Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tamarind Chicken Wings

Tamarind is the fruit contained in the hanging pods of the tamarind tree, Tamarindus indica. The pods themselves are between 10-15cm (4-6 inches) long and cinnamon-brown coloured with a fuzzy coating. The pulp from inside the pods has a sour yet sweet flavour, kinda like a cross between a date and an apricot.


You can eat Tamarind on its own or you can use the pulp to make sauces and chutneys. I particularly enjoy eating a Vietnamese dish called tamarind sauce with mud crab (cua rang me). Wanting to replicate the tamarind sauce from this dish in my own home, I've experimented with a few different recipes and have come up with my own recipe below...



1 kg chicken mid wings
Approx 6 tbsp tapioca starch (substitute with rice flour, if unavailable)

Marinade

1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp tamarind puree

Sauce

2 tbsp tamarind puree
2 tbsp oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp annatto seed (optional)
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 tsp tapioca starch dissolved in 2 tbsp water

1 fresh chilli, sliced
chopped fresh coriander to garnish

Method

Wash the chicken wings and dry with paper towel. Prick them with a fork to allow marinade to penetrate. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and pour over. Mix well and leave for one hour or overnight for a better result.

Heat some cooking oil over medium high heat. Dredge the marinated chicken wings with tapioca flour. Fry the wings until they become golden. Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Combine the tamarind puree, sugar, chicken stock, salt and pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce and tapioca flour mix into a mixing bowl and set aside. Put 2 tsp oil into another pan. Add the annatto seed and garlic and fry until the garlic is golden. Pour tamarind mixture into pan, mix well and adjust seasoning to suit.

Pour sauce over the chicken. Serve and garnish with coriander and chilli if desired. Eat while it is still hot.

Notes & Tips

You can substitute the chicken wings for prawns (approx. 12 pcs)

Annatto (achiote) is a red seed with a mild earthy flavour. It is used in cooking for both colour and flavour. They are available for purchase in Filipino or Latin American grocery stores.










For a low fat version of this recipe you can bake the chicken wings and still achieve a nice crispy texture. The secret is actually in the flour! I find that using tapioca flour to coat the chicken instead of plain flour or corn flour makes it really crispy and crunchy. You'll also need a really hot oven to ensure the skin will be nice and golden.

Method for baking:

Preheat oven to 220°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and lightly spray with oil. Dredge the marinated chicken wings with tapioca flour. Place onto prepared baking trays in a single layer with a little space between the wings. Spray chicken with oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and cooked through. Turn chicken once in the oven half way through cooking.

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