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That was the reaction when Tim Ma tossed together a batch of chicken wings for family in 2010. The chef now plates 60 pounds' worth a week at his restaurant in Vienna, Virginia. The sauce shines a citrusy heat on wings and drumettes that remain crisp under cover. Eating them is finger-lickin' business.
The recipe's so simple that Ma was almost embarrassed to share it. The hitch: He uses creme fraiche — a rich, cultured product that does not separate when exposed to heat. With extra whisking, a good store brand also will do.
Creme fraiche chicken wings
1 pound chickens and drumetttes
2 cups good-quality creme fraiche;
3 tablespoons oyster sauce, preferably Sky Dragon brand;
3 tablespoons fish sauce, preferably Squid brand;
1/2 cup gojuchang (spicy Korean red pepper paste);
3 tablespoons tamari;
3 tablespoons sudachi juice (you may use yuzu or fresh lime juice);
1 pinch each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 4 to 6 cups canola oil in a pot to 350 degrees.
Combine ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl and whisk into a smooth sauce. Taste and add up to 1/4 cup extra gojuchang if you like spicy heat. Refrigerate half the sauce for another use.
Working in two or three batches, fry chicken wings and drumettes in the oil to an internal temperature of 200 degrees, 7 to 8 minutes. They will be golden brown. Use a Chinese skimmer to transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Immediately toss each seasoned batch into the sauce. Use your hands to coat the chicken evenly, then quickly arrange on a plate.
Garnish with finely chopped chives, or scallions cut thinly on the diagonal. Serve right away.
Note: Leftover sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.
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