I first tried Vietnamese fish sauce wings in a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Peckham, London, after going to a Vintage Kilo clothing sale (at that time, I was selling vintage on Etsy). The vintage fair was a bit of a dud but the wings made the trek over worth it. The Vietnamese fish sauce chicken wings were so tangy, sticky and simply mouthwatering, I wanted to make my own, but instead of frying, I decided to make baked fish sauce wings instead because every time I deep fry something, it puts me off fried foods when I see how much oil is absorbed into the food! (Sadly I have selective memory loss, so I forget all about it when the food is not personally fried by me!) Moreover, I know most people find frying a real hassle. Baked wings obviously don’t taste the same as fried wings, but these wings, adapted from a Serious Eats recipe, are still very, very good!
1. Choice of Acid
I prefer the subtle flavour of lime juice but have been known to use lemon juice or even rice vinegar in these baked fish sauce wings when out!
2. Heat factor
Sambal isn’t the most common chilli condiment so if you don’t have any in your fridge, feel free to sub with chilli padi. Not having any sriracha on hand, I’ve never tried it in this recipe but my gut says it would also do very well here. (Try and let me know?!)
The most authentic and flavourful choice would be palm sugar but it’s not as widely available as white, or even brown, sugar. Not to mention that grating the palm sugar is a real palaver (they come in small cylindrical blocks). So, depending on how much you want to impress the people you are cooking for and your budget, use either palm sugar, light brown sugar or white sugar. (Sugars stated from most expensive, most troublesome and most delicious to least expensive, least delicious but still very yummy- i’ve tried all 3 options.)
tangy fingerlicking vietnamese fish sauce chicken wings
- baking tray
- 1.5-2 kg chicken wings
- For the marinade
- 1/2 Cup fish sauce
- 1/2 Cup light soya sauce
- 1/2 Cup Sugar ideally palm sugar, if not white or light brown works too
- 2 thumbs ginger peeled and minced
- 7 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 citrus fruits, juice and zest preferably lime or, if not, lemon
- 1 tablespoon sambal chilli if out, use sriracha or chilli padi, deseeded and finely sliced- quantity depends on your heat tolerance- i used 6!
- coriander or spring onions to garnish
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the chicken. If you're organised enough to marinade beforehand, place chicken and marinade in a ziplock bag (and refrigerate!) as it makes it easier for the sauce to coat the chicken evenly (as compared to using a bowl or container). Marinating in advance always helps the flavour to permeate the meat better, but the sauce is boldly flavoured enough that mixing everything just before baking works too, in a pinch.Note: don't marinade for more than 5 hours or the chicken will be salty!
- 15 minutes before baking, take the chicken wings out of the fridge, give them a toss and place them on a baking tray left on the counter as you wait for your oven to preheat (bringing the meat to room temperature helps the meat cook more evenly) Make sure the chicken wings aren't too close together.
- Once the oven reaches temperature, pop the tray in. I bake my wings at 400F/ 200C for 30 minutes. To check if the wings are done, the juices should run clear and the cooked chicken wing should be at a temperature of 165F/ 74C at the thickest part.Hard working folks can use the marinate to baste the wings a few times while baking. (Basting helps build up the flavour as well as prevents the wings from drying out.) In my kitchen, I think of baking as a hands off process (ie time for me to netflix and chill :P) so I prefer to boil the marinade down to a sticky glaze which I brush over the chicken wings when they come out of the oven. (Remember that the raw chicken has been sitting in the marinade so the marinade needs to be properly cooked to kill all that bacteria!)
- Garnish with fresh herbs: ideally, coriander; if not spring onions)
If you try these baked fish sauce wings, please do let me know what you think in the comments or post a photo on instagram, tagging @greedygirlgourmet 🙂