Chicken wings, along with marylands, are my favourite part of the chicken. With their high ratio of skin to fat, wings are especially delicious when coated in this spicy Asian marinade and roasted to golden brown perfection.
Twice in one day, while out shopping, I overheard people being afraid of fat. A woman next to me at the butcher was asking if they had soup bones with less fat. Another woman, to whom the butcher was recommending his range of inhouse-made smallgoods, declined them as she said they were too fatty. The two women were of different ages and ethnicities but were united in their fear of fat.
I can understand why they feel this way. When I was around 12, I went on a totally orthorexic phase and removed the chunks of fat from lup cheong (chinese sausage) and ate my toast without any butter or margarine. Fortunately that phase didn’t last for long, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that I have allowed myself to revel in eating fat, and – even better – with the knowledge that the healthy fats now turn out to be actually good for us (such as animal fats, coconut oil, lard, tallow, butter, ghee, macadamia oil, avocado oil, olive oil). I won’t bore you with the scientific details (if you are interested, check out the Further Reading references below), just to mention that fat is necessary for hormone production, improves brain function, nerve signaling and immunity.
I never used to cook chicken wings until I came this recipe and now it makes a regular appearance at dinner, plus leftovers for breakfast the next day.
Sticky Spiced Chicken Wings
16 chicken wings (including wing tips and drumettes)
Lemon juice, to serve
- 10 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp macadamia oil or extra light olive oil
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 1-2 tsp chilli flakes (to taste)
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- ⅛ tsp ground star anise (optional)
- 2 tsp dry sherry or chinese rice wine (Shao Xing)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp (or 1 stalk) chopped lemongrass
- ½ tsp sumac (optional)
- Salt, pepper (to taste)
- Combine marinade ingredients and mix with chicken wings. Marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Line an oven tray with foil and set a baking rack on top. (If the wings are in direct contact with the foil, the skin tends to stick.) Place the marinated wings on the rack (top side down). Baste with any leftover marinade. Bake for 15 mins, then turn over and bake for a further 15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Squeeze over some lemon juice before serving.