One of several favourite starters in my local Thai restaurant is melt-in-the-mouth glazed chicken wings: smothered in a sticky and dark spicy soy sauce glaze, it ticks every box for me. Made in under 30 minutes, my version of this great dish is so easy to make, whether or not you have a pressure cooker.
The recipe below is my ultimate take on sticky glazed wings, using ingredients I usually have in the kitchen such as soy sauce, Thai fish sauce and the like. Granted, I often have to hunt down fresh Thai basil, but dried works well, as does the Thai basil that comes in a jar.
Video version of my recipe
My YouTube video of me making this dish can be found here.
A highly adaptable dish
You can use whatever you have lying around, or use convenient shortcuts: ready-puréed lemongrass; garlic in a jar…..A good soy sauce is essential: some of the cheaper varieties contain a lot of extras in there that you don’t really want. I tend to use Kikkoman, and usually their gluten-free one, but there are many great soy sauce brands on the market. And even without the Thai basil and the kaffir lime leaves, for example, you still have a gorgeous sauce from the soy sauce and the honey.
If you don’t have rice wine, use white wine or sherry. I have previously used a couple of pieces stem ginger from a jar if I haven’t had fresh ginger.
This works brilliantly with chicken thighs (bone in for flavour) and drumsticks, pressure-cooking for just 10 minutes. Served also with rice and you have a great main course.
I sometimes add other goodies in there such as chopped lemongrass, honey and lime zest.
A simple dish
With this dish, it is very much a matter of popping everything into the pressure cooker and then steaming on high pressure for 7 minutes. This can be done in advance, but it is hardly a time-consuming affair!
The pressure cooker is not only quicker than simmering the chicken (although not massively so with this dish), it also gives the most tender chicken: you can actually pull out the bones from the wings easily if you want to!
Once the chicken has cooked, remove it from its fabulously flavoured liquid and reduce the sauce it until it goes syrupy. This then gets poured all over the chicken before popping in a hot oven so the sauce on top goes wonderfully sticky.
A crispy skin
Flaccid chicken skin, which you get when boiling or pressure-cooking chicken, is not pleasant, but the skin will crisp up enough when it goes back into the oven with the sauce glazed all over it. So while the cooking liquor is reducing to a sauce, I sometimes put the chicken into a large oven-proof dish and pop it in the oven at 200C so that the skin crisps up a bit.
The reduced sauce then gets poured on top but it turns into a wonderfully sticky glaze on the top.
I like this served very simply: crisp lettuce for the chicken to sit on, a generous spooning-over of the sticky sauce and sprinkled with chopped chillies, spring onions and some slithers of gorgeous fried garlic.
For the fried garlic, peel a few cloves and slice thinly. Heat gently in vegetable oil in a small pan just until the garlic turns golden brown. Remove from the oil.
No pressure cooker?
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, simply pop the chicken in a pan with the sauce ingredients and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, and then continue to step 3 of the recipe.
Recipe: spiced soy sauce-glazed chicken wings
Sauce: (enough for about 16 wings)
- chicken wings: allow 3-4 per person
- about 1 litre water
- 200ml good quality soy sauce: go for a gluten-free version if needed
- 3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large chilli of choice, finely chopped
- a couple of tablespoons of rice wine
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, or any type
- 2″ piece of stem ginger, peeled and finely grated or chopped
- a couple of tablespoons Thai fish sauce
- a few Thai basil leaves
- 2-3 fresh kaffir lime leaves
- Iceberg or Little Gem lettuce, shredded
- chopped chilli, optional
- chopped coriander, optional
- sliced spring onion
- lightly fried garlic slices – see above
(1) Put the marinade ingredients into a large dish along with the chicken and mix well with your hands. Cover and chill for several hours or ideally overnight.
(2) Pop the marinade and the water into the pressure cooker and bring to the boil. Add the chicken wings and secure the lid. Bring to pressure and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C (fan).
(3) Release the pressure from the pressure cooker and transfer the chicken pieces to a large oven-proof dish and simmer the beautifully flavoured liquid until it is well reduced, thicker and slightly syrupy: almost to the consistency of honey. You can add more sugar, a splash of honey at this stage. Even a few chopped spring onions and fresh coriander…..go as simple as you like or add additional flavours you like.
(4) Pour the sauce all over the chicken and mix well. Put into the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes or so or until the sauce is bubbling and coating the chicken.
(5) Remove from the oven and sprinkle over any of (or all of!) chopped spring onion, chilli, crisp garlic shards and fresh coriander. Serve with crisp lettuce and finger bowls!