19 December 2009

Tandoori chicken wings

We've been eating a lot of chicken wings lately. Until recently, I had never see them for sale in the markets or butcher shops here in Saint-Aignan. I figured you had to special-order them if you wanted just wings.

Over at the market in Noyers-sur-Cher one day, I noticed that the big poultry stand was selling chicken wings, but already cooked, to be eaten as finger food. I think they were labeled ailes de poulet à grignoter — chicken wings to snack on. I was tempted. Then a couple of days later, I noticed one-kilo packages of fresh, raw wings for sale at SuperU.

Tandoori-style chicken wings with Indian spices
are really good finger food.

First we made Buffalo-style wings, with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. The sauce for Buffalo wings is basically melted butter and Tabasco sauce. It's nothing very subtle or complex, that's for sure. But the ones we made were pretty good. Wings are always finger-food, as far as I'm concerned, and Buffalo-style wings are nice and messy to eat.

Tandoori wings turn golden brown
just like the Vietnamese-style wings.

A week or two later we made Vietnamese-style Golden Chicken Wings, using (and modifying) a recipe I got off the web. We prepared 12 to 16 wings (weighing 2 to 2½ lbs.), by cutting them apart at the joints. Use just the two meaty sections, and save the wing tips to make chicken stock. Marinate the meaty wing sections for a couple of hours or overnight in the refrigerator in a sauce made with:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Vietnamese (or Thai) fish sauce
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 gloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. sugar (or honey)
Heat the oven up to 400ºF/200ºC. Take the wings out of the marinade and arrange them on a wire rack in a baking pan so they aren't touching. Put them in the hot oven for 30 minutes and baste them a time or two with the reserved marinade while they are cooking. They will be tasty.

Arrange the wings on racks in baking pans.

I didn't take any pictures of the Vietnamese-style wings. The pictures in this post are of the latest batch of wings we made, Tandoori-style. I don't know if I've ever had wings cooked this way. They were, I thought, the best wings we've made so far.

The method is the same. Cut the wings apart at the joints and use the two meaty sections in the recipe. Freeze the wing tips to use later in making stock for soup or sauces. The wings we have been getting are in 2 to 2½ lb. packages, and that gives us 12 to 16 wings, or 24 to 32 pieces after they're cooked.

Sprinkle on paprika or Tandoori Massala spices before baking.

Marinate the wing sections for 8 to 12 hours in this sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (or vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp. ginger root, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
½ tsp. ground cardamom
½ tsp. ground cloves or allspice
½ tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
Vary the spices to your taste. You could also use a pre-mixed Tandoori Massala powder instead of the individual spices listed in the marinade recipe, or even a spicy-hot curry powder, to make the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and onion marinade.

Wings with curried green garden peas and rice

To cook, take the wing sections out of the marinade and let the excess yogurt drip off. Arrange the wings on a rack in a baking pan and cook them for 30 minutes in a 400ºF/200ºC oven. You can sprinkle them with some red Tandoori spices or paprika for color before baking them if you want. You don't need to baste these wings; just let them cook until they are golden brown.

Are you hungry yet? I am.

Let the wings cool slightly and eat them warm, with your fingers. I made curried green peas and rice to have with the ones we made for lunch the other day.

Want to know how best to eat chicken wings like these? Look at this short video.


  1. When I go through my daily reading list of blogs, I notice we all seem to have the same thing on our minds: food :))! But then, is there a nicer way to forget about the cold and the snow than by cooking and eating ???

  2. Hi Ken....they look like leg and thigh pieces...Chicken wings are very small with hardly any meat on them...!

  3. No nicer way to survive the winter than to eat well, that's what I say. Thanks for the Civet de Marcassin recipe, Martine.

  4. Anne, no, the wings are meaty and it's white meat. Maybe British chickens have stunted wings?!?

  5. Thank you for the recipes. The best thing to do when it is snowing and cold outside is to fire up the oven... You should apply for french citizenship; just the fact that you always mention french wine with your recipes or meals is qualifying you to get it right away (without paperwork). I am glad Tony S will experience with whole wheat dough for the pizza and I like the fact you are using other cheeses than mozzarella.
    Time to get ready for my walk. It is supposed to be in the 80's today. It was really warm yesterday.

  6. I love the new banner photo :)

    The wings look good!

  7. Hi Judy, it's snowing again. And it's supposed to snow tomorrow too. Then we are supposed to have a thaw by Tuesday.

    Nadège, don't get heat stroke!

  8. I love your house photo in the snow! I didn't know you could pull out bones from the wings. I'm going to try that tonight!
    Thanks for the video.

  9. these look delicious...perhaps next time try, korean style chicken wings!

  10. love the new banner too

    funny that the verification thingy is "exerso"....something i wont be doing too much of the next couple of days due to snow....i went out to feed the birds & sank up to my knees in places.....already have a foot & more coming today...at least power is holding

  11. Three great things in today's blog, Ken--the photo of your house, the recipe, and the link to the video. Thanks for all.

    Make that four great things--Nadege's comment was a hoot.

  12. That's a beautiful picture of your house. Very Christmassy, too.

    Thanks for the tutorial on eating wings. So simple to pull out the bones, but I'd never thought of it.

  13. I love the photo of your house Ken. Looks like a white Christmas for you all. What does Callie think of the snow?
    Hopefully it won't be too hot for Christmas here.
    The wings look great. Making me hungry!


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