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Kung Pao Chicken Wings

Kung Pao Chicken Wings


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Combine the annatto seed, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and vegetable oil in a large bowl and let steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain and reserve.

Fill a large pot halfway with vegetable oil and preheat to 325 degrees. To make the sauce, combine the rice wine, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, sweet chile sauce, chile bean sauce, sesame oil, and ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the oil that's been steeping and set aside.

To make the buttermilk ranch dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, and ranch powder together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mix the rice flour and water until smooth. Rinse and dry chicken wings. Dredge the wings in wing batter and fry until golden brown. Drain excess oil off wings then toss in Kung Pao sauce. Garnish with chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro, and sliced scallions. Serve with buttermilk ranch.


Kung Pao Chicken Wings

Kung pao sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup chili bean paste
1 tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups scallions, sliced 1/4-in. thick
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
2 tbsp. ginger, minced
2 tbsp. Korean chili flakes
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns, toasted and lightly ground

Peanuts, toasted and crushed, for garnish
Chiffonade cilantro, for garnish

Jonathan Bennett
Chef-partner
Red Restaurant Group
Cleveland

All the traditional flavors of kung pao chicken in a hand-held appetizer. These wings will bring a kick to your next event.


Baked Kung Pao Chicken Wings Recipe



One of the most overlooked part of a cookbook is the section of sauces and seasonings. It’s often placed in the back with few or no photos, in a chapter that’s unceremoniously titled “Sauces” or “Basics”. If you’re a cookbook reader who only goes for recipes with pretty pictures, you’re likely missing out on a treasure trove of secret recipes. I always look at that section of the book because that’s where a cookbook writer or chef stores key and oft-used recipes that they rely upon. It’s not a discard section of the book but rather chock full of ideas and techniques that will help you master the recipes in the book and perhaps use to tweak your regular repertoire.

That’s how I ended up with over 2 cups of Dale Talde’s kung pao sauce in my fridge. Talde is based in New York and highly creative, mixing and matching ideas. He’s Filipino-American but his cookbook, Asian American, mixes traditions. For example,Thai miang kam, usually served on wild betel leaves (la lot) are prepared with Japanese shiso, Korean sesame leaves and Vietnamese tia to (all three are perilla leaves but with different flavors). Char siu pork is served with an apple salad and tahini mustard. I can imagine this kind of food in modern cafes in Asia but it’s happening in Brooklyn, New York. There’s also a nachos recipe.

The book's tone is slightly irreverent but also peppered with humility. The occasional image of Talde with overly endowed women send a message of parody. His outfit always includes an apron to remind you that he's a cook. He often sports a goofy look even as he tries to look tough. In all honesty, I ignored most of the images and paid attention to the text, which is full of verve. Asian American is a fun book that unleashes fresh ideas to consider and tinker with. 

The kung pao sauce promised to be multipurpose. I had all the ingredients required for the sauce so it took little time to put together. The recipe was written with some hints, like use Lee Kum Kee brand of chile bean sauce and Mae Ploy brand of Thai sweet chile oi. I have a very assertive chile bean sauce from Sichuan. It’s salty and spicy. My Thai sweet chile sauce is tangy-sweet and not cloying like Mae Ploy’s. I knew that my version would not be exactly what Talde intended but you cannot control what a cook does in the privacy of his/her kitchen. I also had homemade chile oil (I use my recipe in Asian Dumplings). So cookbook reading hint #2: If there’s an ingredient line that says, “X amount of chile sauce, such as Lee Kum Kee” that’s the brand that the writer/chef used. (Chefs rarely write their own books nowadays and Talde smartly collaborated with J.J. Goode to put the book together. J.J. worked on Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok the Thai-style pork ribs recipe for a taste.)

Talde’s book flaunts the notion that its recipes are proudly inauthentic. In this age of fast-moving ideas, authenticity is best measured by whether or not a person is honest, true, and earnest in his/her endeavor. A traditional kung pao gets a tart, smoky edge from vinegar. Talde’s recipe called for unseasoned rice vinegar, which is pretty mild. I tried it but found myself adding Chinkiang vinegar (a dark lusty vinegar produced in a region near Shanghai) whenever I used it. You can use rice vinegar but I’m switching to the darker, more complex vinegar. It went better with my set of ingredients.

What do you do with all that sauce? I put it on all sorts of things, tossing it onto roasted baby potatoes and roasted cauliflower. I also added it to the end of a fried rice, as well as stirred it into noodles.

The sauce is also employed for Talde’s much lauded kung pao chicken wings, which are quite brilliant with its overnight marinade in yoghurt. I baked the wings instead of frying it as Talde suggests. High heat roasting in the upper third of the oven is how I got a slightly crisp finish on the wings. It came together nicely for a restaurant-style snack that you don’t have to really fuss over. I’m not a ranch dressing fan but you can certainly offer some on the side to cool the fire a tad.

Talde’s recipes may seem unconventional but when you dive into one, you see where he’s going and the end-product is thrillingly fun. I’ve adapted the recipe below from Talde’s Asian American cookbook published by Grand Central. You won't end up with 2 cups of sauce but there will be extra for you to play with.


Baked Kung Pao Chicken Wings

Serves 4 to 6 as a snack

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken drumettes and/or flat parts too
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) yogurt (full fat, not Greek)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola

Kung Pao Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
  • 3/4 teaspoon annatto seeds or 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 star anise, broken up into individual points
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chile oil, homemade or store bought
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chile bean sauce (use less if you have punchy Sichuan dou ban jiang more if you have milder Lee Kum Kee brand)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Thai sweet chile sauce, purchased or homemade
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine, dry sherry, or bourbon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar, or 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic and 1 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

Finish the wings

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorn
  • 6 dried Asian chiles, snipped in half lengthwise with scissors and seeds discarded
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coarsely chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) kung pao sauce (above)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) loosely packed roughly chopped cilantro stems and leaves
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a zip-top bag, combine the chicken, yogurt, fish sauce and oil. Seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan or butter warmer, combine the neutral oil, annatto (or paprika), peppercorns, and star anise. Bring to a gentle sizzle over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan, until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove off heat and stir in the chile oil. Combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl. Strain the oil into the bowl discard the solids. Whisk or stir until you see no separation between the ingredients. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate up to 1 month, or freeze for 3 months. You will have a generous 1 cup (240 ml).
  3. Remove the chicken from the fridge. Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 450F (230C). Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and put a rack on the sheet. Arrange the wings on the rack with 1 to 2 inches of space between them for heat circulation. Bake for about 45 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times to ensure even browning. Cool slightly.
  4. To finish the wings, use a large skillet or wide Dutch oven. Put the remaining oil, ground peppercorn, and dried chiles in the pan. Heat over medium-high until sizzling and fragrant. Increase the heat to high and add the chicken and peanuts. Stir to coat and fry the peanuts for about 1 minute, until they’re fragrant.
  5. Add the kung pao sauce, expect lots of sizzling. Stir to combine, then add the green onion and cilantro. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the ingredients clings to the wings. Transfer to a platter or small dishes and dive in, with or without the Ranch dressing.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 ounce hot chile paste
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts
  • 4 ounces chopped peanuts

To Make Marinade: Combine 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

To Make Sauce: In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.

Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup

Coat the chicken pieces with 1/4 cup of cornstarch set aside.

Beat the eggs, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour and baking powder until no large lumps remain. Mix in the chicken until evenly coated.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Drop in the chicken pieces cook until golden brown and no longer pink on the inside, about 12 minutes. Set the chicken aside keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and stir in the sesame oil, ginger, and green onion. Cook and stir until the onion is limp and the ginger begins to brown, about 1 minute. Pour in the water, vinegar, and sugar bring to a boil. Dissolve the cornstarch in the soy sauce and add to the simmering vinegar along with the oyster sauce and ketchup. Stir until the sauce has thickened and is no longer cloudy. Stir in the chicken and simmer until hot.


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  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, divided (or dry sherry, if unavailable)
  • 1 tablepoon cornstarch, divided
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns toasted in hot skillet for 30 seconds until fragrant, divided (see note)
  • 3 scallions, whites finely minced, and greens finely sliced, reserved separately
  • 1/2 cup fried fresh peanuts or roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (or distilled white vinegar if unavailable)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan fermented chili-bean paste (or generic Asian chili-garlic sauce if unavailable)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 12 hot Chinese dry chili peppers, seeded
  • 2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1/2 cup total)

Combine chicken, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Allow to marinate in fridge for at least 30 minutes, and up to two hours.

Grind half of Sichuan peppercorns in mortar and pestle. Combine with scallion greens and reserve. Combine scallion whites, garlic, and ginger in small bowl. Combine remaining soy sauce, remaining Shaoxing wine, remaining corn starch, black vinegar, chili-bean paste, and sugar in small bowl and mix until cornstarch is fully dissolved.

Set fine-meshed strainer over small heat-proof bowl. Heat peanut oil in wok over high heat until shimmering. Add remaining Sichuan peppercorns and dried chiles and cook until fragrant, about fifteen seconds. Drain in strainer. Pick out chiles and reserve. Discard peppercorns.

Return wok to high heat until smoking. Add 1/4 of oil and immediately add half of marinated chicken. Spread in even layer with spatula. Cook without moving for 1 minute, then cook, stirring and tossing constantly until barely cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a medium metal bowl. Wipe out wok with paper towel, add another1/4 of oil, and repeat with remaining chicken. Wipe out wok with paper towel, add another 1/4 of the oil, and cook leeks until charred in spots but still slightly crisp, about 1 minute. Add peanuts, reserved chiles, reserved chicken, and remaining oil to wok and push to side to make space in the center of the wok. Add garlic/ginger mixture and cook, stirring mixture constantly until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Toss entire contents of wok together and add sauce. Cook, stirring and tossing constantly until chicken is coated in glossy layer of sauce. Stir in scallion greens and ground Sichuan pepper. Transfer to serving plate and serve immediately with steamed white rice.


Nutrition Facts

  1. Chicken - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating before continuing with prep.) Pat wings and drumettes dry. Toss with baking powder and salt. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Bell peppers / Ginger / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store bell peppers in one container. Combine ginger and garlic in another container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Make Kung Pao Sauce - Combine ginger, garlic, first portion of water, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to let the flavors come together. Whisk together second portion of water and cornstarch and slowly add it to the sauce while stirring. Cook until sauce thickens,

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  1. Heat oven to 450F / 232C. Line a sheet pan with foil. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on top. Top cooling rack with wings and drumettes, leaving some space in between so that air can circulate (this will help them to get crispy).
  2. Roast chicken until cooked through and crisp and golden on the outside, turning halfway through cooking,

Spicy Kung Pao Chicken Wings Recipe From 'Woks of Life'

Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Below, Bill Leung of The Woks of Life lets us in on his secret to perfect “fried” chicken wings: baking them in the oven.

Photo courtesy of Woks of Life

Kung pao chicken wings are an awesome, delicious alternative to the traditional hot wings or honey barbecue wings that you see all over the place. The spicy, tangy sauce and oven-“fried” preparation make them the ultimate fusion food.

After the sauce, the next best part about this recipe is the oven-fry method used to crisp up the wings. Every time I use this method, I’m convinced that it’s the only way wings should be made.

On with the recipe! The ingredient list is a bit long, but I promise everything has a purpose and adds to the flavor of the dish! Can you tell I’m excited about this one? Go for it!

Kung Pao Chicken Wings
Makes 1 dozen wings

For the marinade:
12 chicken wingettes and drumettes, rinsed and pat dry
¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour

For the kung pao sauce:
1 teaspoon peanut oil (can substitute vegetable or canola oil)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 dried whole red chili peppers
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon spicy bean sauce/paste
1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water, mixed into a slurry
1 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Toss the chicken wings in a large mixing bowl along with all the marinade ingredients, ensuring the wings are well coated. Set aside for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a sheet pan with heavy-duty foil for easy clean-up and add a layer of non-stick foil or parchment paper so the wings don’t stick. Lay the wings on the sheet pan spaced 2 inches apart, ensuring that as much of the marinade coating is on the wings as possible. Bake in the oven for 16 minutes, flipping them halfway through roasting. Both sides of the wings should be crispy. Halfway through this process (i.e. after you’ve flipped the wings), make the sauce.

To make the sauce, place the oil and ginger in a wok or saucepan set over low heat. After 15 seconds, add the garlic, whole dried chilies, and crushed red pepper flakes. Toast another 10 seconds and stir in the Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, chicken stock, sugar, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and spicy bean paste. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Stir in cornstarch slurry until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add the scallions. By now, the wings should be done cooking. Toss them with the sauce and serve, garnished with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve!


Saucy Oven-Baked Kung Pao Chicken Wings

  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 wings 1 x

Description

Oven baked chicken wings tossed in a salty, sweet and spicy Kung Pao sauce. A deliciously simple recipe that is easy to throw together. #easyrecipes #appetizer #chicken #chickenwings #spicy

Ingredients

2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar

1 inch/ 2.5 cm ginger (peeled and crushed)

1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns

5 dried red chiles (broken in half)

1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp of water

2 – 3 scallions stalks (chopped)

1 – 2 tbsp peanuts (crushed)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450F/ 230C.

Separate wings into flats and drumettes. You can cut off the wing tips if you like, but if you’re like me, just keep them on.

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, crushed ginger, crushed garlic cloves, Szechuan peppercorns and red chiles together in a bowl and mix well.

In a large frying pan or skillet, add the soy sauce mixture to the pan and cook over medium-high heat for a minute or so until the sauce is bubbling.

Add chicken wings and coat in sauce. Cook for 5 minutes in the sauce, making sure to evenly cook both sides.

Remove chicken wings from the sauce and transfer to a baking tray.

Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until fully cooked.

After chicken wings are fully cooked (and nice and crispy), make the Kung Pao Sauce to toss them in. Whisk together 1 tsp of cornstarch into 1 tbsp water and add to sauce along with sesame oil. Cook over medium-high heat until sauce has thickened.

Turn off heat, add cooked chicken wings to sauce mixture and toss together until everything is evenly coated.

Transfer wings to a plate and garnish with crushed peanuts and chopped scallions on top.