Apr 19, 2022

Thai Chicken Wings

Prep Time: 12 hrs
Cook Time: 30 mins
These zesty wings are fried for a satisfying crunch with a balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty Thai flavors.

jump toRECIPE

There are many types and variations of Thai chicken wings recipes. While some Thai inspired wings are tossed in a sticky sweet sauce or soy sauce, these wings are inspired by the Isan region of Thailand in the Northeastern part of the country by the Laos and Cambodia border.

These Thai chicken wings are marinated in fish sauce overnight, then coated in cornstarch and deep fried until golden brown. The wings get a punch of flavor from a coating of ground dry-toasted rice powder, lemongrass, onion powder, Bird’s eye chilies and lime zest. They are inspired by the zapp (also called zab) wings from Fish Cheeks in New York. 

Thai Chicken Wings Recipe

Key Ingredients in This Recipe 

  • Chicken wings – If you buy whole wings, split them at the joint into wingettes and drumsticks. Discard the wing tips or use them for stock. I recommend planning 4 wing segments per person as an appetizer and doubling it as an entrée. 
  • Fish sauce – The wings are first marinated in fish sauce overnight which adds a salty, umami flavor. Fish sauce gets its funky flavor from fish like anchovies fermented over a long period of time. 
  • Cornstarch – The powder works to absorb any excess moisture and adds a light, crunchy exterior to the wings. 
  • Rice – Grains of raw rice are toasted and ground into a fine powder which adds a nutty flavor and satisfying texture to the outside of the wings. Toasted rice powder ( khao khua) is used frequently in Isan dishes like larb. While traditionally sticky rice is used, I opt for long grain rice instead based on accessibility. 
  • Lemongrass – The upper part of the lemongrass stalk is tough, so only the lower past is used in this recipe. It adds a bright, unique lemony flavor to the powder. 
  • Bird’s eye chili – Bird’s eye chili, also called Thai chili, adds an intense heat with fruity flavor. Since these chilies can sometimes be difficult to find, I will buy a large bag at my local Asian market and store them in a resealable bag in the freezer, taking them out as needed. 
  • Lime – Traditionally lime leaves are used in the powder though I choose to use lime zest as well as lime juice. The zest from the lime is mixed with the rice powder and other ingredients while the lime juice is squeezed over the fried wings to help the powder adhere to the crispy wings. 

How to Make Thai Chicken Wings

Step 1: Toast rice 

Add the rice, lemongrass and chili to a nonstick skillet and toast over medium-low heat, shaking the pan occasionally until the rice is toasted and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Step 2: Grind rice

Remove from heat and let cool completely. Then add the toasted rice mixture to the bowl of a food processor, spice grinder or mortar and pestle, with the lime zest, sugar, salt and garlic powder. Grind until the texture of sand. Strain out any large pieces of lemongrass. 

Remove to a bowl or container then cover and store until ready to use, for up to 1 week.

Step 3: Marinate wings 

Toss the wing in the fish sauce and rice vinegar, tossing to combine. Remove to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Step 4: Let dry the wings

When ready to cook the wings, let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, so that the wings cook evenly. Pat dry with paper towels.

Step 5: Heat oil 

Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot with enough oil to reach 2-inches up the side of the pot. Heat oil to 375°F (190ºC). Add the cornstarch to a shallow mixing bowl.

Step 6: Fry wings 

When the oil is hot, work in batches and dredge the wings in cornstarch shaking off the excess. Lower the wings into the oil and fry, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the outside is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Step 7: Drain wings. 

Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Place the rack in the oven to keep warm and repeat with the remaining wings.

Step 8: Toss in coating and serve. 

Once all wings have been fried add to a large bowl and squeeze the lime juice over the top followed by the rice blend. Toss to coat evenly. 

Spread on a platter and top with the green onion, cilantro and mint and serve.

Tips and Tricks for How to Make Thai Chicken Wings

How to Bake Chicken Wings 

Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Toss the wings in the cornstarch as directed then place a wire rack inside a baking sheet. Arrange the wings in an even single layer and bake until cooked through, about 40 minutes, rotating about half way through cooking. Heat the oven to broil high and broil until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes on each side.

How to Make These Wings in an Air Fryer 

Toss the wings in the cornstarch as directed below. Set the airfryer 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. 

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this chicken wing recipe, I recommend checking out these for your next game day or super bowl party:

Thai Chicken Wings

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

Ingredients:

For the coating:

  • 2 tablespoons uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, tender parts only, thinly sliced
  • 4 Thai bird’s eye chilies
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the wings:

  • 3 pounds chicken wings, drumettes and flats separated and wingtips discarded
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 green onions, thinly slices
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint

Instructions:

For the coating:

  • Add the rice, lemongrass and chili to a nonstick skillet and toast over medium-low heat, shaking the pan occasionally until the rice is toasted and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool completely. Then add the toasted rice mixture to the bowl of a food processor, spice grinder or mortar and pestle, with the lime zest, sugar, salt and garlic powder. Grind until the texture of sand. Strain out any large pieces of lemongrass.
  • Remove to a bowl or container then cover and store until ready to use, for up to 1 week.

For the wings:

  • Toss the wing in the fish sauce and rice vinegar, tossing to combine. Remove to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  • When ready to cook the wings, let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, so that the wings cook evenly. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot with enough oil to reach 2-inches up the side of the pot. Heat oil to 375°F (190ºC). Add the cornstarch to a shallow mixing bowl.
  • When the oil is hot, work in batches and dredge the wings in cornstarch shaking off the excess. Lower the wings into the oil and fry, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the outside is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Place the rack in the oven to keep warm and repeat with the remaining wings.
  • Once all wings have been fried add to a large bowl and squeeze the lime juice over the top followed by the rice blend. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Spread on a platter and top with the green onion, cilantro and mint and serve.

DID YOU MAKE THIS?

TAG ME ON INSTAGRAM TO BE FEATURED ON MY STORIES! @cookingwithcocktailrings

To print recipe use the button within the recipe card.

Rate + Review

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS RECIPE?

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating