January 29, 2005

Dragon Wings

I was in the break room at work a couple of weeks ago, preparing my lunch, when the on-site engineer for our E911 provider came in for his. He was curious about what I was making, and I explained that it was microwave fried rice which I got at the Asian store by my house.

"An Asian grocery? I've been looking for one up here. I want that chili sauce, you know, in the squeeze bottle."

"Sriracha sauce," I answered. "I went thru half a cup of it last night."

That raised his eyebrows. I explained that I was trying out a new recipe, and had achieved proof of premise but it needed some tuning. I have applied what I learned, the results were everything I hoped for, and here is the recipe.

2-1/2 lbs chicken wings
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter (or, I suppose, margarine)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup sriracha chili sauce
1/2 tspn Thai red curry paste

You can buy the whole wings, disarticulate them yourself, and dispose of the tips, or pay a bit more and get the prepared drumlets. Either way, pierce the skin with a fork where there is fat under it. Preheat the oven to 425F and put the chicken in it on a cookie sheet.

When the wings have been in the oven about 20 minutes, start on the sauce. Finely dice the garlic. Melt the butter in a medium pan. Cutting it into pats will conserve a little energy. Fry the garlic in the butter until it turns frothy, then turn down the heat, and stir in the curry paste, stirring until everything is the same shade of red. Now add the sriracha sauce, and stir until blended. If you pour the melted butter into the sauce instead it will congeal and not blend properly. Turn the heat down to the minimum.

Now get the wings out of the oven, noting the time, and transfer into a heat-resistant bowl. Don't dump them in; you want to get rid of the hot grease in the pan per your best prectice. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss (stir deeply and forcefully enough that the wings are trading places) until well well coated. Now you dump the wings back onto the cookie sheet, and ladle any remaining sauce over them. Return to the oven and bake for a total time of an hour. If you put the sauce on for the entire oven time the sugar in the sriracha chars, and if you follow the common practice of applying sauce to cooked wings the flavor is external to the wing. This way you get a complex flavor with a smoky note similar to that of the cheap oatlay peppers.

This recipe produces significant heat, and as I expected, they are hotter when the sauce bakes for only the second half hour. They are, at least for my taste, into the pleasure-pain realm suitable for bar wings. They are not so hot that the first one numbs you and the rest don't hurt. If you think they should be, as for a Mancamp type occasion, you could experiment with additional curry paste, or add a few drops of ego-grade hot sauce. I don't see the need.


I was negligent, and took the announcement that the Carnival of Recipes was delayed till Sunday meant that I had till Sunday to get my submission in, and thougght I was doing just fine getting it in late on Saturday. Anyway, it is up, and my entry is in.

I must point out that if made per the recipe, the wings will tingle the taste buds, not incinerate them. In fact, upon extended eating, I am not getting the cumulative burn I got from the first test batch. If you like the heat of common commercial wings you will like these. If you need to do damage, increase the amount of curry paste or resort to your show-off hot sauce, as suggested above.

Further Update

I've made a couple more batches of these wings. I can go thru a double batch - 5 pounds of wings - all by my lonesome in about three days. I found that 1-1/2 times the curry paste (3/4 teaspoon in a standard batch) noticeably increased the heat, and a double dose (1 teaspoon in a standard batch) got my nose running. More interestingly, I found that adding ground cumin (1/4 teaspoon in a standard batch) to the sauce at the same time as the curry paste enhances the dragon nature of the wings.

Posted by triticale at January 29, 2005 07:12 PM

These are probably too hot for me but the name is fantastic!

Posted by: punctilious at January 30, 2005 04:08 PM
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