Crispy Garlic Chicken Wings:Today, I wanna share my cooking white whale.
See, there’s this Cantonese chicken dish, Tsui Pei Gai, that is the perfect chicken.
The meat – tender, the skin – crispy, and somehow they figured a way to pack a ton of flavor in the process – my favorite is the
We’ve been wanting to teach you the dish for a while, but unfortunately, most restaurants tend to get there by using one of these classic Cantonese hanging ovens at least somewhere along the way.
That said, there are alternative oven-free approaches out there that involve this mix of poaching and ladling hot oil over the skin.
But after months, years even, of trying different things we just could never really quite get there.
Maybe we will someday, maybe we won’t, or,I dunno, maybe one day we’ll just end up breaking down and trying to squeeze a one
meter oven onto a two-meter balcony.
Over the course of this perpetually frustrating journey, we found that the poach and ladle method does seem to work phenomenally on the wings.
So while my white whale is still out there nagging me, if you can forgive us for doing a bit of a creative interpretation at the
very least, I think we can make a pretty damn tasty garlic-y chicken wing.
For that garlic wing?
You’re need gonna need a borderline unreasonable quantity of garlic.
Here I’m using 500 grams worth of pre-peeled garlic because I am lazy, but if you’re using proper bulbs just go ahead with about
three heads worth.
Just add that to a blender together with 100 grams of light soy sauce, 100 grams of fish sauce, 45 grams of salt, 15 grams of chicken bouillon powder, an optional teaspoon of garlic powder, and a pint of water.
Give that a good blitz, using the smoothie setting if you got one, then toss about 20-30 chicken wings in a pot together with that
marinade and another pint of water to actually submerge the wings.
Now just cover, and let that marinate for at least thirty minutes, or up to overnight, and today, we opted for a soak of about an
an hour or two.
After that time, uncover your pot and over a high flame bring all that up to a boil.
This’ll likely take a bit, about five minutes, but once it’s at a rolling boil just let it go for one minute more.
Then shut off the heat, cover, and let that soak in the hot water for 15 minutes more.
So then as that’s soaking, let’s prep our Cui pi Shui, or crispy skin liquid.
This is key here and relies on this stuff – maltose – the very same stuff that’s used to brush over Beijing Duck.
That said if you can’t find Maltose, the golden syrup can serve much the same function, ditto with that cheap-o sort of mass-produced honey.
Now, because Maltose is probably the most aggravatingly sticky substance known to mankind, I like making my cuipishui by ratio.
Just scoop out as much maltose as you can conveniently obtain – aiming about fifteen grams worth, and mix it with white vinegar
at a ratio of three to one.
So here I got 12 grams of syrup, so I’ll be mixing that in with 36 grams of white vinegar.
Then hit that with a spritz of lemon, about 3 grams worth… give it a patient mix, and this is ready for chicken.
After the soak, remove your wings from your garlic liquid, and give them a quick rinse with hot water to get off any stray marinade.
Now move those over to a big bowl, toss in your crispy skin liquid, and give it a nice mix being careful not to break up the wings.
Then move those over to a baking sheet skin side up, and brush a bit of the excess liquid on top for good measure.
And,at this point, these need to dry.
What people like to do over here in China is toss them in front of a fan for the day, which works perfectly: six to eight hours
later, and they’ll be ready to go.
That said, whenever we keep anything out at room temperature on this channel, the internet’s resident ServSafe experts all seem to come out of the woodwork and lecture us about the ever ominous “Danger Zone”.
And while the danger zone doesn’t really seem to be all that dangerous over here in Asia, the last thing we need is the American
FDA banging on our door freedom-ing up our kitchen, so today we’ll dry our wings in the fridge.
Takes a bit longer that way though, so we’ll be coming back to them the next day.
18-24 hours later, your chicken wings should be looking pretty dry and leathery.
You can finish them for an hour in front of the fan if they’re not quite there, but either way, these guys are good to cook.
Three options for you: first technique, mimicking the authentic Cantonese crispy skin chicken with the oil ladling method; second, shallow frying if your kitchen’s not set up for handling a whole pot of oil; and lastly for those that really just can’t be bothered, we’ll also just blast a few in the oven and see how they turn out.
So right, oil ladling method up first.
To go this route, just toss four or five wings skin side down on a spider and lower them into 130 centigrade oil, keeping the flame
at around medium-low.
A minute later, flip, and dunk them in again for another minute.
At this point, up to your flame to high and with a target temperature of about 170, ladle the oil over the wings for about one minute.
Then flip the wings once again so that the skin side’s up – and continue ladling over the wings till the skin turns a nice dark
golden brown, or about three minutes more.
At that point, just move them over to a baking tray and that is method number one.
You can also reach much the same point with a shallow fry.
To do so, fill something non-sticky with about two centimeters of oil and get that up to about 130.
Then with the flame on medium, toss the wings in the skin side down, and fry those until the skin side gets nice and golden.
Now, it should be said that with this method if your oil temperature ends up getting a little too high, you will be at risk for some
pop pages, so are careful, don’t push it, and do keep a lid handy.
So then, after about five minutes our wings were looking pretty good, so just give them a flip and fry for three minutes more.
And after that time, those ended up looking pretty much indistinguishable from the ladling method, I think.
Last approach – oven.
For this one, we’re gonna be dunking the wings in oil before putting them back on the baking tray without this oiling process
the wings actually won’t end up really browning much at all.
Just toss those in the oven at 230 centigrade for 12 minutes, with the convection fan on if you got one.
In the end, these guys do end up a bit dryer, a bit less evenly crispy but they are also delicious enough.
But if at all possible, one of the two frying methods would be our personal recommendation.
To go along with these wings, we’ll be serving them on a bed of fengsha or ‘garlic sand’, to dip.
This stuff is basically a combination of breadcrumbs, deep-fried garlic, and seasoning.
Now if you happen to have a Chiu zhou or Thai grocer near you, you might just be able to buy some deep-fried garlic, in which case, your life’s easy: just set aside 25 grams worth.
For the rest of us though, we’ll need to make some deep-fried garlic ourselves, which’s a little annoying but not too bad I promise.
To make it, just finely mince 30 grams worth or about a half ahead of garlic but for this, really try to do your best bang-up job
And to go along with that, we’ll also mince up and deep fry another 30 grams worth of shallot – optional of course, also feel
free to just do 60 grams of all garlic if you prefer.
Just toss those in a small non-stick saucepan together with about an inch of cool oil, then toss the flame to medium.
The idea here is to slowly fry these aromatics – keyword?
Your goal’s to get the garlic to expel its moisture but not burn, so if you find things’re bubbling a bit too fast, swap your flame down
to medium-low or even low.
After about 30 to 40 minutes, that garlic should be dry, hard, and nice and golden brown so strain, and move over to some paper towels.
That leftover garlic oil though?
Definitely don’t toss it.
While we won’t be using it in this recipe, it is super delicious and we’ll put some useful ideas in the pinned comment below.
To a saucepan toss in 25 grams of breadcrumbs – here we’re using Chinese-style panko, but a Japanese-style panko would also work great, color aside 5 grams of chicken powder, a quarter teaspoon each salt, sugar, and MSG together with your deep-fried garlic.
Mix that together over a low flame for a couple of minutes, or until everything is evenly incorporated then layer that garlic sand over your serving plate.
Toss your crispy wings on your crispy garlic, sprinkle a bit on top for good measure and with that, you’ve got yourself a pretty
Even if the whole bird still eludes us yet.
So, let’s set our expectations straight here.
The crispy that we’re talking about with these wings is not “southern fried chicken”-crispy, it’s more “Peking duck”-crispy.
It’s actually a concept in Cantonese cooking we can it ‘fa pei’ – which means it gives you a really nice pop, but then it just
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