The Colonel may have had 11 secret herbs and spices, but these Southern fried chicken wings taste just as good with only four! The secret to flavour is salt … and soaking these wings (or any poultry) in brine makes a world of difference, just not too long for small pieces like wings or they become too salty. The other trick, which I learned from chicken maestro Morgan McGlone of Belles Hot Chicken, is to leave the chicken and flour together long enough for the moisture from the chicken to help build up a thick coating, almost like a batter, overnight is best if time permits. I serve these wings with two different dipping sauces, a smoky spicy one and a cooling herbal one; I use salad burnet for the herbal one because it’s growing in my garden and has a lovely cucumber flavour, but parsley, coriander, mint, chervil or a combination of your favourite soft herbs will work just as well. These make a great snack anytime, or add a spicy coleslaw to turn them into a meal for 4. And for a delicious wine match, try Alfardon Tinto, a great Spanish red (perfect lightly chilled) from Sarah & Iwo at Si Vintners.
Serves 6 or more as a snack
- 1kg chicken wings
- 50g cooking salt
- 2 cups plain flour
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Fried Chicken Spice Blend
- 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 3 teaspoons white peppercorns
- 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1½ teaspoons salt flakes
Hot Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
- Hot sauce, to taste
Cool Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup natural yoghurt
- 1 cup fresh soft herb leaves, finely chopped
- Cut wings into mini-drums and mid wings (freeze the wing tips for stock).
- Dissolve salt in 500ml cold water.
- Place chicken in a lidded container and cover with the water, adding more water and salt if needed to completely cover the chicken; use 10g salt for every 100ml of water.
- Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
- Make Fried Chicken Spice Blend: combine all Ingredients in a spice grinder and blitz into a fine powder.
- Mix Spice Blend and flour in a large bowl.
- Remove chicken from brine, add to bowl and toss well to coat each piece. Cover bowl and refrigerate chicken and flour for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
- Remove from fridge and set aside for 30 minutes or so to come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile make Hot Dipping Sauce and Cool Dipping Sauce by combining respective Ingredients.
- Heat oil for deep-frying.
- Toss chicken in the flour again to add a firm dry coating.
- Fry chicken in batches for about 7 minutes (mini-drums may need a little longer than mid-wings), stirring occasionally until just cooked through.
- Drain on paper towel until all chicken is cooked.
- Serve immediately with Hot Dipping Sauce and Cool Dipping Sauce.