Spicy Chinese Mustard Chicken Wings
In Chinese-American restaurants, spicy yellow mustard often appears on the table as a dipping sauce — but you rarely taste it anywhere else in the meal. Jonathan Wu, the chef at the innovative Chinese-influenced restaurant Fung Tu in New York, decided to take that flavor and run with it. The two kinds of mustard (along with cayenne) makes these almost as spicy as Buffalo wings, but the heat is balanced by sweetness. To make a prettier plate, sprinkle with whole cilantro leaves and minced scallions.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4pounds wings, separated into wingettes and drumettes (see note)
- ¼cup kosher salt
- 2tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced but not peeled
- 4scallions, white and light green parts
- 2cloves garlic
- Potato starch or all-purpose flour, for frying
- Peanut, canola or another neutral oil, for frying
- 2tablespoons canola oil
- 1tablespoon minced ginger
- 1garlic clove, minced
- 1tablespoon minced scallions
- 1cup yellow Dijon mustard (not whole grain)
- ½cup lager beer
- ½cup brown sugar, more to taste
- ⅓cup ketchup
- ¼cup sherry vinegar
- 1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1teaspoon dry mustard, more to taste
- 1teaspoon cayenne, more to taste
- 2teaspoons black pepper
Step 1Up to 1 day before cooking, bring about 1 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a saucepan. Add salt, sugar, ginger, scallions and garlic. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar and set aside to cool to room temperature. Place wings in a container or a thick, sealable plastic bag. Add brine, seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24.
Step 2Make the sauce: In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. When it ripples, add ginger, garlic and scallions and cook until soft but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 3Add remaining sauce ingredients and simmer about 30 minutes, until thick but still a bit runny. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more mustard powder, brown sugar and cayenne. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Step 4Pour off brine, rinse chicken in cold water and drain well on paper towels. Spread a cup or so of starch in a shallow bowl. Heat the oven to 250 degrees and place a sheet pan inside.
Step 5In a heavy, deep pot or wok, heat 3 to 4 inches oil to 350 degrees. Warm the sauce and transfer half to a large metal bowl.
Step 6Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, dredge wings in starch and shake off any excess. Gently drop into hot oil and fry until golden, crispy and floating in the oil, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. The skin will blister and crisp but will not get very brown.
Step 7When done, lift out wings with a slotted spoon, shaking to remove excess oil, and drop into sauce. Toss and shake until wings are well coated. Lift out and transfer to sheet pan in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining wings and sauce, adding more starch to the bowl as needed. Serve immediately.