I’m not much of a chicken wing eater, but I do have my moments and usually that’s when Superbowl comes around. I’m not a football fan, but it does play at my house since my husband does like the sport (and reminds me quite regularly he use to play in high school). Superbowl to me means wings and the half-time show. My daughter is very sensitive to spice. Even mild wings and sometimes honey/garlic wings at traditional wing places are too spicy for her. I have found a wing recipe that she will eat and that’s lemongrass chicken wings. It’s Vietnamese influenced, not super saucy, and great grilled or baked in the oven.
Lemongrass is commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine. It’s a stalk herb and that has a lemony but earthy smell. Once only found at Asian grocery stores, I’m now finding it in common Toronto grocery stores in the fresh herbs section or even the Asian vegetables section. When I first bought lemongrass I was totally overwhelmed. It’s stalky, tough and I wasn’t sure what part I could use. To use, cut the top and bottom, peel the outer layer, pound it and finely chop it. Easy peasy. But if you happen to visit an Asian grocery store see if they have lemongrass frozen. It’s usually in jar already finely chopped and it’s cheaper than purchasing fresh (and not to mention easier to keep).
Now for the recipe. I took it from Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats
The marinate for these wings is a typical Vietnamese marinate and could be used for pork or beef (I’ve used flank steak cut into large pieces). The key is to marinade overnight, don’t rush the process! Also a note, what makes this Vietnamese is the fish sauce and lemongrass. There are no substitutes for this. But if you don’t have it, don’t worry! Add more lime juice and a birds eye chili and you have Thai-style wings!
- 2lb chicken wings cut into wingettes and drumettes
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- ¼ cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 stalks lemongrass (or about 3 tbsp lemongrass finely chopped)
- 1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
- Coriander leaves
- Bruise the lemongrass using the side of your knife (or a pestle). Slice the white part only into 0.5cm / 1/4" slices, thick enough to pick off later if any stick to the wings OR finely chop if you want to leave the lemongrass on the wings.
- Combine lemongrass with the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.
- Combine marinade with wings in a ziplock bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal. Massage marinade into the wings to evenly disperse.
- Marinate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
- When ready to cook, pour the wings and marinade into a large bowl.
To cook on grill
- Lightly oil the grill and preheat on medium low. The grill side cooks the wings more evenly than the hotplate side.
- Remove wings from marinade and grill until cooked through. Do not cook on a high heat otherwise the sugar will burn before the inside of the wings are cooked.
- Just before the wings are ready, remove the wings from the grill and put them back into the bowl and toss in the marinade, then put back on the BBQ and sear quickly on both sides.
To cook in oven
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F and put the rack in the top part of the oven.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and place a rack on it.
- Remove wings from the marinade and spread out over the rack.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top side is golden brown, then turn the wings and baste.
- Return to oven for another 10 to 15 minutes until the wings are a dark golden brown.
- Turn again, baste and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Garnish with coriander and sliced birds eye chili (optional).