Oct 5, 2015

Sweet Chili Wings

Prep Time: 12 hrs
Cook Time: 30 mins
These wings are both sweet and spicy; with unique flavors and delicately crispy from a light breading.

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One of my favorite things to do is go out to dinner with my boyfriend (and occasional sous chef) Aaron. When I find an impressive dish at a restaurant that I absolutely love I start to crave it all the time so I love to take on the challenge of figuring out how I can recreate it myself.

I had similar wings to these at a restaurant in Santa Monica, called Belcampo Meat Co. It’s located behind an upscale butcher shop of the same name and also has an amazing bar. This is one of my absolute favorite chicken wings recipes – which is a pretty aggressive statement! But they are both sweet and spicy; with unique flavors and delicately crispy from a light breading. After several attempts I finally came up with wings like theirs. These wings are marinated in fish sauce then coated in a cornstarch and panko breading and fried until they’re crispy. Rather than using a Thai chili sauce I toss the wings in a sticky garlic and gochujang sauce.

Sweet Chili Wings

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Chicken wings – You can serve a lot of people cheaply with chicken wings. They are such an inexpensive cut of meat. While there isn’t much meat on chicken wings, the flavor of the skin more than makes up for the small amount of meat! I recommend planning about 4 wings per person as an appetizer.
  • Madras curry powder – This versatile earthy spice blend is made from coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cassia, peppercorns, curry leaves and turmeric. Not all curry powder is created the same since they often have regional variations.
  • Fish sauce – The funky, pungent flavor of fish sauce comes from a process of fermenting fish over a long period of time. Fish sauce can be found in the international section of most grocery stores or at an Asian market.
  • Panko – Rather than using Italian breadcrumbs I use panko, Japanese breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs make a great crust on fried foods and, because they are lighter, they absorb less oil than other breadcrumbs, keeping the wings crispier. For this recipe I like to grind them finer by pulsing a few times in a food processor.
  • Gochujang – Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste that adds some sweet and savory heat to any dish. It can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores these days. In this recipe it’s mixed with sautéed and garlic to create the flavorful sauce on these sweet chili wings.
tossing wings in gochujang chili sauce cooking

How to Make Sweet Chili Wings

For the wings:

  1. Toss the wings in seasoning. In a shallow baking dish, toss the chicken in the curry powder, one teaspoon kosher salt and garlic.
  2. Marinate the wings. Sprinkle the fish sauce and rice vinegar over the wings. Arrange the chicken in a single layer, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

To dredge and fry the wings:

  1. Prep the dredge. Mix the cornstarch and panko in a large shallow bowl and set aside. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. Dredge wings. Dredge the wings in the cornstarch and panko mixture and shake off the excess. Transfer the wings to the baking sheet.
  3. Fry wings. In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 350ºF. Working in batches, add a few of the wings to the oil, and fry over moderate heat, turning once, until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Drain on paper towels. Transfer the wings to paper towels to drain while frying the remaining wings.

For the sweet chili sauce:

  1. Sauté garlic. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter and then stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the garlic is lightly browned.
  2. Simmer the sauce. Add red pepper flakes, gochujang, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.

To serve:

  1. Toss the wings in sauce. Toss the crispy wings in the sauce so they are completely coated.
  2. Garnish and serve. Serve on a platter garnished with green onions, cilantro, jalapeños and radish.
sweet chili wings recipe garnished with scallions and sliced radish

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • If you buy the wings whole then split the wings at the joint into wingettes and drumsticks, discard the wing tips or use for stock.
  • I recommend letting the wings marinate overnight – this also cuts down on prep time when cooking.
How to Make These Wings in an Air Fryer

Toss the wings in the cornstarch breading as directed in the recipe. Working in batches, add a few of the wings to the basket of the air fryer. Set the airfryer temperature to 380ºF and cook the wings for 12 minutes. Flip the wings then increase the heat to 400ºF (200ºC) and cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. 

Sweet Chili Wings recipe from cooking with cocktail rings closeup

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy these sweet chili chicken wings, I recommend checking out some of these other recipes:

How to make Sweet Chili Wings

Sweet Chili Wings

Print Pin
Prep Time 12 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

To marinate the wings:

  • 2 pounds chicken wings, separated into flats and drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar

To dredge and fry the wings:

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup panko, (Japanese breadcrumbs) finely crushed
  • Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying

For the sweet chili sauce:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup Gochujang paste
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

For serving:

  • 1 jalapeño seeds removed and thinly sliced, for serving
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, for serving
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced, for serving

Instructions:

For the wings:

  • In a shallow baking dish, toss the chicken in the curry powder, one teaspoon kosher salt and garlic.
  • Sprinkle the fish sauce and rice vinegar over the wings. Arrange the chicken in a single layer, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

To dredge and fry the wings:

  • Mix the cornstarch and panko in a large shallow bowl and set aside. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  • Working in batches, dredge the wings in the cornstarch and panko mixture and shake off the excess. Transfer the wings to the baking sheet.
  • In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 350ºF (180ºC). Working in batches, add a few of the wings to the oil, and fry over moderate heat, turning once, until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the wings to paper towels to drain while frying the remaining wings.

For the sweet chili sauce:

  • Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter and then stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the garlic is lightly browned.
  • Add red pepper flakes, gochujang, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.

To serve:

  • Toss the wings in the sauce so they are completely coated. Serve on a platter garnished with green onions, cilantro, jalapeños and radish.

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