Chongqing Chicken Wings

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Ingredients

for the chongqing wing spice mix
  • One 1-inch square of dashi kombu
  • 1/2 ounce stemmed, dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons whole Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper 
for the wings
  • 3 pounds chicken wings (mid-joints or whole wings)
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 10 1/2 cups vegetable or peanut oil, divided 
  • 8 oz honeycomb tripe
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups dried Tianjin chiles or other medium-hot red chiles
  • 3/4 cup Chongqing Wing Spice Mix

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the spice mix

    Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the kombu into 4 or 5 smaller pieces. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Set aside kombu powder in a bowl.

  2. Grind the mushrooms in the spice grinder and combine with kombu. Set aside 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons and store the rest in an airtight container at room temperature. Remaining mushroom powder can be used in other recipes including Kung Pao Pastrami and Thrice-Cooked Bacon.

  3. Toast the Sichuan peppercorns, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cardamom and cloves in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously until fragrant. In a small bowl, combine the toasted spices with the sugar, salt, reserved mushroom powder and cayenne.

  4. In a spice or coffee grinder, grind the spice mix to a powder. Note: The spice mix will keep in an airtight container for about a week.

  5. Make the wings

    Preheat oven to 350º. In a large bowl, toss the wings with 1/4 cup salt and 1/2 cup oil. Spread the wings out on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Bake until the skin just appears cooked but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let the par-baked wings cool to room temperature, then lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, overnight.

  6. The next day, clean the tripe thoroughly under cold running water, scrubbing to remove any grit. Place in a pot, cover with cold salted water by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, partially covered. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until very tender, about 2 to 3 hours. Drain, rinse under cold water and cool completely.

  7. Meanwhile, retrieve the wings from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Slice the cooked tripe into1/2-inch by 2-inch strips. Set aside.

  8. Fill a deep pot or wok with about 4 inches of the remaining oil, insert a deep fry thermometer and heat to 350º. Meanwhile, pat the tripe strips dry and place cornstarch in a wide shallow bowl. Dredge tripe in cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Work in batches, fry the wings and tripe until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes for both. Meanwhile, in a hot dry wok or skillet over high heat, toast the Tianjin chiles for about a minute, stirring continuously so the chiles cook evenly. Transfer to a plate.

  9. Drain the fried wings and tripe, shaking off as much oil as possible, then transfer to a large bowl and dust them generously with the spice mix, tossing to coat. Add the toasted chiles and toss well. Note: The chiles will perfume the dish but are not meant to be eaten. Transfer everything, including the chiles, to a platter and serve immediately.


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