Spicy chicken wings

One of those dishes that you see on menus everywhere, but which so often disappoints, mainly because it just isn’t spicy enough but also because the wings are dried out.

They are dead simple to make and cheap too, because the chicken wings are hardly a premium item at the butcher’s shop.

The important thing is the marinade. You need spice, you need bulk, you need savoury and you need a bit of sweet and sour. That translates into a lot of things you’ll hopefully have in the cupboard.

For the bulk, I like to use tomato ketchup and tomato purée, mixed together. The sweet is a squirt of runny honey, the sour is three tablespoons of vinegar, I like cider vinegar, but wine or rice vinegars are good too. I’d avoid malt vinegar, though.The savoury comes from a tablespoon or two of Lea and Perrins, but you could also use light soy sauce and nam pla for a more Asian taste.

Finally, there is the spice. I like chilli heat and I also like the smokiness you get from chipotle chillies. You could just use one kind of bottled chilli sauce, but I like to blend something smoky with something hot and something fruity. For me, the ideal combination is a mixture of Scotch Bonnet sauce (I like this one), a basic hot chilli sauce, like Encona Original, which is widely available and something to give smokiness. Cholula Chipotle sauce is good and there is a  chipotle version of Tabasco sauce. There is also a range of nice bottled sauces made by the Mexican food chain, Wahaca. I like these a lot.


Anyway, all you do is mix everything together in a large bowl, taste it and adjust balance of heat.sweet.sour/savoury and add a glug of cooking oil. Then, mix in the chicken wings and marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

To cook them, pre-heat the oven to 190C, spread the wings out on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes, turning them once. It is a good idea to cover the base of the tray with tinfoil, because the sauce will stick firm to anything once it has been baked.

Once cooked and nicely coloured, serve immediately.


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