Addictive Sweet and Salty Chicken Wings

On a trip to Vancouver, I discovered Phnom Phen, the must-try Cambodian spot in town. I'd never had Cambodian before, only Vietnamese and Thai, but as I saw plates piled high with herbs floating out of the kitchen and smelt the acrid scent of garlic wafting through the air, I knew I was in the right place. After waiting in an impossibly long line, I responsibly ordered a Vancouver specialty: chicken wings. I expected something sticky and spicy, like a cross between Thai and Japanese wings. The result was totally unexpected: simple fired chicken tossed in cilantro, green onion, garlic, and then salt, pepper and . . . sugar. The sugar was the linchpin here. It took yummy tasty wings and transformed them into crack wings. It made sense why every table had a graveyard of chicken bones strewn across plates. These were really freaking good. I harassed the teenage sweetheart of a waiter into giving me the details, and honestly, there wasn't any secret to it. Just a little rice flour to add a bit of crunch to the skin, and then the garnishes I had already sussed out. As I left the restaurant, I promised myself I would whip this wings up myself at the earliest opportunity. Well, here they are. Put on some sweatpants, and get frying.
6063C244_OG_WhiteRiceFlour_s_450 For the perfect crunch, this rice flour is finely ground with the best California rice. Organic White Rice Flour, $19, Bob's Red Mill
  Ingredients 1 gallon vegetable oil 2 pounds chicken wings and drumettes 1/2 cup potato starch or rice flour [NOTE] potato starch gives you a flakier texture and rice flour goes a darker golden brown Ingredients for tossing mix: 1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint 3 garlic cloves, chopped 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper Directions: Pour enough oil into a large pot or dutch oven to come up 3 inches, and heat over high heat until oil reaches 350°F. Meanwhile, combine tossing mix ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Toss the wings in the starch or rice flour to coat, and add to the oil. Cook the wings for 5 minutes, or until crispy and pale golden brown.  Set aside on paper towels and let them cool for a few minutes.  Bring the oil up to 400F, add the wings back in, and cook for another 6 or 7 minutes, until deep golden brown.  Drain on paper towels, and add to a bowl. Pour tossing mix ingredients over the chicken, toss the wings to coat, and serve while hot! For more delicious recipes from Claire, head to The Kitchy Kitchen. Photographs: Claire Thomas