Well, we’ve been waiting for this all summer, the beginning of Football season and the Redskins are playing their first pre-season game tonight. Goodbye to bad summer television programs and hello to cheering and crying for my favorite team. So I wanted to make some good ole fashion chicken wings to commemorate the first game. But not buffalo style wings, instead, I wanted to try making the Vietnamese chicken wings from Pok Pok again, the famous restaurant in Portland, OR. I’ve tried this recipe before and it didn’t come out quite the way I had anticipated, so here is my attempt at tweaking the recipe a little.
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup superfine sugar
8 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 pounds chicken wings, cut into wings and drumettes
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
In a large bowl, strain the minced garlic through a cheese cloth and reserve the garlic pieces. Add to the bowl the fish sauce and sugar and whisk to combine until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the wings and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet. Add the reserved garlic; cook over medium heat until golden, 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
In a large pot or deep fryer, heat 3 inches of oil to 350°. Pat the wings dry on paper towels; reserve the marinade. Put the rice flour in a shallow bowl, add the wings and turn to coat. Fry the wings in batches until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a large bowl.
In a small saucepan, simmer the reserved marinade over moderately high heat until thick and syrupy, 5 minutes. Pour over the wings and toss. Top with the cilantro and fried garlic and serve immediately.
I think what’s different about this batch is the finishing sauce overtop. The rice flour gives the chicken a very light and super flaky coating. Once the sauce is poured over top, it just gets absorbed into the chicken. The balance of salty and sweet is perfect. I think I might add a little bit of chili sauce into the marinade next time for a little heat. But overall, I’m more impressed with this result than with my previous attempt!