You can’t go wrong with plain old grilled or baked wings (or deep-fried, if you don’t mind deep frying at your house). Wings are already mouthwatering with crispy skin, all golden and crunchy. Then suppose you add peanut butter, soy sauce and a squeeze of lime, and some coconut milk to thin it out. You’ll soon have a sauce to slather all over.
There you have it. A grand alternative to Buffalo wings.
Some of us gather, as many of you do, to watch the Super Bowl. Scrambling around to squeeze a civilized sit-down supper at half-time is a logistical challenge, and trying to eat fork food while perched on chairs or buried in a couch seems to lend itself to mishaps with food on upholstery, rugs or laps. Our Super Bowl party hosts decided to opt for a range of hearty appetizer-like food instead, and I offered to bring wings (of which we had plenty after butchering our flock of meat birds).
For years, I used one favorite wing recipe involving soy sauce and brown sugar with garlic powder in which I marinated the wings before baking, then brushed on the wings during baking to achieve a finely lacquered, delicious surface. I shared that recipe here some time ago, so I thought an alternative was in order.
Because I like satay chicken, that is, strips of breast meat strung on skewers, adorned with Thai-style peanut sauce then grilled or baked, I thought possibly I could adapt it to wings. It worked.
If you aren’t the sort of person who keeps coconut milk around, not to worry. Use half-and-half or evaporated milk — you just need some semi-sticky, milk-like product that thins out the peanut butter but keeps the sauce thick. Try to use the smooth kind of peanut butter made from only peanuts and salt — no sugar or other fats added.
These wings need two bakings. One to cook them, and one to bake on the peanut sauce. If you like heat, consider adding chipotle powder to the sauce. Alternatively, consider doubling the peanut sauce recipe that follows. Set aside half to bake the wings with, then add chipotle, chili powder,or hot Thai sauce to the other half to serve as hot dipping sauce. That way capsicum-cowards such as myself can enjoy the wings without any pain.
Satay-Style Chicken Wings
3-5 pounds of chicken wings
1/3 cup coconut milk or half-and-half
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce
Juice of half a lime
Chipotle powder, chili powder or red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1. Disjoint the chicken wings into three pieces and reserve the two larger parts. Save the tips to make stock if you wish.
2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the wing pieces on a rack in a roasting pan and bake for 15 minutes, turn them over and bake another fifteen minutes.
3. For the sauce, whisk together the milk, peanut butter, soy sauce and lime juice, plus optional spice powder.
4. Put the already baked wing pieces in a large bowl and pour the peanut sauce over them. Toss until the wings are well-coated.
5. Return to the oven and bake each side for an additional 15 minutes.
6. Reserve any leftover sauce for dipping. Serve warm or at room temperature.