With how frequently I've dined at Hong Kong cafes through the years, and how often I order Chinese Deep-Fried Chicken Wings with Spicy Salt (*Hint. Almost every time.), I don't know why it took me so long to get around to making them at home. If you like my Chinese Deep-Fried Pork Chops with Spicy Salt recipe, this is even easier.
I simply salted the wings, then lightly coated them in just enough flour so they'll be crispy when fried, and like the pork chops, tossed them with a mixture of sliced chili peppers, scallions, garlic, and Chinese 5-spice powder. The first time I made the wings, I didn't have the fresh aromatics on hand and used dried chili peppers. They were still good, but I wanted them look like in the Hong Kong cafes for the photos.
The second time I made them, my dad was in town and heading out the door to go to my youngest uncle's house. He said they looked so appetizing that he couldn't resist and sat down to eat several wings. Then he mentioned later that evening to my uncles that I made really delicious wings. Which, if you know how picky my dad is about food, is high praise indeed. I saved a few wings for lil' sis, who couldn't stop complimenting them while they were reheating in the toaster oven, while she was eating them, and again afterward.
Considering my dad is notoriously critical, I figured I'd make the wings again for him a few months ago before he returned to Oregon. For non-spicy eaters, you can omit the chile peppers if you wish, like I did for the niece and nephew. The just-a-touch of Chinese 5-spice powder sprinkled at the end is what elevates these chicken wings up a notch.
Chinese Deep-Fried Chicken Wings with Spicy Salt
For 2 lbs of chicken wings, you'll need:
2 tsps salt, plus a few sprinkles at the end
Oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup rice or all-purpose flour
2 serrano or jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
A few sprinkles of Chinese 5-spice powder
Optional: Replace the fresh chile peppers with 1 tsp dried chile peppers
Clean 2 lbs of chicken wings, cutting off any excess fat. Slice them into sections if you wish. I cut between the drumette and the mid-joint. Toss with about 2 tsps of salt and set aside in a colander to drain. Ideally, let the wings sit for about half an hour so the salt has time to penetrate the meat. Give the wings a toss in the colander to shake off any excess salt and juices before frying.
When you're ready to cook, heat up the oil to medium-high for deep-frying.
Then in a shallow bowl, add about 1/2 cup corn starch and 1/2 cup rice or all-purpose flour. Mix the flours together and lightly dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. You just want a very light coating of the flour.
Deep fry all the chicken pieces until golden. Set aside to drain.
Meanwhile, thinly slice a few serrano or jalapeno chile peppers, a scallion, and a few cloves of garlic.
When the chicken is all fried, in a large pan drizzle a very small amount of oil and add the aromatics, sauteing until just softened and their fragrance gets released.
Add the chicken wings and sprinkle on just a few dashes of Chinese 5-spice powder and salt, not too much, just to give a hint of flavor. Toss until evenly mixed.
Plate and serve with rice if you wish.
Or just wolf down as an appetizer.
And if you don't have any fresh chile peppers or scallions on hand, you can make due with dried chile peppers as well.
Other chicken wing recipes:
Basic Vietnamese Marinade for Chicken or Pork
Canh Ga Xa Xiu (Vietnamese Chinese Char Siu-Style Barbecued Chicken Wings)
Sriracha Buffalo Wings
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