created at: 2013-09-18
Luckily for my would-be competitors, I’ve never participated in a chicken wings eating contest. But I know it’s just a matter of time before I decide the glory of winning will be greater than the number of calories I consume, so I train as much as possible by eating as many wings as I can get my sauce-covered hands on. And like most New Englanders, my opportunity to “train” increases considerably with the kickoff to the football seasons—that is, the NFL and the women’s flag football league I’ve played in for the past two seasons. So not only do I get to dive in to the trays of chicken wings that our sponsor—a local bar—provides for us after our Sunday games, but I also get to continue the wing-eating when I get home, where my Patriots-crazed roommates often have a heaping plate of them prepared.

The beauty of chicken wings is that their juicy, crispy base is a blank canvas. The variety of sauces you can cover it with prevents you (or me, at least!) from ever tiring of them. There are the Coal-Black Wings at Myers & Chang, Jamaican Jerk Wings at Wings Over Brookline, and a boatload of wings-by-the-cent places where it doesn’t matter what they’re slathered in because you can eat until you’re full for less than $10.

But you don’t have to go out for good wings. This recipe is one of my favorites. It uses a spoonful of red curry paste for a salty and spicy sauce that gets spiked by some aromatic spices and grassy cilantro. It makes for some messy, fragrant, spicy wings that are great whether or not you’ve got a football game to watch (or play in).

Red Curry Chicken Wings

Red curry paste and five-spice powder are available at every supermarket. Red curry paste can be found in the international aisle, while five-spice powder should be located with the spices and seasonings.

Serves 5

2 pounds chicken wings
1 teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon soy sauce
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon Sriracha (or any other hot sauce)
⅛ teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon minced cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 450. Using tip of paring knife, poke four holes in each side of each chicken wing (to give fat an opening to escape from as the wings bake).

2. In large bowl, toss wings with salt and pepper. Transfer to rack fit inside baking sheet, and bake until wings are no longer pink inside and starting to brown, about 40 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine melted butter, honey, cayenne, Sriracha, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and lime juice. Whisk to combine.

4. When wings are cooked through, remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer to large bowl, pour butter and spice mixture over wings, and toss until each wing is well-coated. Add cilantro to bowl and toss to distribute. Garnish with extra cilantro, if desired, and serve immediately.