I finally joined the Park Slope Co-op after two years of living in the neighborhood. And it's been kind of life-changing. Not because I'm suddenly exposed to organic and seasonal food, since I've been buying both for years, but because I no longer have to trek out to Chinatown for ingredients like lemongrass, curry leaves, etc. And having so much lemongrass close by has made me use regularly in the kitchen again, such as for making Vietnamese chicken curry and Thai lemongrass and ginger iced tea.
Earlier this week I decided to make lemongrass chicken wings. As some of you might have guessed by now, I love wings and will try to find any excuse to make them, whether it's for a summer cookout, mid-winter tiki party, Chinese-Caribbean party, or just reviving a homestyle Chinese dish that involves Coca-Cola.
The best way to extract full flavor from lemongrass, as I once learned from the ex-boyfriend of an old roommate who was a pastry chef, is to bruise the white ends of the lemongrass stalk with the blunt edge of your knife's knife before slicing. This releases the lemongrass flavor much better than simply chopping. The marinade for these wings is plenty flavorful, with fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and shallots. To get some nice browning in the oven, I baste the wings with a honey and soy sauce mixture during the roasting.
Hope you enjoy the wings! And maybe, to have even easier access to lemongrass, I should try growing it in my own apartment.
Lemongrass Chicken Wings
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 2 1/2 pounds chicken, tips removed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 handful peanuts, chopped
- Chopped cilantro (optional)
- Remove the hard end and outer layer of the lemongrass stalk. Bruise the white ends of your stalks with the blunt edge of a large knife (it helps release the lemongrass “juices”), then thinly slice and mince. You should end up with about 1 tablespoon of minced lemongrass. Discard the green tops.
- Marinate the chicken: In a small bowl, combine the lemongrass, garlic, shallot, ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, peanut oil, brown sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Place the chicken wings into a large resealable freezer bag and pour the marinade over the wings. Close the freezer bag and shake so that the chicken is well-coated with marinade. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Stir together the honey and soy sauce and set aside. Line a large sheet tray with foil or parchment paper. Place the wings on the tray and roast for 30 minutes, basting the wings with the honey-soy mixture once about half-way through and once close to the end of the roasting time.
- Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the wings to a serving plate. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts and cilantro on top and serve.