Asian Inspired Chicken Wings

Let me be upfront here, these wings are not healthy. They are not baked and shouldn’t be… it ruins the texture. They are coated AND deep fried and loaded with salty flavour. Once in a while eating something deep fried and salty is not a sin. It just shouldn’t be something we do everyday. I counter balance the wings with a light tomato and cucumber salad which is refreshing and tangy.

Many cultures did not have the capability to fry foods early on. Their lack of technology for grinding and extracting oil from nuts and olives etc. was limited.

There were cultures predominately along the Mediterranean and Middle East in the first century C.E. that had the ability to fry their foods, especially meats.

In Rome the term “frigere” which means “to fry”” had two meanings, first, the toasting of grains in a dry skillet, and second, cooking in oil. From the seventh to the fifteenth century A.D, fats and frying played an essential role in Arab cooking. Sheep tail fat was a frying delicacy; books from this region and period tell how to extract, clarify, perfume, color, and store this fat, which was used to finish-fry boiled meats. During the same period, Lebanon, Andalusia, Maghreb, and Syria were known for their olive oil, which was exported to Iraq and Egypt. The Chinese also introduced the method of “deep frying” to the Japanese as early as the 7th century A.D.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 to 3 pound chicken wings, whole or split
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp organic sugar
1/4 cornstarch
2 tbsp dark soy sauce or chili garlic paste
1 cup boiling water
3 cups room temperature water
1 liter cooking oil

Directions

To a large bowl or pot add 2 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add 1 cup of boiling water to dissolve salt and sugar, then remainder of water (3 cups). This will be the brine to soak chicken wings.  Add wings and let soak for 1 hour. Drain wings and dry with paper towel. Add cornstarch to a large ziplock bag and then add wings. Close bag and shake until coated with cornstarch.  Heat oil until rivulets are visible in oil surface and a test piece of dry bread browns quickly and floats to surface. Remove this from pot. Remove wings one at a time from bag shaking excess cornstarch off into the bag. Add to hot oil. Do not over crowd pot as oil. To many wings crowded into the pot results in reducing the oil temperature and therefore the wings will not be crispy and browned. Also oil may boil over starting a fire. NEVER leave oil unattended. Once browned (about 10 minutes) remove and drain on paper towel. Add next batch to pot and contiune until all are cooked.  Once drained add wings to a large bowl and toss with dark soy sauce or chili paste. Serve while hot.

Yield 6 to 8 serving

FOOTNOTE: I serve a simple salad of Roma tomato and cucumber. Cut 3 tomatoes into small pieces and peel, seed and dice cucumber. Place into bowl, set aside. In a small bowl add 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp vinegar, a pinch of organic sugar and mix. Pour over salad and toss lightly. Sprinkle with dry or fresh oregano and serve with wings.