Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sticky Fingers--Chicken Wings Asian Style

I'm not talking about the Rolling Stones album but a surefire way to reach for a napkin! Hey its the universal bar food favorite, chicken wings. Though my wings probably belong in a bar with a Asian overtones. I have been making these Chinese-style wings for years. Discovered in a Better Homes and Garden book on Chinese cooking, these wings have taken on a life of their own. The basics are soy sauce and hoisin. Other flavorings have steadily crept in. Sriracha, chili garlic paste, sweet chili sauce and even kecap manis. It all depends on the mood of the day. Then again doesn't all meal inspiration stem from the kind of day you are having???? Especially if you are the chief cook and bottle washer!

I tasted wings for the first time almost thirty years ago when my husband made me eat his then favorite Atomic Wings in New York City. I wasn't impressed but politely ate a few to please him. Newly married, I didn't want to rain on his enthusiasm. Back then I wasn't much of a chicken eater.  But by now the family and maybe you have figured that I am not even a big wing fan. And there is a valid reason for that. Twenty five years ago Geets and I ventured into catering territory, when we had a huge order for chicken makhanwala. The two of us along with John and Glenn helping us, sat up till the wee hours of the morning, cleaning 40 pounds of legs and thighs. Lady Macbeth would've had an easier time washing off that smell! And so a minor aversion to chicken was born for the both of us. Our spouses escaped unscathed!! Redoubtedly we both still endeavor to cook the bird and it's many parts

Perennially a favorite, I try to make wings a little heart-healthy by roasting them! If eating wings is considered that! The popular way is deep fried buffalo style wings. I'm a little shy of doing that. So I grill or roast. This one is a great make-ahead dish. It reheats beautifully and as always disappears as fast as I make it.

Chicken Wings Asian Style
Makes 24

12 Chicken Wings
2 teaspoons Hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons Soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chili Garlic paste
4 Garlic cloves
3 slices of Ginger
1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame oil
3 tablespoons Tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
Toasted Sesame seeds

Using a sharp knife cleave the chicken wings in two parts. You could leave the wing tip on if you prefer to. 

Wash and pat dry the wings. Place them in a bowl.

Mince the garlic very fine and add to wings.

Lightly smash the ginger slices to release flavor.

Mix in all the other ingredients and give the wings a good stir.

Let them sit in this marinade for 30 minutes.

Heat your oven to 350F.

Line a sheet pan with non-stick foil.

Arrange wings on sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes flip the wings on to the other side and continue baking for another 15 minutes.

Take the wings out of the oven and place on a platter.

Garnish with sesame seeds and serve hot.


Non-stick foil is a lifesaver in this recipe. The wings tend to get really caramelized and do stick to foil. But with the magic of non-stick foil, getting them off the pan is a breeze!

To leave the wing tip or not to... That question is a personal preference. Do what you will!

 I watch them inhale the wings and I mean that literally. Happiness floods through me as they make short shrift of the pile. Predictably heaps of bones materialize. Their lunch is done. As for me I'm happy with a plate of cabbage subji, daal and rice.