Like so many others, I was inspired to make these chicken wings after tasting Pok Pok’s mouth wateringly delicious wings in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to re-create the recipe at home. I ran across a recipe which included maple syrup and orange juice, along with fish sauce, in the marinade, and I really liked those flavors with the chicken. This is a revised version of that recipe.
The prep time and cooking time only take about 20 minutes, but the chicken wings need to marinate for at least 2 hours. I like to make this dish for guests with children because kids like to eat with their hands and everyone loves them. Of course, it’s nothing fancy. I serve this with a cabbage slaw salad (Vietnamese style) and maybe sweet potato fries.
You can find sambal oelek almost everywhere now. Just look in your local supermarket’s ethnic foods section. I was able to find Red Boat Fish Sauce at my local Whole Foods Market, which is considered an excellent Vietnamese fish sauce. Nowadays, you can find fish sauce at your local supermarket as well.
Here is what you’ll need:
- 1/2 cup of Vietnamese style fish sauce
- 1/2 cup of maple syrup (the real kind)
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 tbsp. Sambal Oelek
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 pounds chicken wings
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, combine fish sauce, maple syrup, orange juice, sambal oelek, garlic and chicken. Mix well and marinate for a few hours, at least.
In a large deep skillet, add the vegetable oil and fill 2 inches deep. Drain the chicken wings and retain the liquid in a bowl. Set the chicken wings to dry on paper towels. Pour the marinade in a deep pot under high heat, and have it cook down to a syrupy consistency for about 5 minutes while constantly stirring. Turn the heat off.
Heat the oil until you see tiny bubbles forming. Add the cornstarch to a shallow bowl. Dust the chicken wings into the cornstarch, shake the excess off, and place in the skillet. Fry on each side for about 3-5 minutes. Watch the coloring. It should be golden.
Once the chicken wings are golden, place them into the pot with the marinade and toss well to coat. If the marinade is too cool or too thick, heat again for 30 seconds. This will make it easier to coat the chicken. Once the chicken is coated, place them in a large shallow serving plate and sprinkle with cilantro or even red chiles for extra spiciness.