Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lemongrass Chicken Wings

Chicken wings have had some bad press. They have been hijacked by the greasy late-night fried chicken joints, where they have been served dripping in oil, claiming to contain secret herbs and spices (often so secret that you can’t taste them behind all the salt), and served with soggy fries and budget coleslaw.

This recipe transforms them into an exciting starter. There is something inherently inelegant about them – you must abandon cutlery, pick them up and nibble away. But this also makes them fun and informal. And they’re packed with flavour, they don’t dry out like chicken breasts can, and they’re a super cheap cut.

Lemongrass is one of my favourite ingredients in South East Asian cooking. Not only is it distinctly and powerfully fragrant, but it also has therapeutic properties as a diuretic, antiflu and antimicrobial agent – an all-round anti oxidant and heeling herb. So you can actually feel smug about tucking into these chicken wings! This is an awesome starter and I’ll definitely be serving it at one of my supper clubs.

Time: 1 hour plus marinating time
Rating: Super easy
Serves: Makes 16 pieces – serves 4 people as a starter

8 chicken wings
1 small hot red chilli
2 garlic cloves
4 stalks lemon grass
1 inch knob ginger
5 tbsp coconut milk
Juice and zest of lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp brown sugar
Generous pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. First prepare the marinade. Finely chop the chilli including the seeds. Finely chop the ginger, garlic and lemongrass, discarding the tough outer stalks. Turn the ingredients into a thick paste, either using a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. Take time to do this properly so you have a smooth paste.
  2. Add the lime juice, zest, fish sauce, coconut milk, salt & pepper, sugar and oil. Stir well until all the ingredients are well-combined.
  3. Prepare the chicken wings. Using a sharp knife, remove the small outer part of the wing (the small pointy section) and discard. Cut the remaining part of the wing in two along the joint.
  4. Put the wings in a large bowl and cover with the marinade. Toss so that they’re evenly coated. Put in the fridge and leave to marinate for at least half an hour, several hours if possible.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the wings in a roasting dish, leaving a little space between each one. Bake in the oven for about 40 mins until they are nicely browned and sticky.


  1. I like chicken wings, cheap and flavoursome! I usually eat them with a barbecue sauce, American style, but lemon grass and coconut milk are a very delicious and probably more healthy alternative. Rita aka ritacooksitalian

  2. My oh my! I love chicken wings and I've only ever thought to make them with lemon juice and chicken stock cubes (which is nice). Not including sticky BBQ sauce. But these look and sound fantastic and better than the above. I'll have to make 2 batches, 1 with the chilli and 1 without. I'm a wuss with chillies.

    Sweet 2 Eat Baking