Vietnamese Fried Chicken Wings with Spiced Batter


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First off, I just want to say that this post was not at all inspired by all the Chick-Fil-A hubbub that’s going on. This was more-less a pseudo request from my friend who wants me to make these for a dinner he and his wife throw on Sunday evenings. Apparently he has much love for fancy fried chicken wings, and mine happen to be pretty good. For the record, I’m all about marriage equality and would boycott Chick-Fil-A if I had ever eaten there in the first place. I’m a Popeye’s man, myself.

Ingredients

  • 5 Cups of Fish Sauce for the marinade
  • 3 Pounds of chicken wings
  • Tapioca Flour or Corn Starch for the batter
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. Sichuan Peppercorns
  • 3 Tbsp. Ground Thai Chili Peppers
  • Frying Oil or Lard

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Directions

  1. Separate the chicken wings into three pieces: The mini “drumstick”, the wing, and the wing tip. If you don’t want to fry the tips, you can use them for broth, just set them aside in a plastic bag for later – don’t marinate them.
  2. Place the pieces into a bowl with the fish sauce. If your chicken isn’t fully covered, fill it with water until all of it is. Don’t worry about diluting the sauce, it is strong stuff and you’ll get plenty of flavor in the wings.
  3. Heat up the peppercorns and chili in a non stick pan on low heat. When you can smell a citrusy aroma, they are ready.
  4. Grind the spices with a mortar and pestle, you can also use a coffee grinder for this. Don’t use one that you normally use to grind coffee. If you do decide to use one that is normally used for coffee, don’t call me tomorrow asking why your coffee suddenly tastes like burning.
  5. Preheat your frying oil or lard: Fill your wok or skillet a little over halfway full and heat it on high. The ideal heat range is 350-370 degrees (176-187 C). This makes it so that the oil cooks the batter quickly, a temperature that is too low will result in a batter that actually absorbs the oil… you don’t want that. Your arteries don’t want that either.
  6. Crack your eggs in to a separate bowl and dip each piece of chicken into it. Allow the egg to cover the chicken fully.
  7. It is best to cook the pieces separately by type. The small drumsticks require a little more time than the wings do (same with the tips if you’re going to cook those).
  8. After the piece is covered by the egg, make sure that it is thoroughly covered in the tapioca flour or cornstarch.
  9. It’s best to batter the pieces and set aside so you can fry the chicken 5 pieces at a time.
  10. Place the pieces into the hot oil. You will know the oil is ready if you use a candy/fry thermometer OR you can place a small piece of bread in the oil, if it browns in a minute, it’s ready.
  11. Fry for ten minutes (12 for the small drumsticks). The chicken should be a golden color. Tapioca flour will result in a slightly lighter color than corn starch.
  12. With a steel slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the oil and allow them to dry on a paper towel.
  13. While you’re cooking the rest of the chicken, you can keep the done pieces warm in the oven set to 200 degrees.

Tips

  • For god sake open all your windows and get some circulation going, unless you want your house to smell like my grandmas apartment for a week.
  • Fish sauce is extremely salty and though it smells fishy uncooked, it doesn’t taste fishy after it has been cooked in the chicken. It’s a wonderful sauce to use for this purpose. Just trust me on this one… again, you’ll want your windows open.
  • Make sure you use an oil with a high smoke point like peanut oil. Do NOT use olive oil otherwise it will look like your house is on fire. Lard is great for frying because it adds an amazing flavor to the chicken.

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2 thoughts on “Vietnamese Fried Chicken Wings with Spiced Batter

  1. Brad says:

    No mention in the recipe what to do with chilies and peppercorns mix? I assume you add them to the cornflour mix ( no quantity given for flour).

    • jonkung says:

      Sorry dude, WordPress apparently had a fit that day and I didn’t get to this for a bit.

      Yes, the peppercorns should be ground and added to the starch and I never really measured how much starch I put in the bowl. Totally eyeball it. But for all my Type A brothers and sisters out there, lets just say 5 cups. It should be aromatic with just enough kick.

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