Serious Eats: Recipes

Extra-Crispy Thai Sweet and Spicy Wings

After a long week of doing next to nothing over the holidays, I pushed to get us out of the house and into a bowling alley. My sister-in-law was quite receptive, and even suggested a particular alley because of their "awesome" wings. I equate bowling alleys with cheap beer, greasy food, and sub-par wings—part of the attraction, really—so I was immediately drawn to the notion that we were choosing a location to roll primarily on the quality of their wings.

I have to say, the wings were pretty damn good. Coated with the familiar Thai sweet and spicy sauce, the real magic of these wings was the batter, which was golden brown, crunchy, thick, and filled with little nooks and crannies for the sauce to settle in to.

Trying to recreate these at home, I needed to forgo the usual light coating of cornstarch I use for wings and go full throttle with a heavy batter. The wings were dunked in a mixture of flour, cornstarch, and baking powder, then in an egg wash, then back in the flour mixture to create an extra-crispy, thick shell. Although it didn't quite match all the qualities of the bowling alley wings—I'm starting to think they had some panko in their batter that created the unique texture—these were still top notch. The initial crunch of the wing gave way to a sweetness, then tang, and ended with a punch of heat, a combination that ensured every last one of them was devoured.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce adapted from Darlene A. Schmidt

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