I've said before that I can't get good Cantonese food in Geneva, so I've been making a lot of my own. Another thing I miss is the Cantonese/British takeaway food we get in the UK. It's Chinese food that has been adapted to British tastes, back when people weren't as adventurous as they are now. Lots of it has stuck though! While you won't see much sweet & sour chicken in Hong Kong, there's plenty in the Chinese restaurants and takeaways in the UK. And small confession here: I love this fusion food! Food has to adapt to the environment its in, and who it's cooked for. Conversely in Hong Kong, you'll see plenty of milky teas (made with evaporated milk), spam and even egg sandwiches! This is all down to the British influence on Cantonese food. Personally, I love spam on my noodles or rice, and nothing beats a ham and egg sandwich with ketchup from a Hong Kong cafe!
A few restaurants near me are doing takeaways, but we're trying to go out as little as possible, and the oriental restaurants tend to be more Thai/Vietnamese. So we decided to be very indulgent and have a large portion of salt & chilli chicken wings. I used an air fryer to cut down the fat because chicken wings really don't need help on the fat front, and the stir fry uses plenty of oil too.
Bicarbonate of soda is a weird addition but it helps make the skin really crispy. You can't taste it in the finished dish and really makes a difference. I added it to the flour coating the wings. I've read lots of other recipes that have this so finally gave it a go. It works! You'll just need to trust me on this one.
- chicken wings, quantity dependent on how many people you're feeding. I made 20
- rice flour or corn flour
- chilli powder
- bicarbonate of soda (for 20 wings, I used around 1.5tbsp)
- 5 gloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- fresh or dried chillies to taste, roughly chopped
- lots of salt
- white pepper (I used freshly ground black pepper because that's all I have!)
- vegetable oil
1. First up, coat your chicken wings in flour, salt, pepper, chilli powder and bicarb. The amount of flour you'll need depends on how many wings you have. They just need a light coating. As for the chilli powder, that's down to personal taste. I don't like food that's too spicy but my boyfriend loves it.
2. Lay your wings in the air fryer basket and cook them in batches to let them crisp properly. Spray them with oil before cooking. If you don't have an air fryer, a hot oven will work as well. Just check if they need turning during cooking. Set the wings aside once they're cooked through and crispy on the outside.
3. The final stage is the stir frying! This is where you get all the lovely onion, garlic, salt and chilli flavour into the wings. Start off with a good amount of oil in a cold wok, and add your garlic, chilli, salt and spring onions. Gently warm the oil and cook on a low heat to let the flavours infuse. You don't want to cook the garlic too much at this stage. Burnt garlic goes bitter and you really don't want that!
4. After 4-5 minutes, when the garlic is starting to brown, turn the heat up to full, then add your cooked chicken wings. Toss them for a minute or two to coat them in the lovely flavoured oil. Add your pepper, and some more salt if it needs it. Give it one final toss, then serve! We had these wings on their own with a cold glass of chablis but they could be part of a bigger fakeaway meal. Perhaps with my store cupboard black bean tofu vermicelli? It's not pretty, but it's tasty and comforting. Just keep plenty of kitchen roll to hand!