Isn’t it funny how we seem to be much more productive when we have less time to do everything? Now that I’m on a regular work schedule again, I find myself making to-do lists left and right. I’ve also opted to do less time-consuming recipes than usual–less preparation, fewer dishes, easier techniques… and I’ll admit that I’m definitely prone to eating a frozen pizza when I’m really lazy. (Totino’s forever! …I hate it, but I love it.)
Wings fall into this category, simply because they require little in the way of preparation in order for them to be–simply put–damn delicious. They’re pretty cost-effective for how tasty they turn out to be if you cook at home, too! I recently picked up ~3 lbs. of wings at the local Asian supermarket for $5.00 and used the entire bag to make this recipe. One dirty skillet (yes, only one pot to cook!) and an hour later, James and I had enough wings to feed us for the next two meals.
These wings are so, so good–savory, sweet, sticky, spicy… all things amazing. They re-heat in the oven well, too! The ginger, star anise and cinnamon (yes, cinnamon!) go a long way toward making these wings pack a spiced punch that is delightfully exotic. Honestly, the original recipe (featured on Andrew Zimmern’s blog) is practically perfect the way it is written. The only changes I’ve made were to enhance the ginger and star anise in the flavor profile, as well as ramp up the spiciness and the intensity of the savory glaze. Seriously, talk about umami–this recipe has that essence in spades.
I know that my pictures feature a skillet, but I would recommend using a pot instead–you don’t have to worry about stirring carefully, and the high sides of the pot will catch the oil when you’re initially pan-frying the chicken wings. And I found it helpful to have the wings closer to room temperature before cooking, as it reduced the cook time and the oil splatters. I ate the wings with some cucumbers and rice, but feel free to eat them as a stand-alone!
Recipe adapted from andrewzimmern.com.
Malaysian Street Wings
- 3 lbs. chicken wings, separated
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- one 2-in. slice of ginger, sliced thinly
- 3 dried chiles de arbol (or less if you want less heat)
- 3 whole star anise
- one 3-in. cinnamon stick
- 1/3 c. soy sauce
- 1/3 c. rice wine
- 3 Tbsp. oyster sauce
- 3 Tbsp. mirin
- 3 Tbsp. white granulated sugar
- 2 scallions, sliced
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce, mirin and sugar in a bowl and set aside.
- Pour the vegetable oil into a pot or large skillet and turn the stove heat to medium. When the oil has heated up sufficiently, add the wings. (Depending on how large your skillet/pot is, you may have to do them in two batches. Make sure every wing is touching the bottom of the pot–don’t overcrowd!)
- Pan-fry the wings for 8-10 minutes, only turning once the side of the wing facing the pan has become golden-brown along the edges.
- Once all of the wings are cooked through, add the ginger, star anise, cinnamon and chiles. (If you had to cook the wings in batches, add all of the batches back into the pot before adding the spices!) Stir until the mixture becomes fragrant, ~1 minute.
- Stir the soy sauce mixture to mix the sugar that has settled at the bottom, then pour into the pot and turn the heat to medium low. Stir until the sauce is evenly mixed with the wings.
- Cover the pot and allow to cook for 10 minutes, untouched.
- After 10 minutes, uncover the pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Stir the wings with the sauce until it has thickened to a glaze, ~8-10 minutes. (You’re looking for the sauce to coat your spoon or spatula without running off–the picture above sans scallions and seeds shows the glossy thickness you’re going for.)
- When the glaze has reached the correct consistency, pour the contents of the pot onto a plate and top with scallions and sesame seeds, if you wish. Serve immediately.
- The wings can be heated up in an oven for 10 minutes at 350ºF and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.