FISH SAUCE CHICKEN WINGS
In the past, when it comes to chicken wings, I’ve advocated for a simple approach.
In the past, we’ve certainly dipped our toes into a small stockpile of wing recipes, but this time we’re going all out.
But then there are the chicken wings marinated in Vietnamese fish sauce. They do need some planning and preparation, but the results are well worth the effort. However, I’m going to address the ogre in the room. Some people’s ears perk up when the word “fish sauce chicken wings” is said, while others simply wonder, “Fish sauce…and chicken wings?” No.
FISH SAUCE’S UMAMI AND COMPLEXITY
What is fish sauce? Let’s talk about it for a moment. I asked myself the same question about fish sauce when I was a child. My first forays into the kitchen counters to retrieve sauces for my parents began as a trial and error experiment in which I would open the most visually appealing dark brown sauce bottles to observe what was happening.
While I’d always preferred the aromas of dark mushroom soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, that deceptively charming bottle of Vietnamese fish sauce with three crabs on the cover had me swooning.
The tiniest of sniffs emitted a pungent and lasting odor of fishy funkiness that lingered for a long time (and indeed, fish sauce is the result of fermenting fish). There were a lot of spectacular faux-gagging moments for my young nose as a result of this.
Of course these days, I’ve learned that fish sauce is a fantastic flavoring enhancer that enhances many of our favorite recipes with an extra layer of depth. In my opinion, these fish sauce chicken wings are on par with the best fried and buffalo chicken wings ever prepared.
POK POK RECIPE INSPIRED THIS CREATIVITY
This dish was inspired by the fish sauce chicken wings served at Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok restaurant in New York. When it comes to Vietnamese food, Ricker and his executive chef Ich “Ike” Truong appear to be the go-to authorities in the United States.
If you’re using Thai roasted chili paste (or fish sauce) in this recipe, you’ll notice that I’ve slashed the amount of salt in this dish. For those who have a high sensitivity to salt, it’s best to taste as you go.
- 1½ pounds chicken wings
- 8 finely chopped garlic cloves
- ½ cup of fish sauce
- ½ cup of superfine sugar
- ⅔ cup of rice flour
- ¼ cup of warm water
- ¼ cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1-2 teaspoons of Thai chili paste
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt
- Make the marinade first. Salt and garlic are minced together. We crushed the salt with a garlic press. Ten minutes should pass after adding the heated water. The sugar and fish sauce should be thoroughly mixed in.
- Toss the chicken wings with 12 cups of the fish sauce mixture in a separate, big bowl. Place the remaining fish sauce mixture in the fridge and marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
- After the wings have finished marinating, place them in a colander and let them drain for 15 minutes. Toss the wings in the dry ingredients until thoroughly coated after combining the rice flour and cornstarch.
- The wings should be baked for 24 minutes at 475 degrees, turning them halfway through. Start preparing the glaze at the halfway point of the cooking process.
- Transfer the saved fish sauce mixture to a hot pan along with 1/4 cup of water. Add the paste of the chili. In a wok, bring to a boil before reducing for one to two minutes. Add the wings and toss them in the glaze for approximately a minute to coat them.
- Serve alongside some cool, thinly sliced cucumbers!