Spicy Kung Pao Chicken Wings Recipe From 'Woks of Life'

Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Below, Bill Leung of The Woks of Life lets us in on his secret to perfect “fried” chicken wings: baking them in the oven.

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Photo courtesy of Woks of Life

Kung pao chicken wings are an awesome, delicious alternative to the traditional hot wings or honey barbecue wings that you see all over the place. The spicy, tangy sauce and oven-“fried” preparation make them the ultimate fusion food. 

After the sauce, the next best part about this recipe is the oven-fry method used to crisp up the wings. Every time I use this method, I’m convinced that it’s the only way wings should be made.

On with the recipe! The ingredient list is a bit long, but I promise everything has a purpose and adds to the flavor of the dish! Can you tell I’m excited about this one? Go for it!

Kung Pao Chicken Wings
Makes 1 dozen wings

For the marinade:
12 chicken wingettes and drumettes, rinsed and pat dry
¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour

For the kung pao sauce:
1 teaspoon peanut oil (can substitute vegetable or canola oil)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 dried whole red chili peppers
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon spicy bean sauce/paste
1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water, mixed into a slurry
1 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Toss the chicken wings in a large mixing bowl along with all the marinade ingredients, ensuring the wings are well coated. Set aside for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a sheet pan with heavy-duty foil for easy clean-up and add a layer of non-stick foil or parchment paper so the wings don’t stick. Lay the wings on the sheet pan spaced 2 inches apart, ensuring that as much of the marinade coating is on the wings as possible. Bake in the oven for 16 minutes, flipping them halfway through roasting. Both sides of the wings should be crispy. Halfway through this process (i.e. after you’ve flipped the wings), make the sauce.

To make the sauce, place the oil and ginger in a wok or saucepan set over low heat. After 15 seconds, add the garlic, whole dried chilies, and crushed red pepper flakes. Toast another 10 seconds and stir in the Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, chicken stock, sugar, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and spicy bean paste. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Stir in cornstarch slurry until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add the scallions. By now, the wings should be done cooking. Toss them with the sauce and serve, garnished with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve!

More ways to love wings:

Lemongrass Chicken Wings Recipe from ‘Good Food, Good Life’

Chinese Lollipop Wings

Korean Fried Chicken from 'Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking’

What’s your tried-and-true wing recipe? Tell us below!