Citizens, chicken wings are a great favorite of mine, especially Buffalo-style!
I decided to create an Asian-inspired wing recipe absolutely redolent of 3 forms of garlic for “the week of garlic” that I am fully confident will knock your metaphoric socks off.
The umami factor in these wings is off the chart thanks to the use of a judicious amount of fish sauce, shiitake flavor and most importantly, Korean black garlic.
Despite what many people say, this isn’t a truly fermented product, but transformed instead by long, slow heat and humidity over many days to obtain a deep black color for the cloves themselves and an equally deep flavor rich in umami and tasting of sweetness, depth and a hint of vinegar plus a goodly hit of garlic as well.
In short – it’s both addictive and delicious, much like my wing recipe, Citizens!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
2 pounds chicken wings
¼ cup cornstarch or as needed
2 cups (or more if needed) Peanut or other high-temperature oil for deep frying
2 Tablespoons oil from making the fried garlic garnish
2 cloves garlic
4 cloves black garlic
1″ cube of peeled ginger, cut into thin slices
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Chinese fermented black beans
1 Teaspoon freshly ground cumin powder
½ Teaspoon freshly ground fennel powder
½ Teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns
3 Shiso leaves or 2 leaves of basil and 1 of mint
4 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 Teaspoons liquid from soaking some dried shiitake mushrooms, be careful not to include grit
3 Teaspoons top-quality fish sauce
2 Teaspoons Chinese chili paste with garlic
2 scallions, chopped, for garnish
For Microwave-fried garlic garnish:
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons cooking oil
To make Microwave-fried garlic:
Press the garlic with a garlic press into a small, microwavable bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil or just enough to cover the garlic. Microwave for 30 seconds — depending on your microwave, it may take between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.
When you first make this, stop the microwave every 30 seconds and check to see if it’s ready. Keep in mind that it will continue to cook in the hot oil after it is taken out of the microwave. The goal is to have a golden color – remove from oil before storing. FYI – fried garlic keeps for a week.
Rinse the chicken wings and lightly pat dry. If you are using whole wings, cut off the tips and use them for stock, and then cut the wings between the first and second joints.
Place the wing pieces in a work bowl and sprinkle seasoned cornstarch over them. Toss the bowl until each wing piece is thoroughly coated.
Place a cake rack on a large plate or small baking tray, and then arrange the wings on top of the tray so that they do not touch each other.
Put the tray in the fridge uncovered so that the cool air slightly dries out the wings. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to one day.
Thoroughly process all sauce ingredients in a blender, heat in a small saucepan until somewhat reduced or to taste. Refrigerate overnight.
Pour the oil in a wok and heat over high until a wooden chopstick inserted in the oil is immediately covered with bubbles. Holding a spatter screen in one hand, use the other to carefully add ½ of the wing pieces to the hot oil.
Cover with the screen to cut down on the possibility of burns and mess. As soon as one side of the wings are golden, turn them over, adjusting the heat as necessary, and remove the wings to a large work bowl as soon as they are nicely browned and cooked through.
Repeat with the remaining wings.
Pour warmed-up sauce over wings and toss to coat, or serve wings as is and use as a dipping sauce. Garnish with chopped scallions and fried garlic.