Wings should be judged not by how saucy or spicy they are, or how quickly they go, but rather by what it takes to clean up after eating. A stack of napkins would suggest good wings. But great wings should necessitate two or three lemon-scented moist towelettes.
From Andrew Zimmern, whose indomitable palate was behind Bizarre Foods, comes a recipe for what very well may be perfect wings. Published in the newly released MUNCHIES cookbook, they’re sweet, sticky, a little spicy — and deceptively easy to make, ready in less than 30 minutes and requiring just one sauce pot for cooking.
One-Pot Sticky Chicken Wings
3 pounds chicken wings, split, tips removed
2 tablespoons minced ginger
4 dried chiles de árbol
2 whole star anise
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1/3 cup sake
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sugar
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges (for serving)
1. In a large, dry Dutch oven or nonstick saucepan, cooking in batches if needed, brown the chicken wings on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add ginger, chiles, star anise and cinnamon to the pot. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sake, soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, sugar and 1/3 water. Increase the heat and bring to a gentle simmer, then cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer vigorously, stirring and tossing occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze that coats the wings, about 8 minutes.
3. Transfer the chicken wings to a platter and scatter scallions on top. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
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