Salt and pepper chicken wings are an easy Chinese takeaway classic. Read on to learn how to make them in frying oil or using an air fryer or even an oven!
These fried wings are everything you love in a fried chicken dish - crunchy, tasty and spicy. You can get mouthful flavours of the gingery fried meat, garlicky marinade, and a topping of chillies and garlic. It is worth trying at home because when you order the wings from takeout, they lose their crunchy texture.
In our recipe below, you will get to know how you can fry the chicken in a frying pan. Not to mention, you can also opt for a healthier version and reduce the calories (and guilt!) by using an air fryer or oven. We include all three cooking approaches below!
What is it?
Salt and pepper chicken wings are a tasty, spicy, savoury, and salty Chinese takeaway dish that is very popular among people. They are often mentioned as 'salt and chilli wings' or 'salt and spicy wings.'
Its traditional salt and pepper ingredients are mixed in perfect amounts, and they are very addictive.
There are lots of fried chicken variations you can find worldwide. But if you want an Asian variant, then these four are the popular ones you can try.
Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings Hong Kong Style
In Hong Kong salt and pepper chicken wings, the key difference is that they use soy sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar to marinate the chicken.
After frying the meat, there is a special sauce made with water, honey, hoisin sauce or char siu sauce, and fresh ginger. After mixing the sauce, your fried wings are ready to serve.
To make Szechuan style fried wings, you need Szechuan pepper salt to season the meat. It is a Chinese takeout favourite as it is spicy. The ingredients also include a mix of hot chilli peppers and garlic.
To make Vietnamese salt and pepper chicken wings, the main thing is you need to make sure is that it comes out super crispy and crunchy. For that, tapioca starch and cornstarch are the best ingredients to get those results.
Also, the main ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder, and ground black pepper are used in this recipe.
To make salt and pepper chicken wings BBQ, you need to grill it in a barbecue stand and apply BBQ sauce.
The result is a simpler taste concoction compared to the Korean BBQ marinade. However, sometimes simple is better as you get to enjoy the full taste profile of the fried chicken!
A portion of 10 salt and pepper chicken wings will have around 597 calories. However, the exact amount of calories will depend on which frying method you use for frying the meat.
If you use an oven or air fryer, it will take less oil to fry the chicken, and these are healthier versions. If you use the deep frying method, then the calories per serving will increase.
You can buy all the ingredients used in salt and pepper chicken wings from any supermarket or Asian store.
For particular ingredients like Shaoxing wine, potato starch, and kosher salt can be found in Asian super shops, or you can order them online.
Apart from being a tasty dish, this fried chicken meal is also versatile as many of its ingredients can be substituted with alternatives.
- If you don't have Shaoxing wine, you can use alternative options like sake, dry white wine, dry sherry, or beer.
- If you don't have wings, you can also use thighs cut into chunks. All you need to do is cook it for a shorter time, about 3 to 4 minutes, until the pieces are golden brown.
- We recommend using potato starch for the salt and pepper chicken wings. It is commonly used in Asian recipes such as the Japanese Karaage and Tatsuage. Otherwise, you can also use cornstarch or sweet potato starch that is found in Asian markets.
- You can use either very spicy Thai chillies, milder Jalapenos, spicy serrano chiles, or even milder Fresnos. If you want even hotter chillies, we recommend using red and green bell peppers for the recipe.
Here are a few tips and tricks that we find particularly useful in perfecting the fried chicken dish.
- Always marinate the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes. But if you marinate it overnight, you can get even deeper flavours in your salt and pepper chicken wings.
- If you are using larger pieces of meat, fill it with 2 inches of oil, enough to halfway fry the chicken. Cook them until you get the golden brown look all over.
- Fry the wings in separate batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. If you overcrowd the pan, you will not get a nice brown colour.
- Choose your chillies based on how spicy you want the dish to be. Also, quickly stir the spices not to make them stuck with the pan.
Using an Air fryer
If you are looking to reduce calories or a healthier version of the Chinese salt and pepper chicken wings, then the air fryer version is the way to go. By air frying, you reduce the amount of oil used in cooking the dish.
If you prefer to use an air fryer, then place the wings evenly in the basket. Start frying at 200 to 210 degrees Celcius for 8 minutes per side. In total it will take up at least 16 minutes.
Otherwise, you can also air fry until the outside of the meat are crispy and golden brown on the outside.
Using an Oven
If you want a healthier option but do not own an air fryer, then you can bake your salt and pepper chicken wings. Moreover, you do not need to worry about the mess that usually comes with frying meat in the kitchen. All you need to do is prepare the ingredients and let them bake in the oven.
However, if you bake them in the oven, then it will take significantly longer. You need to preheat the oven to 200 to 210 degrees Celcius. Then, they will need to be baked for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the wings.
Remember to check after 30 minutes of baking if the wings have turned into a crispy brown colour. Flip the, over once they turn golden brown to cook the other side.
Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings | Chinese Takeaway Classic
For the Chicken Wings
- 2½ pounds chicken wings
- ¾ cups Shaoxing wine
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 cup potato starch
- 2-3 cups vegetable oil for frying
For the Chilli topping
- 4-6 pcs chillies thinly sliced
- 3-4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper ground
- Add wine, minced garlic, ginger, salt, and stir to combine all the ingredients properly in a large bowl.
- After that, add the chicken and toss to coat the mixture properly. Let it marinate properly for 20 minutes or overnight.
- In a large frying pan or skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers or is about 180 degrees Celcius.
- Toss the marinated salt and pepper chicken wings in the potato starch to get the coating for crisp. Shake the excessive potato starch and drop them in the hot oil one by one.
- Cook for 5 minutes till the bottom part becomes golden brown. Then flip the chicken over and cook for another 5 minutes to get the perfect golden brown colour.
- Once all of them are fried in the same manner, it's time to add some spices. Heat the skillet at medium temperature and pour some butter, and let it melt. After that, add sliced chillies and garlic and frequently stir to get the chillies perfectly brown. This will take 1 to 2 minutes.
- Put the fried chicken on the serving plate and pour the fried chilies and garlic over the top. Sprinkle some white pepper and pepper salt. Serve and enjoy your salt and pepper chicken wings!
- Make sure to cover and refrigerate the bowl during marination.
- When frying, do not overcrowd the frying pan or skillet. You can fit at least 5 to 7 chickens at a time, so plan to cook them in 2 to 3 batches.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
A Dash of Soy's Youtube channel also has a great video recipe on how to prepare this dish. Compared to our dish, theirs make use of Jalapenos and eggs in their recipe.
Did you try our recipe? Tag us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks and share with us how your fried wings turned out!
Looking for another fried dish to try making at home? Give our Korean Cheesy Hot Dog recipe a try! You will not regret it.