Hot Wings, Three Ways

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 1 to 2 servings
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Chicken Wings:

6 chicken wings

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups canola oil, for frying

Sauces, for serving:

Habanero BBQ Syrup; Chinese Black Bean-Sesame Sauce; and Moroccan Ginger Sauce, recipes follow

Habanero BBQ Syrup:

1 habanero chile, char-grilled or broiled until blackened and sweated

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses

1/4 cup honey

5 tablespoons ketjap manis

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Chinese Black Bean-Sesame Sauce:

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/4 cup sliced green onions

2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fermented black beans or dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey or molasses

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed

Moroccan Ginger Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon, or 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon crushed coriander seed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, for garnish

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro, for garnish

1/4 cup dry-cured olives, for serving

1/4 cup roasted almonds, for serving


  1. Line a plate with paper towels and have ready. Cut off the very end tips of the chicken wings and discard. Cut the wings in half where the joint bones meet. Make sure the wings are dry. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and some pepper; add the wing pieces and toss to coat.
  2. In a large cast-iron skillet or a small stockpot, heat the oil to 350 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer. Shake off any excess coating from the wings and drop the pieces into the hot oil. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the wings from the pan to a bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of the sauce of your choice until evenly coated. Serve immediately.

Habanero BBQ Syrup:

Yield: about 2 cups sauce
  1. Wearing gloves to protect your hands from the chile's volatile oils, remove most of the charred skin and all the seeds from the habanero. In a small saucepan, combine the chile, molasses, honey, ketjap manis, vinegar, tamarind and garlic, and bring just to a boil over high heat.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Add the ketchup and Dijon mustard to the syrup and pour into a blender and puree, or use an immersion blender to puree right in the pan. Stored in an airtight container, the syrup will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator. Put 1/2 cup of the sauce in a bowl, add the hot fried wings and toss until evenly coated. 

Chinese Black Bean-Sesame Sauce:

  1. Combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and stir to make a slurry.
  2. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the canola oil. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic and black beans, and saute quickly for a couple of minutes. Add the water and cornstarch mixture, vinegar and honey. Stir until the cornstarch starts to thicken the sauce, a minute or two. Add the sesame oil and red pepper flakes if using. Put the sauce in a bowl, add the hot fried wings and toss until evenly coated. Serve hot, sprinkled with the sesame seeds. 

Moroccan Ginger Sauce:

  1. In a saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the garlic, ginger, orange juice and 1/4 cup water and bring to a simmer. Add the preserved lemon or lemon zest, honey, orange blossom water, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and coriander. Cook until the sauce is reduced a bit, another 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Put the sauce in a bowl, add the hot fried wings and toss until evenly coated. Serve hot, sprinkled with the parsley and cilantro, with the olives and almonds alongside.