Why It Works
- Kashmiri red chilies, tamarind, and palm sugar give these wings a balanced spicy, sweet, and tart flavor.
- Cooking the chili paste before tossing with the wings ensures that it fully coats each piece.
- Preheating the baking sheet keeps the chicken from sticking.
Aromatic Kashmiri red chilies, pungent ginger, tart tamarind paste, and smoky palm sugar combine in a spicy, sour, and sweet sauce for chicken wings. In the oven, the wings turn tender and the sauce transforms into a rich, sticky glaze. Serve them up next to some cool cucumber raitha to help beat the heat.
- 18 dried whole Kashmiri red chilies (about 1 ounce; 28g) (see note)
- 6 tablespoons tamarind paste (3 ounces; 84g) (not concentrate)
- 6 fresh Thai red chilies (about 4g)
- 4 inch piece of ginger, sliced (about 2 ounces; 60g)
- 1/4 cup grated palm sugar or light brown sugar (2 ounces; 60g)
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt (.5 ounce; 16g)
- 2.5 pounds chicken wings (1.1kg)
- Raitha to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and set the rack to the lower-middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place it in the oven to preheat as well.
Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chilies and toast them whole in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant and pliable. In the canister of a blender combine the toasted chilies, tamarind paste, Thai red chilies, ginger, palm sugar, kosher salt, and 1/2 cup hot water. Set aside to steep until the chilies are softened, about 5 minutes, then blend until smooth.
Transfer the puree back to the pan used to toast the chilies and cook over medium heat while constantly stirring with a flexible rubber spatula until the paste is thick, lost much of it's moisture, and leaves a streak behind when a spatula is dragged across the bottom of the pot, about 8 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the wings with the chili paste to coat. Spray the preheated baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or brush with oil. Spread the chicken wings on the prepared baking sheet, topping each with some of the chili paste. Bake until sticky and tender, about 45 minutes. Serve right away with raitha.
Sauté pan, Blender, Rimmed baking sheet, Flexible rubber spatula
If you don't have Kashmiri red chilies on hand, feel free to substitute one or a combination of your favorite dried chilies in its place.