According to the National Chicken Council, Americans will consume 1.25 billion chicken wings during this year’s Super Bowl! Chicken wings became a staple in America in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The story goes that a group of friends arrived at the bar late one evening and the only food the owner, Teresa Bellissimo, could find were the chicken wings, which were usually used to makes stock. She grabbed them, deep fried them, and whipped up a spicy sauce to coat them, and a legend was born.
What are they? They are unbreaded wings deep fried until the skin is crispy, then tossed with a simple sauce of butter or margarine, hot pepper sauce, and vinegar. Sometimes a little garlic powder, celery salt, and other spices are added. According to Buffalo residents, they are always served with carrot and celery stikcs, a blue cheese dressing, and, of course, a cold beer to cool the hot sauce and chase it all down.
Here is a recipe for a fun twist on this American classic. Korean Fried Chicken Wings use gojujang, a chili paste that is indispensable in the Korean kitchen. It is made by combining red chili peppers, glutinous rice powder, and soybean paste. Note that in this recipe, I fry the wings twice for a nice, crispy texture. This recipe is also published in my latest cookbook, Culinary Birds.
Korean Fried Chicken Wings
Canola or other vegetable oil for frying
3 tablespoons pressed, fresh garlic
2 ½ -inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
5 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons gojujang
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup rice flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
16 chicken wings, tips removed and saved for stock (about 1 ¾ pounds)
¼ cup green onions, sliced on the bias
Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a 5-quart pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, make a gojujang sauce. Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, gojujang, vinegar, sesame oil, honey and lime juice. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and adjust the seasonings to taste. Keep warm.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and cornstarch. Add 1 cup of water and stir to combine. Add the chicken and turn several times to coat thoroughly. Working in batches, fry the chicken in the hot oil until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Return the oil to 350 degrees. Fry the chicken until extra crisp, 6 to 8 minutes more. Drain again. Toss the chicken in with the sauce, top with green onions, and serve hot.