Sunday, July 28, 2013

Asian Fusion Chicken Wings

I have done more than my fair share of watching Food Network, Cooking Channel and have read dozens of cookbooks by myriad authors with just as many versions of fried chicken and chicken wings. Which version is correct?  I think All of Them.  Or, more true to the matter, whichever your tummy prefers.  I cannot express just how much I LOVE fried chicken and have thoroughly loved frying it or baking it, or both,  making mistakes while enjoying the great successes.  I have had this craving, if you will, however, for chicken wings.  I have read about traditional hot sauce wings with blue cheese dressing and celery, Asian flavors, Mexican flavors (yum!), whether it is best to fry or bake, flour or not, and more.  Rather than give myself a headache about just how to make chicken wings "right", I decided to follow my own advice and follow my instinct.  I wanted a fried chicken version but with less fat yet full of flavor at every bite.  Right or not, this is what how I made my chicken wings, and I am proud of my very first time doing this. 

I broke up the process in to three steps.  First, I allowed the wings to soak in almond milk (yes, almond milk, not the traditional buttermilk) seasoned with Hawaiian red dirt sea salt and ground pasilla chile powder. I let the chicken soak for about an hour.  It'd have been great to have soaked overnight, if possible, but, I did not have the time. 

In the next step, I removed the chicken, dried it off on paper towels and let it soak in a strongly flavored marinade.  The marinade consisted of a half cup of Cento red wine vinegar, 3 cloves grated garlic, a  teaspoon of sriracha sauce, a tablespoon (eyeballed) of worcestershire sauce, two teaspoons of Tikka Masala paste, a quarter cup of Plum Sauce and a teaspoon of Hoisin sauce,two teaspoons of wild floral honey,  along with some roasted spices.  In a shallow pan I roasted over low heat, two tablespoons smoked paprika, two teaspoons cumin seeds, one teaspoon coriander seeds (crushed in my palms), a tablespoon of dried oregano (also crushed in the palms of my hands), two teaspoons of pasilla chili powder, one teaspoon garam masala (a wonderful, aromatic ground mixture of many spices), and three cloves fresh grated garlic.  To roast, add the spices to a shallow pan and turn the heat on low, bringing the spices to heat slowly.  Once aromatic, the roasting is over.  If you can toss them around a bit, that is best.  Add the spices the wet marinade. The aroma in your kitchen will be absolutely amazing.  A-Mazing.  

Here is the catch:  If you want a drizzle sauce, like I did, divide the sauce in to two parts and set one part aside in a sauce pan.  

The final step, after allowing the chicken to marinate for thirty minutes, was to set up a dredging station. This is simply a flat plate with about a cup or so of flour.  To flavor, add a tablespoon of garlic powder or garlic pepper, or, hey, why not both?  In addition, salt and pepper, a tablespoon of both smoked paprika and pasilla chili powder, and a teaspoon of ground cumin.  I love the warm flavor of cumin, seeds or ground. 

Preheat the oven to  355 degrees. 

Have a baking sheet lined with foil and topped with a wire rack.  Spray the rack with non-stick spray, or the chicken breading will stick to it.  It may, anyway, but not too badly, just so you know.  Now, take each chicken wing, thoroughly flour them, and lay them on the baking sheet.  Bake them for forty minutes, turning once, if you dare, twenty minutes in.  I did turn them, gently, and most turned without the breading sticking. 

So sorry, I do not know how to turn this picture sideways!

In the meantime, bring the marinade you set aside and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about twenty minutes, reducing the sauce by half. 

I served my chicken wings over garlic couscous.  I purchased a box product, but did not use the flavoring packet.  I tossed the couscous around in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, two cloves grated garlic, and a pinch or two of dried oregano crushed between my palms before adding a cup of chicken stock and a half cup of water.  I arranged my cooked wings over a rounded pile of couscous, drizzled it with the reduced sauce, and garnished it all with chopped cilantro.

Thank you for viewing and enjoy!