Chicken Wings with Explosive Chile2013-06-03
- About 2 quarts canola oil
- 3 pounds chicken wings, separated into drumettes and midsections (or flats), wing tips discarded
- Kosher salt
- 1 star anise pod
- 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 cup dried red chiles
- 1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, very thinly sliced, then thinly sliced into matchsticks
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- Pour 2 inches of the oil into a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 300°F on a deep-frying/candy thermometer.
- Working in batches of 6 to 7 pieces, fry the chicken wings in the oil, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a temperature of 300°F, until the skin is opaque but not browned, about 3 to 5 minutes (the wings will not be cooked through). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the wings to a large bowl and toss with a generous amount of salt. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- When all the wings are fried, let them cool completely. Cover the baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight. Set the oil aside for use later.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place the star anise, red pepper flakes, cumin, and peppercorns in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool completely. Using a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder, grind into a fine powder; set aside.
- Place the chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast until slightly darkened and fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes; set aside to cool.
- When ready to serve, set the reserved frying oil over medium-high heat and bring to 350°F on a deep-frying/candy thermometer. Working in batches of 6 to 7 frozen wing pieces, fry, turning the wings occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a temperature of 350°F, until the wings are cooked through, golden brown, and crispy, about 6 minutes.
- Immediately transfer each batch to a large bowl, season with salt and 1 teaspoon of the spice blend, and toss to coat. Place on a serving dish and repeat with the remaining wings.
- When all the wings are cooked, place the reserved chiles, ginger, 1 teaspoon of the spice blend, and 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil in the large bowl and toss to combine. Scatter the mixture over the chicken wings and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately.