Saltbox Seafood Joint Recipe: Shrimp Fat Chicken Wings with Spicy Caramel
Posted March 22, 2016
Updated March 24, 2016
Durham, N.C. — Shrimp Fat Chicken Wings with Spicy Caramel
- 1⁄2 cup fish sauce
- 1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1⁄4 cup shrimp paste
- About 10 cups peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1⁄2 cups cornstarch, divided
- 1⁄2 cup vodka
- 2 lbs. chicken wings, tips removed, flats and drumettes separated
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1⁄4 cup salted, roasted peanuts, chopped
- Fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
Bring fish sauce and crushed red pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan and cook until reduced almost by half (it will darken and become pungent), about 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, and fit saucepan with thermometer. Cook until thermometer registers 230 degrees (mixture will become thick and dark). Whisk in shrimp paste and 1 Tbsp. water until smooth.
Reduce heat to low, and keep warm until ready to dip wings. Fit a large pot with clean thermometer and pour in oil to measure 2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder and 1 cup cornstarch in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add vodka and 1 3⁄4 cups water, adding more water if batter is too thick (it should be slightly thinner than cream but thicker than milk).
Place remaining 1⁄2 cup cornstarch in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in cornstarch, shaking off excess.
Working in 3 batches and returning oil to 350 degrees between batches, coat chicken in batter, letting excess drip back into bowl, and fry until skin is golden and chicken is crisp and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet to drain. Using tongs, add hot wings to warm caramel, turn to coat and then transfer wings to a platter. Serve wings topped with peanuts and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.
Editor’s Note: From April 21-23, you can taste more delicious creations from chef Ricky Moore at TASTE 2016, presented by Johnson Lexus. The series includes the Grand TASTE Experience, All in the (Nana’s) Family and the Family Cookout at Maple View. Tickets are still available for the Maple View event, but they’re going fast! Learn more at tastetheevent.com.