My (Hainanese) paternal grandfather used to run a mixed rice stall and this was one of his signature dishes. The key to this is the use of old-school cream crackers in the chicken coating, something the Hainanese cooks used a lot of back then. The crackers will add an additional layer of flavour and flakey texture to your coating! When deep fried, they emerge from the wok like trophies - all bronzed, glistening and promising.
When I was finishing up the last leg of my book, Grandpa Zhang had a stroke and we decided to add in his special recipe to honour the talented cook he was. My grandpa's memory has failed him, so this dish was taught to me by my dad, who based it on his memory of watching his father cook it as a boy. And there you have it! I'm glad to be able to share a part of my family's history with you guys and may these fried chicken wings bring a smile to the faces of your family members...
For the marinade:
10 whole chicken wings (or substitute with mid-wings)
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 shallots, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon light soy
1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
ground white pepper, generous dash, to taste
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1. Start by marinating the chicken wings. Mix everything together and leave it to flavour and penetrate the chicken, a couple hours or overnight. Set aside and prepare the ingredients for the crumb mixture.
For the crumb mixture:
2 eggs, beaten
150g plain flour
15 Jacobs' cream crackers, finely crushed (in a food processor or by hand)
1. For this, set up your station with 4 plates/bowls. In one, place the flour. In a second, the beaten eggs. The third, the finely crushed cream crackers.
2. First, dip the chicken into the egg mixture, followed by the crackers. Finally, coat them with the plain flour. That's what you need the fourth plate for - to place the coated chicken wings on them.
3. Repeat the entire process until all your chicken is coated.
1. Heat up a wok with sufficient oil to submerge the chicken. When the oil is hot, cook your add in your chicken wings, cooking them in batches to avoid overcrowding the wok. You'll know when they're done when their coating looks an appealing golden brown.
2. Drain them well and place them on some paper towels as you finish frying the rest of the wings.
3. Consume piping hot with your fingers!
For more family heirloom recipes, cooking tips, ideas and more... my book can be found here or in all major bookstores. If you're overseas, book depository will ship worldwide.