I love Asian flavors. As I’m sure you are all aware, my father has been my biggest culinary influence, but what you might not know is that he cooked a lot of Asian food when I was a kid. I remember a well-thumbed cookbook he had with a blue cover that was full of stir fry recipes and other Asian delicacies. My favorite then and now is without a doubt his fried rice. It’s the best, it’s never quite the same, and it’s one of those recipes I’ve mentioned before that I make when I’m really missing him—my comfort food.
Serendipitously, my father’s lifetime love of all things Asian culminated in his second marriage to a Chinese woman a few years ago. They had a beautiful wedding in Mauritius. Now, when he isn’t gallivanting in far away lands, I get to not only enjoy his incredible cooking—Asian-inspired or otherwise—but I get to enjoy my stepmother’s as well: platters of incredible, from-scratch, handmade dumplings, steamed or pan-fried depending on the filling, stir-fries, really interesting salads filled with exotic ingredients.
These dumplings are one of those things that cause my usual capacity for food to grow exponentially. My son, too. He can eat more than I can, and that’s really saying something. You’ve heard of a dessert stomach? Well, my son and I have dumpling stomachs. My daughter loves them, too, though not quite as enthusiastically as Aidan and I.
She tried to teach us how to make them once, it was quite entertaining; by the time we had each sloppily made one, she had a perfect row of about 10.
Anyway, I think my most craved style of cooking is Asian, whether Thai, Chinese, or Japanese (sushi!), I just love the flavors so much. I always have ginger, garlic, onions or scallions, a multitude of sauces hanging out in my pantry or fridge—soy, hoisin, oyster sauce, fish sauce, thai curry pastes. I always have rice and noodles in my pantry. So when the whim strikes, I can whip up something to satisfy my cravings pretty quickly. These wings were the result of one such craving. I had lemongrass that I bought thinking I would make a Thai style coconut soup, but this is how it met its fate. These wings are beautiful and almost too easy to believe, but most importantly, they are delicious little flavor bombs.
Make them. They’ll disappear.
**This recipe could easily be doubled or even divided to make a single serving. Just make sure you use a baking dish that allows the wings to lay in a single layer**
Southeast Asian Chicken Wings
- 2-3 pounds chicken wings, tips removed and wing cut into two pieces
- one inch chunk of fresh ginger, roughly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and gently cracked
- 1/2 of a fresno chili pepper or other hot chili, sliced, seeds removed if desired
- 1-2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 3-4 whole star anise pods
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry or other dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Handful of fresh cilantro
- the other half of the chili pepper finely diced
- 2-3 green onions thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 375.
Place all ingredients in a baking dish so that wings lay in a single layer. Toss to evenly coat and distribute ingredients.
Place in preheated oven, bake for an hour, flipping about every 15 minutes. When most of the liquid has evaporated and begins to look thick and syrupy turn broiler on to crisp the tops. Keep an eye on them, the sugar and soy can burn very quickly. This should only take about 2 minutes max. Remove when they look glossy and have gotten brown and crispy in spots.
Move to serving platter, strain and pour over any juices left in baking dish. Generously sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, and fresh chili pepper. Enjoy!
Ps: I updated my “about” page. Check it out. “About Ani”