There’s a restaurant in Vancouver that’s known for its fried chicken wings. It’s a hole in the wall kinda joint in Chinatown, where you have to line up for hours, usually in the rain, for your hit of chicken wing crack. When I’m in Vancouver, you’ll find me there most rainy nights. I’m not quick sure what makes their wings so addictive, but I’m pretty sure it’s a mix of MSG and sugar.
I skipped out on the powdered MSG, only because I don’t have any on hand – I don’t have anything against it at all, in fact, I have fond memories of my mom using it when we were little, before MSG got a bad rep. Instead of MSG, to amp up the umami flavor, I turned to one of my other favorite flavors, fish sauce. A quick fish sauce and sugar marinade, rice flour for a light and crispy coating, and lime with salt and pepper for dips and you’ve got fried chicken wings that I could eat all day, every day.
Seriously guys, this fried chicken is magic. It manages to be light (for fried chicken) and the sugar just adds that extra bit of interest. I know what you’re thinking, sugar on chicken?! But trust me, you want this chicken. I want this chicken!
serves 2 prep time: 5 minutes active time: 25 minutes total time: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
juice 1/2 lime
1.5 pounds chicken wings
oil, to deep fry (I like grapeseed)
1 cup rice flour
generous sprinkle of sugar, to finish
sliced green onions and cilantro, to garnish
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and lime juice. Add the wings and toss to coat. Let marinate for 1 hour.
Heat up at least 2 inches of oil (I prefer rice bran or grapeseed) in a deep cast iron or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat until 375°.
Place the rice flour in a bowl and, working in batches, coat the chicken wings, shaking off the excess flour. Use a pair of tongs to gently add the chicken to the hot oil.
Deep fry in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Flip occasionally as needed, until crunchy, brown and cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Let drain on a rack or paper towels. Sprinkle generously with sugar while still hot. Top with cilantro and green onions. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and salt and pepper. You want enough pepper that the lime juice looks almost grey. Dip wings into the lime-salt-pepper sauce and enjoy!