Saturday, July 3, 2010

Chili Chicken Wings

I’m glad these wings were good, because these nearly made me cry. If you have ever gotten raw ginger juice in your eyes, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, take it from me – don’t. I always peel my ginger with a spoon, because I like to stand over the trash so the peel falls in, and I don’t have the manual dexterity to peel ginger skin with a knife without risking losing a pinky or needing stitches. I always thought it was safer to use a spoon, but when I got that squirt of fresh ginger juice in my eye, I just about would have sacrificed my whole hand to get the pain to stop. Ten minutes later, I was finally able to open my eye, only to have it tear up relentlessly. Thankfully, the more time that passed, the better my eye felt, and I no longer had to walk around the house with a permanent wink.

Minus the ginger incident, the rest of the dish came together really easily. I did use a little more cornstarch/water mixture than in the recipe, because I like my sauces a little thicker. Other than that, I kept everything the same, and they were delicious. I left the skin on the wings, so I don’t think I’d call these “health food,” but I did make a point to find a wing recipe that was baked, and not deep-fried (though this sauce would be great on fried wings as well). This was a great cookout food, and one that will certainly be gracing our table again in the future.

Chili Chicken Wings


For the sauce:
1 1/2 cups rice or cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
6 tablespoons Chinese plum sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons (or to taste) finely chopped fresh red, jalapeño or serrano chili, with seeds (I removed the seeds to keep the heat down a little bit)
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoon cold water

30 chicken wings (tips removed), rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish

Prepare the sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to medium-low and simmer, stirring constantly to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Puree in a food processor until nearly smooth. (Makes 3 cups.) Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Using a sharp knife, separate the chicken wings at the joint. Set aside. (I also take the ‘pointy part’ off the end of the wing as well)

Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and toss well with 1 1/2 cups of the sauce.

Lay the chicken wings in a single layer on 2 or 3 baking sheets (do not overcrowd them). Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, basting once or twice with additional sauce. Place the wings on a platter, sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

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