The secret to making authentic Thai wings is the overnight galangal and chile marinade. Used in Thai cooking, galangal is similar to ginger, and the key spice in many Thai coconut milk-based soups. Here, galangal is combined with turmeric (another close cousin to ginger), coconut milk, garlic, and hot chiles to create wings that have that authentic, spicy Thai flavor. Cool them off with a classic Thai peanut dipping sauce. Galangal can be difficult to find, but don’t worry. Simply substitute 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger for the ground galangal, and your guests will never know.
For the Thai peanut sauce
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon peanut oil, plus more to taste
2 fresh Thai chiles or other small chiles
1 1/2-inch-thick slice fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt (add to taste, as fish sauce can be very salty)
1/2 cup finely minced cilantro leaves and stems
For the marinade
2 cups coconut milk
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground galangal (or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
20 chicken wings, jointed
Make the Thai peanut sauce
1. To make the peanut sauce, add the peanuts along with the peanut oil to a food processor. Blend, on high, until the peanuts form a rough paste. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the cilantro; blend until smooth. Stir in the cilantro and thin with peanut oil to taste.
Make the wings
1. To make the marinade, using a food processor, grind the ingredients into a paste the consistency of thin yogurt. Reserve a small amount for basting and transfer the remaining marinade to a glass bowl. Add the cleaned and trimmed chicken wings. Toss liberally, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
2. To grill the wings, shake off the excess marinade and grill the wings over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until crispy. Brush them frequently with the reserved marinade, and be careful not to burn the wing tips. The wings should have a crispy texture with a deep mahogany color when done. Serve with the Thai Peanut Sauce.
Recipe © 2004 Christopher B. O’Hara. All rights reserved.