There used to be an Asian supermarket in Providence called Persimmon’s that had a great take-out counter. Among the selections were these phenomenal wings that were like eating candy – coated with a sweet, salty, garlicky soy-based glaze that made you want to lick the take-out container, they were some of the best Asian-style wings I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, they closed a few years ago and they were gone forever.
Until a few years ago, when I discovered a recipe cut out from the newspaper that my mom had saved. They were just for a "Chinese Chicken Wings" but the recipe looked so perfectly simple that I figured it was worth trying. To my pleasant surprise, it was almost an exact replica of the Persimmon wings. Here’s the recipe:
PERSIMMON CHICKEN WING SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons good quality dark soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. While that is heating, measure out the sugar and soy sauce into a bowl and add enough water to dissolve the sugar.
Once the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic (I often used the pre-chopped stuff that comes in jars, especially if I’m doing a large batch of this). CAREFULLY cook this until the garlic turns a dark brown. YOU MUST WATCH THIS CAREFULLY. Not only does the garlic start popping and splattering all over the place, but the garlic can quickly go from brown to BURNT in a matter of seconds.
Once the garlic has turned a nice golden to dark brown (you get a good feel for this after a few tries – the more you can roast the garlic, the better!), quickly add the soy sauce/sugar/water mixture and whisk together. Add the Chinese five spice (adjust to your liking), then let the combination come to boil and boil for about 5 minutes. It should begin to thicken.
If you are making the sauce ahead of time, you can let it cool at this point, and then reheat when you fry the wings. If you are using right away, let it simmer or boil while you cook the wings.
I use a turkey fryer for doing large quantities of wings. You can do about 2 lbs of wings at a time. Most recently, I used peanut oil for frying, and it made for very crispy and flavorful wings. Regardless of what you’re using, heat the oil to 400 degrees, and cook the wings for about 10-12 minutes, until they are cooked through, golden brown and crispy. This is important – though it is possible, it is tough to over cook the wings.
Remove the wings and drain well. Make sure the soy glaze sauce is at a rapid boil (this is IMPORTANT!) then toss the wings into the pan with the sauce and toss to coat. The sauce should start to thicken and caramelize, making a nice glaze.
If you let the wings sit in the sauce for a while (in a chafing dish perhaps), they will lose their crispiness, but the sauce will penetrate the meat more. As long as you have thoroughly cooked the wings, they will not get too soggy and fatty. In fact, I might like the wings better after they have soaked in some of this sauce, since they turn into little chicken and soy lollipops so that you can basically just suck the sauce and meat right off the bone. YUM!!
NOTE: If you don’t want to fry the wings, this recipe works very well with baked wings. Again, just make sure you bake the wings thoroughly – perhaps put a little salt and pepper or other general seasoning on them – and then toss in the sauce. If you do it this way, it may be best to let them sit in the sauce longer, since the wings won’t be that crispy to begin with.