I am definitely a big fan of the chicken wing. It is such a versatile section of the chicken. You can go western, Asian, hot and spicy, sweet and sticky – there is almost no flavour a chicken wing cannot handle. The other thing I am a big fan of is the air fryer. I only discovered it a couple of years ago and very quickly decided that I cannot live without one. It is convenient, and it is genius in that you can create the fried effect without the requirement of all that fat. I mean, who doesn’t love fried food? 

Here’s one of my go-to air-fried chicken wing recipes that involves the ‘wonder-powder’ you may know as Chinese Five Spice. This chicken wing is super fragrant with the bright flavours of szechuan peppercorn and star anise in the background, coupled with a kick of heat from the piri-piri. We have this at least fortnightly, and I usually have to make kilos to go around. For those who aren’t fans of the chicken wing quite yet, give this a shot and hopefully you will have a change of heart! 

Ingredients 

  • 500g chicken wings (around 6 medium pieces)
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice 
  • ½ teaspoon ground piri-piri (omit if you prefer no heat)
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced garlic 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon chicken spice mix (I use the brand Margão) 

Instructions 

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and marinade chicken wings for an hour or two. You can even marinade the chicken overnight in the fridge if you have the time to spare. I sometimes marinade an extra portion which I deep freeze for lazy days. 

Place in a single layer in your air fryer. Do not overcrowd, ensuring space between each piece. 

Fry for 30 minutes at 200ºC. To achieve an even crispy skinned texture, half way through, flip the wings around. In true Asian fashion, I love to serve my wings on a bed of steamed jasmine rice. 

If you do not have an air fryer, you can also bake your chicken wings at 220ºC for 15 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 15-20 minutes on the other side. 

Chinese Five Spice

Chinese Five spice is a staple in my pantry and is commonly used in Asian stir-fries, stews and soups. It also makes an incredible, flavoursome, dry-rub for meat or vegetables. If you cannot find Chinese Five Spice, here’s how to make your own. Stored in an air-tight jar, it will keep for up to six months in your pantry. 

Mix together these ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon ground star anise
  • 1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorn powder 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Top tip

If you don’t fancy the chicken wing tips, you can always snip them off and cook just the drumettes and flats. Wingtips are fabulous for when you need to make a good stock, sauce or broth. 

Joy Entry is a Malaysian home cook based in Lagos who is obsessed with the provocative, unapologetic flavours of South-East Asian cuisine 

Instagram: @thatasianhomecook 

 joyentry@gmail.com