Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Saigon Street Wings

It's officially chicken wing season, aka football season. Along with nachos, chicken wings are probably the most consumed snack during this time of year while enjoying the big game. I've given myself an unofficial goal to make special snacks for as many Patriots games as I possibly can this season (not necessary the nighttime games, but at least all the others).

This past weekend I cracked open my beloved Fried Chicken cookbook which contains several mouthwatering wing recipes. I elected the Saigon Street Wings, as I am a fan of all things Asian. These are easy enough to prepare, but require a bit of advanced prep since the wings must marinate overnight.

With a minimal ingredient list, these wings are a breeze. They marinate in a mixture of fish sauce, palm sugar or light brown sugar, and garlic. The same combination is used to make the glaze.

A couple quick notes. First of all, I halved this recipe when I  made it, and it was perfect for 3 of us snacking at the onset of the game (they didn't last long!). My wings marinated for a full 24 hours which was probably too long (the recipe states overnight, and well, technically it WAS overnight) as the wings were a touch on the salty side, but still very delicious. Next time I'd marinate them for about 12 hours give or take.

I also decided to reduce the sauce into a syrup while simultaneously frying up batches of wings in my deep fryer. This was not a great plan, as I was focusing more on the wings than the wing sauce. It ended up over-reducing/burning and I had to chuck it. Fortunately I was able to quickly whip up some replacement sauce and was more diligent in watching it the second time around.

Anyway, happy football season, y'all! Make these wings! They are YUMMY!!!

Saigon Street Wings
Serves 4 to 6
(From Fried Chicken)

4 pounds chicken wings, wing tips removed and cut in half at the joint
14 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup fish sauce
1 cup palm sugar, chopped, or firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying
2 cups rice flour
Cilantro, chopped, for serving

Place the wings in a large zip-top bag.

To make the marinade, in a large bowl, smash 10 cloves of the garlic and the salt together until they form a paste. Add the fish sauce, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil, and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Pour half of the marinade over the wings in the bag, rub to coat the chicken, seal, and refrigerate overnight. Cover and chill the remaining half of the marinade until you’re ready to fry the chicken.

Pour the reserved marinade (the portion that did not touch the chicken) into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, decrease the heat, and simmer until reduced and syrupy, about 35 minutes.

In a deep fryer or large, deep stockpot, heat 3 inches of vegetable oil over high heat to 350°F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

Place the rice flour in a large bowl. Remove the wings from the ziptop bag, discarding the marinade. Depending on the size of your fryer, you may need to fry in batches. Dredge half of the wings in the rice flour until well coated. Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Fry for 10 to 13 minutes, or until golden brown. Maintain an oil temperature of 325°F. Drain the wings on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining pieces.

After all of the wings have been fried, mince the remaining 4 cloves of garlic and place in a fine-mesh wire strainer. Carefully dip the strainer into the hot oil, just deep enough to submerge the garlic, and cook for 10 to 15 seconds or until lightly browned. Transfer the fried wings to a large bowl, add the cooked marinade, and toss to coat. Transfer the glazed wings to another large bowl and toss with the fried garlic. (Using two bowls prevents the garlic from being coated in the glaze.) Serve with chopped cilantro.


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