I’m always a little late to the party. For example, last week, the Super Bowl festivities took place. But honestly, I have an excuse. Actually I have a few. Since I don’t live in America, there isn’t much enthusiasm for American football around here. When I tried to explain the concept of the grandeur of Super Bowl Sunday to Romain, he gave me that typically blank stare which is sort of a signal to not even bother with an explanation, because it made my head hurt thinking about it.
Equally unexplainable, he asked; “Do you understand American football?” and it took me about one second to respond, “Non“. But truthfully, who on earth does? All I know is that those games seem to go on and on and on forever. One team runs a few yards and knocks down someone. Then they all take a break, walk around, talk to each other, pat a few behinds, the cameras scan the crowd, then they do it again. After a few more tackles, breaks, and changes of direction, there’s ten minutes of shaving commercials before the non-action resumes.
The other excuse is that I was busy making me some chicken wings. Although I wasn’t preparing them the Buffalo-style way, equally incomprehensible was the concept of chicken wings with bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks. Le poulet, he got. But when I started talking about mixing up bleu cheese dressing and dipping chicken in it, his eyes opened wide, and all he could say was, “Do they use French bleu cheese?” with a little bit of incredulousness.
I didn’t know how to explain to him that a majority of the people who dip wings in bleu cheese dressing aren’t all that concerned with the provenance of the cheese. And when I added that celery sticks were de rigeur, even I had to admit that it made no sense to me either. Those crazy Americans!
Some around here also can’t fathom my fascination with Korean food and I would venture to say that my apartment probably smells more of kimchi than any other in Paris.
But I love grilled and fried foods, especially those that are spicy and a little sweet. And often, Korean foods fit that bill. I’ve learned a fair bit about Korean cooking from a wonderful site by Maangchi, whose videos I watch when I want to see how Korean dishes are prepared, since I’m about as far from Korean as I am from Parisien.
Her Sweet and Crispy Chicken caught my eye a while back, since I love deep-fried chicken perhaps more than anything of all. A while back there was an article about words in recipes that are “deal-breakers”, terms and techniques that turn a reader off to making a recipe.
For me, when a recipe begins with the line: “Heat 2 quarts of oil for deep-frying”, I turn the page or click away. I love deep-fried food, but it seems like a waste to heat all that oil, and the clean up afterward is a nightmare. Maangchi deep fries her wings, twice, so they’re extra-crispy. But I used my ActiFry machine.
And after a few minutes in there, my wings developed a crispy surface and the skin was starting to actually sizzle. And about thirty minutes later, my wings were on their way to a Super Bowl-worthy, sweet victory.
You can watch her Dakkangjung video on how she makes these wings lording over her jumbo, sizzling wok. But I’m thinking the wings could be baked first, then slathered with the sticky sauce. I loved these wings and so did everyone else that nibbled on them around here. So much so that I became a full-on fan of Maangchi. If you taste these wings, you’ll be an instant fan, too.
Korean Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings
Four to six servings
I made a few changes to the original recipe. One was that I used the Actify, whereas Maangchi deep-fried her wings, twice. I plan to try them with baked wings, but anyone tries it in the meantime, let us know in the comments. I also used rice syrup instead of corn syrup, which I buy at Ace Mart, the Korean shop in Paris.
I divided her recipe in half, since it made a lot of wings. So if you’re having more people over, feel free to double the recipe.
- 1/4 cup (35 g) flour
- 1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch or potato starch
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red chili pepper
- 10 chicken wings, tips removed, then each wing cut into two pieces
- 1 tablespoon frying oil (I use colza or peanut)
1/2 cup (125 ml) water or beer
three-inch (7 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup (160 g) light corn syrup or rice syrup
1/3 cup (35 g) roasted peanuts, very coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, starch, egg, salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper until it’s a thick paste. Add the wings and mix with your hands until they’re thoroughly coated.
2. Put the coated wings in the ActiFry and drizzle with the oil. Close the lid and cook for 35 minutes, until brown and crispy.
Or the deep-fry the wings in a pot of hot oil (Maangchi recommends 350º-380ºF, 177º-193ºC) twice, in batches. Then drain well.
3. In a large pot or wok, bring to a boil the water, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and corn or rice syrup. Let cook until the mixture becomes syrupy and thick, and starts to foam. It should be about as thick as honey.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked wings, peanuts, sesame seeds, and chili flakes, until completely coated.
Related Posts and Recipes
Actifry Fryer (Amazon)
The ActiFry (My Product Review)
Smokey Sweet Grilled Chicken Wings (Steamy Kitchen)
Tang Frères (Asian Supermarket in Paris)
Sticky & Sweet Chicken Wings (Nami-Nami)