deep pot to about 350F (I like to use an enameled cast iron here as it holds the heat better than just about anything else). If you don’t have a thermometer, drop one chicken wing in. If it doesn’t sizzle, your oil is too cold. If it pops and spatters, your oil may be too hot.
Drop in your wings one at a time being careful not to burn yourself or splash hot oil everywhere. Don’t crowd the pan, you’ll do this in batches of 6-8 wings depending on the size of your pot. Turn the wings periodically until they are desired crispness on all sides, probably about 15 minutes per batch. Remove with a spider strainer or slotted spoon to a large stainless steel bowl as you finish each batch. Drizzle with sauce and toss to coat completely. It is important to do this as soon as they come out of the oil as they will soak up the saucy goodness. You don’t want them too soupy so only add as much sauce as you need each time. Put coated wings on a serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro and sesame seeds, if desired.