This sweet-sour lemongrass tamarind chicken wings is a personal lesson on why one should never rest on one’s laurels. I’ve been cooking sweet and sour dishes for decades but not with sauce this good.
See, no sweet-sour sauce is ever the same, and not just because of the varying balance between sweet and sour. The flavor will also change depending on the ingredients used. Sweet-sour sauce made with sugar will taste different from one made with honey. But it is really the sour component that defines both the flavor and aroma of sweet-sour sauce. Vinegar, while easily the most convenient, yields a sauce with a not so pleasant aroma. Lemon or lime juice is my preference but the squeezing out the juice adds a lot of work.
Then, I discovered that sweet-sour sauce made with tamarind paste is fantastic. The flavor is deeper and the fruitiness adds a beautiful dimension. The lemongrass adds a citrusy note that makes the sauce smell so good.
Sweet-sour Lemongrass Tamarind Chicken Wings
- 9 to 12 chicken wings
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- cooking oil for deep frying
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca or corn starch
- 4 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass finely minced
- 1 tablespoon sliced scallions
- toasted sesame seeds to garnish
- Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels. Divide each wing into wingtip, wingette and drumette. Set the wingtips aside for another use (like making broth).
- Place the wingettes and drumettes in a bowl. Add the salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
- In a wok or frying pan, start heating enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Stir together the flour and starch. Add to the chicken and toss thoroughly to coat each piece.
- Fry the chicken, in batches if your pan is on the small side, until crisp and golden.
- As the last batch of chicken cooks, make the sauce by stirring together the tamarind paste, honey, minced lemongrass and scallions.
- Add the fried chicken to the sauce and toss to coat every piece.
- Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle the chicken with toasted sesame seeds.
- Serve the sweet-sour lemongrass tamarind chicken at once.