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.
- 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.