This recipe is part of Crispianity: a column devoted to all foods crispy and crunchy, two of the most underappreciated attributes of a great dish. Author Adeena Sussman is a food writer and recipe developer, pairing here with a friend, photographer Evan Sung. Sussman’s most recent cookbook, co-authored with Lee Brian Schrager, is Fried and True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides.
I created the recipe for these crispy, spicy, saucy wings by taking inspiration from two chefs whose recipes appear in Fried and True, the fried-chicken book I co-authored with Lee Brian Schrager. Philly chef Michael Solomonov — who serves deeply crunchy, lightly lacquered Korean-style fried chicken at Federal Donuts — coats his chicken in rice batter before double-frying and saucing in a mix of Asian condiments. At his eponymous Brooklyn restaurant, Dale Talde dredges his kung pao chicken wings in a dry rice-flour coating and also fries twice, which keeps the center tender and perfectly cooked while bringing the exterior to the optimum level of crunch. I tweaked Solomonov’s wet batter and sauced in my own coating using sweet, salty, tangy and spicy elements.
I love Chinkiang vinegar, a Chinese variety made with glutinous rice that adds a sweet, acidic, smoky note to whatever recipe it graces. Pro tip: You can get the first fry done first, let the wings cool, and then get the wings back into the hot oil for the second, higher-temperature finish just before saucing and serving.
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup cold water, plus more if necessary
- 2 pounds chicken wings, joint ends trimmed
- Oil for deep frying
- Chives, chopped, for garnish
- 1 cup bottled sweet Thai chili sauce
- 1/2 cup dark soy sauce (or regular soy sauce)
- 1/3 cup sambal oelek (ground chili paste) or sriracha
- 3 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 9 cloves garlic, minced
Fry the wings:
- Fill a large pot halfway with oil and preheat to 300°F.
- Set a rack over a baking sheet.
- In a large bowl whisk together the cornstarch, flour and water until mixture is the texture of crepe batter, adding more water by the tablespoonful if necessary.
- In batches, dip the wings into the batter, then let the excess drip off before adding to oil.
- Fry until very pale and golden, 8 minutes.
- Transfer the fried wings to rack to cool and repeat with the remaining wings.
- Raise the oil temperature to 350°F.
- Fry the wings a second time until golden brown, an additional 4-5 minutes.
- Move back to rack to drain and cool slightly.
Mix the sauce:
- In a large bowl whisk together the chili sauce, soy sauce, sambal oelek, vinegar, sesame oil and garlic cloves.
- Toss the wings in the sauce and transfer to a serving platter.
- Garnish with chives and serve immediately.
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