I stacked up recipe after recipe for Wing Week, so many that my final night of wing cooking was plagued with difficult choices of what would make the final cut.
Just when I thought I had the line-up all figured out, I was thrown for a loop when Erin sent me this recipe for sweet chili hot wings from the new cookbook Michael's Genuine Food. I read the ingredient list and was immediately captivated—Thai sweet chili sauce mixed with tahini. The traditionalist in me couldn't fathom what this clash of cultures would taste like. I needed to know.
Schwartz notes "these may resemble traditional Buffalo wings in appearance, but a blend of soy sauce, tahini, ginger, garlic, and Asian chili sauce makes these wings major-killer," and I couldn't agree more. Wings in disguise, you think you're ready for a mouthful of red hot butter, but instead you get a flavor and texture that surprises to much delight.
It's still hard for me to put into words what this tastes like, but the perfect amount of coating holds a sweet spice with the sesame seamlessly joining the party. The recipe also comes with a tzatziki style dipping sauce, but I don't think they really need it.
- For the sauce
- 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce, such as Mae Ploy
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
- 2 pounds chicken wings, preferably free-range
- 1/4 cup cornstartch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
Combine the chile sauce, tahini, vinegar, soy, garlic, and ginger in the jar of a blender and puree until smooth, about 10 seconds. Set the chile sauce aside until ready to use or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels. In a shallow dish, combine the cornstarch and baking powder. Working in batches, toss the wings in cornstarch mixture, shaking off any excess cornstarch.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Fill a 12-inch cast iron skillet with 1-inch of peanut oil. Bring the oil to 375 degrees over medium-high heat. Place half of the wings in oil and fry until golden brown on first side, flip and continue to fry until second side is browned, 5-7 minutes per side. Remove wings to a paper towel lined plate, then place in the oven to stay warm. Repeat with the second batch of wings.
Place all of the wings in a large bowl. Pour in chile sauce and toss to thoroughly coat. Place wings on a plate, garnish with cilantro and scallion. Serve immediately.