Sticky Wings
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These wings are an absolute treat to eat. Sticky Wings are not something you want to be eating every day, however as a special treat there is nothing better. Beautiful fried, golden wings drenched in a sticky sweet, salty, and sour sauce? Yes Please!

If we see these types of wings pop up on a restaurant menu (typically at Southeast Asian restaurants) It’s an immediate order. There’s no debate, you might as well put them on the fryer as soon as we walk into the restaurant it’s such a sure thing

What’s the secret to beautiful Sticky Wings?

It’s really a simple list of ingredients of Tamarind, Palm Sugar and Fish Sauce which make the Sticky Wings so full of flavor. They perhaps seem a little more difficult to make when you’re eating them simply because for a lot people these may not be the typical flavors they cook with. Tamarind for one is such an amazing ingredient. The fruit of a Tamarind Tree is such a beautiful ingredient widely used across Asia, India and Mexico and is bursting with a brilliant sour and tangy flavor. Paired with that delightfully stinky fish sauce and loads of sugar, you’ve got yourself a Sticky Sauce that’s rib-coatingly good!

Sticky Wings with Chili
The secret to these amazing Asian Style Sticky Wings is a combination of sweet, salty, acid and spicy flavors. Get the combination right and the flavor is immense!

This is a very rich dish, best served as an appetizer. You could absolutely cook a entrée portion however it’ll be sweetness overload! The recipe is for 2 people, 3 wings each. Totally scalable as always depending on how many you are cooking for. If it is for 4 people, double the ingredients!

How to make perfect Asian Style Stick Wings

The most important step in making these amazing Sticky Wings is to make your own Tamarind Water. No, you don’t need to try and source Tamarind trees and pick them from the wild, but you do need to get some Tamarind from the store! The good news is it is becoming a much more common ingredient across the world over the past few years. You may need to head to specialty Asian or Indian grocery stores, who will stock it

We recommend getting the block of Tamarind, which is essentially a solid block of concentrated Tamarind Pulp that has already been extracted / deseeded from the Pods. We’d definitely recommend getting Tamarind that has already had the seeds removed as this will save a lot of steps in the cooking process

To make Tamarind Water all you need to do is cut off a chunk of Tamarind (about 4 oz. should do it for this recipe), and place into a bowl along with some boiling water. Try to submerge as much of the Tamarind as you can. Over time the Tamarind will start to dissolve into the water

We recommend giving the Tamarind a few good stirs every few minutes to really get the liquid extracted. After about 20 minutes the Block will have turned into a fibrous material. You want to strain and discard the fibers, but keep that delicious Tamarind Water, which we use as a base for the Sauce to coat our Sticky Wings

Sticky Wings glaze
Tamarind Water and Palm Sugar are the key ingredients to make the amazing glaze for our Sticky Wings

Making the Sweet Sticky Sauce for the Wings

Once you’ve got your delicious, acidic Tamarind Water, place it into a saucepan along with Garlic, Ginger, Fish Sauce, Palm Sugar, and some Salt. The Fish Sauce will bring a wonderful funkiness to the dish which gives the wings its unique South-east Asian flavor

Perhaps the second most critical ingredient in the sauce other than the Tamarind is Palm Sugar. Palm Sugar is generally not the most common type of sugar going around, so you may need to pick it up from the specialty store along with the Tamarind Block. It comes in half-circle disc shapes. You will need to carefully cut off chunks of the Palm Sugar to add to the sauce. I like to shave pieces off from the end to gradually get as much sugar as needed

For this recipe you do need a fair bit of sugar. About 2 oz. in total. The Sugar is what brings the lovely stickiness to the sauce, as well as that wonderful, sweet flavor. Don’t be shy when adding Sugar to the sauce, this isn’t a dish we’re making to be healthy! We’ve got plenty of Salads for that!

Shallow Fry the Chicken Wings for the crispiest result

For the best result you want to Shallow Fry the Chicken Wings with some neutral frying oil like Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil. Because we will add the Sticky Tamarind Sauce to the wings right before they are served, it is important that the wings are as crispy as possible. You can’t get any crispier than frying

Use about 2 – 3 cups of oil in a pan and get the Oil heat scorching hot, around 350F. Carefully drop the wings in and fry for about 5 minutes, turning once to ensure an even cook all over. Once the internal temperature of the wings reaches 160F, carefully remove them from the Oil and place on a wire rack

A good tip is to immediately season any fried food as soon as it has come out of the Oil. The Wings will still be so hot that the Salt will stick to the skin, and not fall off. So, give those wings a generous hit of Salt, then add them to a bowl with the Sticky Sauce. Ensure a good coating all over and they’re ready for serving

Asian Style Sticky Wings
Finish these ridiculously tasty Asian Style Sticky Wings with Chili, Cilantro, and some crispy Shallots for even more flavor and crispy texture

Finish the Sticky Wings with some color and texture

This is an optional step, but adding some nice color and texture to the plating goes a long way with this dish. Finely chop up some Red Chili and sprinkle it over the top of the wings along with some freshly chopped Cilantro and they’re ready to be served

Another great and authentic option for toppings is crispy fried Shallots. Keep that Oil warm and cut up about ½ a Shallot into thin strips. Coat them lightly in AP Flour and straight into the Oil until crispy. They add a lovely, crunchy texture to the wings and look great in plating

We guarantee these amazing Sticky Wings will go fast, and that it’s humanely impossible to only stop at eating one. So, make a big batch and enjoy these amazing Chicken Wings!

Recipe Details

Servings

2 people

Prep time

30 minutes

Cooking time

5 minutes

Total time

35 minutes

Sticky Wings Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. Tamarind Block
  • 2 cups Water
  • 6 Chicken Wings
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp Ginger, grated
  • 1.5 discs of Palm Sugar (approx. 2 oz.) finely chopped
  • 1 Egg, whisked
  • 1 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • ½ cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 3 cups of Frying Oil (eg: Vegetable, Sunflower, Canola)
  • ½ Red Chili, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Cilantro, chopped
  • Salt

Instructions

For the Sauce

  1. Begin by making Tamarind Water which is how the block of Tamarind Pulp is converted into a cooking ingredient. Cut the Tamarind into 1-inch pieces then place in a bowl with boiling water so it’s totally covered. Leave for 20 minutes
  2. Strain the Water, ensuring you are capturing all of the lovely pulp from the Tamarind. Push the Tamarind into the sieve so as much juice and pulp is extracted and capture it all in a bowl
  3. Place the Garlic and Ginger in a saucepan over low heat, cook for 1 minute until fragrant then add the Tamarind Water, Fish Sauce, Palm Sugar, plus a pinch of Salt
  4. Stir continuously until the Palm Sugar has fully dissolved and the sauce is a thick, syrup like texture

For the Wings

  1. In a large pan / dutch oven bring your frying oil to a temperature of 350 – 375 degrees, which is the optimal frying temperature. You can either deep fry or shallow fry the Wings, both work
  2. Combine the Flour, Baking Powder, and 1 tsp of Salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl add your whisked egg
  3. Coat the wings first with the Egg mixture, then transfer to the Flour mixture bowl and coat well then carefully place into the hot oil. Place the wings slightly into the oil, then drop them away from you to avoid any Oil splashing
  4. Fry wings until their internal temperature reads 160 degrees, approximately 5 minutes. Try not to overload the pan as the Wings will reduce the temperature. Best to cook in 2 batches
  5. Once the Wings are done, set aside on a wire rack and immediately season with Salt. Then place in a mixing bowl and pour over the Sauce. Mix Wings with tongs to ensure they’re fully covered in sauce then transfer to a serving plate
  6. Finally, garnish with Chili and Cilantro and a lot of paper towels on the side! They’re messy eating!

Timing is key with this recipe as the Sticky Sauce is something you want to serve immediately. The best approach is to first prepare your Tamarind Water, then cook your wings, then finally make the sauce, and pour immediately over the wings ready to serve. Be careful though as the sauce will be very hot!

Try these delicious Chicken Sticky Wings as an appetizer alongside our vibrant Tom Kha Gai – Thai Coconut Soup recipe. They’re a match made in heaven!

Happy Cooking!

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