I'm obsessed with chicken wings. Not the ones slathered in buffalo sauce (but I can see the appeal of those), but any version that is drenched in vinegar, garlic, and/or herbs. I like them crunchy, slight sweet, slightly salty, with plenty of umami and tang.
These fit the bill. Inspired by the amazing fish sauce wings made famous by the esteemed Pok Pok, I kind of took that idea and ran with it. First I made a big, extra sweet, extra fish saucy, extra garlicky nước chấm sauce (Vietnamese dipping sauce), which I then marinated the wings in, reserving a good portion of the sauce. Nice because you only have to make the marinade/sauce once and it does double duty.
Next up, I let the wings bathe in the marinade overnight, then let them drain really well. After a plunge in super-hot oil until they were nice and crispy, I tossed them in a frying pan with the remaining sauce until they were well-coated and super sticky.
This dish takes some time and a bit of effort, but the results are well worth it! You can make the marinade and sauce up to 3 days in advance, and make sure to let the wings marinate for a day.
Recipe: Spicy Vietnamese Fried Chicken Wings
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 tbsp canola oil, plus 1 quart for frying
- 10 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1/4 packed cup)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp roasted chile paste
- 2 lbs medium chicken wings and drummettes
- 1 cup rice flour
- Shredded mint and cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar, and 1/4 cup water. Bring gently to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, and chili paste. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes (or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days).