I’m gonna shake things up in this post by:
- Finally giving you the chicken wing recipe that you’ve been (subconsciously) screaming for
- Enlightening you with some educational babble
I just realised that this is the first meat recipe that I’ve posted here, which is so strange because I eat it almost every day, except for that YEAR in which I went rogue and got involved with pescatarianism. Alas, that is a story for another day, but just know that after things ended, I bounced back…so…Swift-ly one could say 😉
Tamarind trees grow wildly in Angola, as well as in other tropical countries around the world, which means that it’s pretty accessible in the places that haven’t been trashed gentrified. What’s amazing about the tree is that you can reap crazy good health benefits from even the most overlooked parts; from the vitamin C jam-packed in its leaves, to the healing properties in its bark, to the natural laxative within the fruit pulp, this tree of life offers your system the (literal) boost that it needs.
However, for now, let’s focus on the part most relevant to this post (I know you’re intrigued dude, but we must move on sorrynotsorry). The tree produces a hard brown tamarind fruit that is kinda shaped like a massive broad bean pod. The fruit, once cracked open, contains an edible sweet (yet sometimes rather sour) sticky pulp that can be eaten like any other fruit (mind the seeds yo). Although, it’s best eaten when ripe, as it becomes a bit sweeter and less acidic, so it doesn’t destroy the roof of your mouth in the way that an extra sour jawbreaker would.
Other fun facts about tamarind fruit:
- It’s also a legume
- Its extract is one of the secret ingredients in Worcester sauce
- It can tenderise meat because the acid breaks it down
- Chef and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi makes his own paste from the pulp itself and uses it in everything apparently
While this recipe isn’t typically Angolan, as Angolans tend to eat tamarind on its own, it’s inspired by my upbringing, as my mum absolutely looooves to eat it and would get so excited whenever a family member brought it over for us. She’d then fill our kitchen with beautiful and colourful memories from her childhood. Therefore, it’s a happy fruit that I grew up with and feels like a special treat, so I came up with this recipe wanting to explore another delicious ways of reaping the benefits of tamarind, to bring more smiles and create new memories in my kitchen.
These wings are a TREAT. I promise you’ll love them!
Recipe for sticky crispy tamarind chicken wings (serves 6)
1.5kg chicken wings, washed and halved (yes…chicken is to be washed)
groundnut oil, for frying
For the marinade
3 spring onions (white part only), chopped
1 lemon, squeezed
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chives, chopped
1 knob ginger
½ tsp. salt
For the tamarind sauce
2 ½ heaped tbsp. tamarind paste, deseeded (make sure its 100% tamarind and not full of nonsense)
500ml boiling water
1 spring onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. honey
1 maggi cube
½ tbsp. ground black pepper
- Blend ingredients for marinade together until it becomes a paste, then rub into the chicken wings and leave to marinate for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, begin to make the tamarind sauce by stirring 150ml of the boiling water into the tamarind paste so until it gains a gravy-like consistency.
- Place it in a pot and combine the rest of the tamarind sauce ingredients. Stir, and place on low-medium heat for 15 minutes. Once the spring onions have completely softened, remove from hob and sieve the liquid into a large glass bowl.
- Once wings have finished marinating, place enough oil in pan so that the oil sits 1cm above the bottom of the pan. Place hob temperature on highest heat so that the oil is very hot, but not smoking.
- Set oven to gas mark 7
- Flash fry wings for 3 minutes on each side so that the skin becomes crisp but not cooked through. Then, carefully remove wings from pan and place them straight into the bowl containing tamarind sauce (there should be leftover marinade from the container you were seasoning the wings in…add this into the tamarind sauce).
- Stir the wings into the sauce so that they are coated in sauce, before placing in a heat proof oven tray and into the oven for 20 minutes.
- Well done, you just winged it 😉