Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings with Chilies, Garlic, and Thai Basil

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings

Since I never deep fry at home, I love to order deep fried stuff when I go out. The dish that I almost always get at Chinese restaurants is salt and pepper pork chops, jiao yan pai gu. Small pieces of pork chops are flavored with salt and pepper, lightly dredged in flour, and deep fried until crispy. It gets even better when some restaurants top the dish with stir fried chopped chilies, thin slices of golden fried garlic, and deep fried thai basil leaves. I wanted to recreate this dish at home with chicken wings. By pan frying the chicken wings, I was able to get a nice crispy skin then I cooked the chilies, garlic slices, and basil leaves briefly in the hot oil and tossed that with the wings. The garlic isn't as fragrant and crispy as the deep fried stuff but the flavor is still there. In addition to black and white pepper, you add some ground szechuan peppercorns when seasoning the wings or finish the dish with a sprinkling of szechuan peppercorn salt for an interesting kick.

Quick Tip:
After purchasing a bunch of basil, snip the ends of the stems off as you would with cut flowers and store the basil in a glass of water by a bright window. I've been able to keep basil happy like this for over 2 weeks now.

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings
Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings with Chilies, Garlic, and Thai Basil

2 lbs chicken wings, cut into wingettes and drumettes
1/4 C flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 jalapenos, seeds and pith removed and cut into a 1/4 in dice
3 cloves of garlic, cut into thin slices
Handful or two of thai basil leaves, larger leaves torn in half

Season the chicken wings with salt, white pepper, and black pepper (it's best if the black pepper is freshly ground). Lightly dredge in flour. If the wings aren't seasoned enough at this stage, you can season them more after cooking.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken wings and brown on all sides. Cover the pan and let the chicken wings cook over medium low to medium heat. If the pan gets too dry add a little water. Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the cover and begin to crisp up the chicken again. The chicken wings are fully cooked when no blood coming out of the bones, juices are clear, and the internal temperature 180 degrees F. Remove the chicken wings to a rack to keep them crispy.

By now a lot of fat will have rendered from the skin. Drain the fat from the pan, reserving about 1 - 2 tablespoons. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the garlic slices and cook until they start to turn a little golden. Add the diced jalapenos and saute briefly. Off heat, add the thai basil leaves and toss the leaves with the rest of the hot ingredients. Toss the chicken wings with the chilies and basil leaves. Transfer to a platter and serve. Add more pepper and salt if it needs additional seasoning. I always like to add a little more freshly ground black pepper.


Susan @ SGCC said...

wufdstcThis sounds like a great Super Bowl dish. Your wings look terrific!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Would it be bad to have these for breakfast? (I must stop reading blogs first thing in the morning....) They look delicious!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Amy, I love learning new ways of cooking with chicken - recipe bookmarked!

That tip about the basil is wonderful, too!

pam said...

I have bookmarked this! It sounds wonderful!

Sig said...

Wow, that is a great recipe.. you can't tell its not deep fried looking at the recipe.. I am trying to stay away from deep frying myself, so I am going to try this for sure...

Hillary said...

I have been LOVING Thai basil lately. It has such a good flavor!

Anonymous said...

oh man! I love garlic with chicken!the wife and i were wondering what we were going to cook with the food we got from this weekend, but now we don't need to wonder anymore! Thank you!

test it comm said...

That chicken looks nice and golden brown and sounds tasty. Thanks for the basil tip.

SteamyKitchen said...

YUM! LOVE IT. I'm making a version similar for the cookbook....I'll email you a little later. Please help me test recipe?!
xo, jaden

Gattina Cheung said...

oh boy, I love anything with "jian yan" (salt & pepper?)... and topped with fried garlic and chilli, heavenly! I know your chicken wings must be very VERY good!

Brilynn said...

I love chicken wings, I'll definitely have to give this a try!

Amy said...

You're right! They would be fantastic for Super Bowl. I'll add them to the list.

I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I know exactly how you feel since I tend to read blogs right before my lunch break and late at night.

4 weeks now and the basil is still going strong. :)


I sometimes wish I owned a deep fryer but for now pan frying works for me. :) Though I really crave onion rings sometimes.

I'm with you! I love the flavor of Thai basil.

No problem! I hope you like them!

I love the crisp skin on the wings, it's the best part. :)

Sure I would love to! Send me an email!

The salt, pepper, garlic, and chilies is such a great topping!

Hope you like them!

Lola Cherry Cola said...

Oooh, I must thank you for posting this delicious recipe. I've just cooked the chicken and just doing a topping (instead of basil leaves I'm using spring onions and peppers as that's what our fave chinese restaurant uses). The chicken looks delicious, if it tastes even half as good as it looks them I'm going to be one happy girl. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

okay, this looks awesome. we are big wing people, and this will be a great change from our standard spicy dry rub. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Like Jaden, I LOVE IT!

As you know I am a PROFESSIONAL CHEF and a SENIOR ADVISOR for SeriouEats. And I am REALLY impressed with your recipe.

I may reference it on my website, if that's okay.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a different way to make wingettes and this did the trick. I added a twist by dousing wings with soy sauce before the light flour dredge and, of course, used freshly ground pepper. So simple but a nice break from fried and very flavorful. Thank you for the recipe. I'm also following you on Twitter.

Alex C said...

These AER awesome! And I did have them for a (late) breakfast--leftiover from the day befoe's dinner. Nuked right up (careful not to overheat). Awesome!


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