SPICY GARLIC STICKY WINGS
Once you've visited POK POK in Portland (and now, Los Angeles), it's difficult to pry these sticky and spicy wings off your brain (or out of your hands!). These are so delicious that it's impossible to share one plate of these among friends, so we ended up spending all afternoon ordering more and more, along with some best-of-Portland lagers and IPAs to tame the heat. I've sourced the original recipe and toned it down a bit (a little less fishy, and less incendiary) and hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Now you can make them at home!
WHAT YOU NEED:
- a wok or large heavy frying pan or dutch oven
- deep fryer or 4-6 quart saucepot
- vegetable or peanut oil
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped fine (hint: use your mini food processor)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup Vietnamese fish sauce KIDDOCJJ note: Fish sauces vary wildly in their salt and fish notes. A good practice with any fish sauce is to use half what is called for, and add more after tasting, if needed.
- 1/2 cup superfine or Baker's sugar (also known as caster sugar)
- 2 lbs medium-size chicken wings (about 12), split at the joint
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup tempura batter mix (lots of brands out there, just buy what you can find. I use Gogi brand)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1–2 tsp roasted chili paste or sambal oleek (a little more tame)
THE NIGHT BEFORE...........
Prep the Garlic
- Process the garlic in your mini chop with the salt.
- SCRAPE into a small bowl, add warm water, and let sit for a few minutes.
- Pour the garlic mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl, and use the back of a spoon to stir and smoosh garlic against the sieve, reserving leftover garlic. Discard the liquid.
- Heat 1/2" of vegetable oil in a small pan until hot, then add the garlic. Turn heat to medium low and stir constantly until garlic is the color of peanut butter. Remove from heat and transfer to paper towels to drain. Put in an airtight container until ready to use.
Marinate the chicken
- Mix the fish sauce and sugar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved.
- Put the chicken wings in a large ziplock, add 1/2 cup of fish sauce mixture (reserve the rest in the refrigerator), lay on a flat tray and refrigerate. Turn it when the mood strikes (every hour or so until you go to sleep!)
Mix the dry ingredients for the dredge
- Stir together the tempura powder and rice powder in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap until ready.
THE DAY OF................
Fry the wings
- Remove the wings from the refrigerator to a colander in the sink and let drain
- Dredge the wings in the rice flour/tempura mixture until thoroughly coated
- Pour enough oil into a saucepan or deep fryer to completely submerge the wings (about 2 inches) and bring oil to 325 degrees (measure with a candy or hi-temperature thermometer).
- Fry the wings in two batches (gently knocking them against the bowl to release extra coating) before adding to the oil.
- Cook each batch until evenly golden brown, about 10–12 minutes (more like 8 minutes if you are using wing parts, rather than whole wings), move them every few minutes. Transfer the cooked wings to paper towels to drain.
Coat the wings
- Add 1/2 cup water to the reserved fish sauce mixture.
- Combine half of the water–fish sauce mixture and half the chili paste (if you are using it), bring to a full boil in a wok, and reduce for about 45 seconds, then add half the wings and toss every 15 seconds, until a caramelized glaze coats the wings, about 1 minute.
- Now add 1 tbsp of the fried garlic, toss well, and cook about 30 seconds longer
- Rinse and wipe out wok, and repeat with the next batch of wings.
Serve the wings with pickled vegetables (like carrots, daikon, jalapenos), cucumber spears, and cilantro sprigs and a nice cold one to drink! Enjoy!
If serving this as a main course, steam up some rice, and serve a green papaya salad (see below) with it! Perfection!