I don’t know how many of you have tried Korean spicy chicken wings prior to having to eat gluten free, I only did once. And they were delicious, sticky, spicy and oh-so-good! My husband often picks up a pack when we are at the Korean grocer for munching. I don’t make them at home – usually – because not only are they tossed in seasoned flour (not GF, but easily converted) but they are deep-fried.
Now that is a mess I don’t like. I like fried food as much as the next person but man, I hate that mess if prepared at home.
The other thing I don’t think I’ve ever gotten 100% right was the seasoning. That sticky red-spicy and sweet sauce that coats the wings seems to also differ rather significantly depending on who is making it. Since his favorite Korean chicken place closed a long while back (16 months +?), I know he’s been craving these wings. And quite honestly, I wanted some sticky goodness too.
This time around, I rinsed the pack of wings, patted them dry, seasoned them (salt, pepper & granulated garlic) and put them in the oven at a very high heat (450F+). I flipped them a bit more than half way through cooking (25 minutes?) and broiled them for another 8-10 minutes until they were crispy brown. Frying averted.
The only thing that remained was making the spicy-sweet sauce to coat them in. (I made it while they baked.) Most of the recipes given to me over time contain “mulyeot” which is a malted corn syrup. Since it is traditionally made with barley but now seems that most are making it with corn, I avoid it. I don’t know enough about the processing, preparation, etc and the words “barley” and “malt” are all I need to know sometimes. I substituted corn syrup (in the recipe below) but next time will also add some brown sugar to caramelize this even more.
If you are looking for a sweet & spicy wing recipe, this might be for you too!
Korean-inspired Spicy & Sweet Wing Sauce
Makes enough for 12-15 full chicken wings (4 pounds+?)
2 Tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1 Tablespoon corn syrup (or honey)
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons mirin or other rice wine
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoons Korean red chili powder (less/more to taste)
2 teaspoons minced jalapeño (seeded! Or not – if you want it to be HOT HOT HOT!)
3 Tablespoons water (or 1 1/2 Tablespoons ginger juice* + 1 1/2 Tablespoons water)
- Mix together GF soy sauce, corn syrup (or honey), sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, chili powder and 3 Tablespoons water. (Reserve jalapeños – if you want to keep their color bright. If it doesn’t matter to you, toss them in now.)
- Taste! (no kidding! Dip your finger in and taste this mix. Is it sweet enough? It will get a bit spicier as you let it blend together, but if it is not spicy enough or you doubt that it will be, add some more jalapeño or chili powder.)
- Bring it to a boil then lower the heat. Allow mixture to simmer – stirring frequently – until it has reduced by almost half. It will thickly coat the back of a metal spoon when dipped and removed from the mixture. (If time is running out – or you don’t think it is as thick as you’d like, you can speed up the thickening (but diminish the flavor intensity a bit) by mixing together 1 teaspoon cornstarch (not flour) and 2 teaspoons of water. Add this to the simmering sauce at the end and stir constantly. The sauce will thicken over heat with this mixture, so watch that you don’t over thicken it as well.)
- Pour the sauce into a large bowl when done. Add a few wings at a time and stir to coat the wings well. Remove and place on a serving dish. Continue until all wings are coated. (Sometimes we even save some of the sauce before dipping the wings in for dipping while eating – just an option.)
Happy GF Eating!