Two big celebrations going down this week! First, it was Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, then this Sunday, it’s the Super Bowl in Houston! Even though the Houston Texans got eliminated during play-offs, I’m looking forward to the game since it’ll be in my hometown of Houston, which means lots of celeb sightings and exciting events going on around town.

Today, I’m sharing with you a great Super Bowl recipe, except it’s with a fresh, umami twist. Chicken wings have long been a football game favorite, but instead of serving up the same ol’ boring buffalo style wings, try making my Vietnamese-inspired caramelized fish sauce wings. These wings are incredibly flavorful and interesting, just like this Sunday’s game will be. I served these wings as part of the menu for my first pop-up in Houston, the recipe can be found in my cookbook, and the hubs (who is often a harsher critic than Gordon Ramsay himself) believes they’re better than the wings from Pok Pok in Brooklyn.

These wings aren’t hard to make, but they take a little bit of prep time, since you have to marinate, and then make the sauce and fry. But the ingredients are all inexpensive, and the execution itself is simple and straightforward. It’s the kind of robust recipe to feed a crowd—you just gotta plan a little ahead of time. I promise, your guests’s palate will be doing the touchdown dance after tasting these wings.

Recipe: Caramelized Fish Sauce Chicken Wings

Notes: So packed with flavor, you won’t need a dipping sauce.

Ingredients

  1. 1 c fish sauce
  2. 1/2 c granulated sugar
  3. 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  4. 1/2 lime, zested
  5. 3 lbs chicken wings
  6. 1 c cornstarch
  7. oil for frying
  8. Sauce:

  9. 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  10. 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  11. 3 tbsp ketchup
  12. 2 tbsp fish sauce
  13. 1/2 lime, zested
  14. 3 red chile peppers or more to taste, seeded if desired & finely chopped
  15. 4 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  16. 2 tbsp finely chopped mint

Instructions

  1. Marinate chicken: In a large bowl, stir together fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and lime zest; toss with chicken to coat. Cover and chill for at least 3h, flipping once halfway through.
  2. Par-fry wings: In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil to 350°F. Remove chicken from marinade, coat with cornstarch, and fry for 4m. Drain on wire racks over paper bags.
  3. Make sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine garlic, brown sugar, ketchup, fish sauce, lime zest, and chile peppers. Heat until thickened, approx 8 to 10m. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and mint.
  4. Refry wings: re-heat oil to 350°F. Fry wings for 4m more. Drain on wire racks over paper bags.
  5. Toss with sauce to coat before serving.

Active time: 45m
Total time: 3h 50m
Yields: 6 servings

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8 Discussion to this post

  1. Jon says:

    Hi Christine! I tried one of your recipes and it turned out great. Can't wait to try this recipe as chicken wings are one of my weaknesses.

    • Christine Ha says:

      That’s awesome! Which did you make before? Let me know how these turn out, and stay tuned for more wing recipes.

      • Jon says:

        I tried out your Nuoc mam cham recipe and it was so on point. You got my attention and respect. You and Andrea Nguyen are my heroes lol. I'm going to try your bun bo hue recipe and of course your chicken wing recipe. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out. Keep up the good work.

        • Christine Ha says:

          Awesome! That nuoc mam cham recipe is versatile. Good luck with the cooking. xoxo

          • Jon says:

            Hi Christine! Hope you are well. Quick update. I tried your Caramelized Fish Sauce Chicken Wings recipe and I like it. =) Thank you so much for sharing. I didn't have the right pot so I burned it a little but that's ok. That is how you learn and get better. I do have a quick question though. In your sauce ingredients, it doesn't say how much brown sugar to add. When you have time, can you tell me how much brown sugar to add in the sauce recipe? Thank you Christine and keep up the fine work.

          • Christine Ha says:

            Jon, thanks for the feedback. You’re totally right about missing the measured amount for brown sugar. I have it typed out, but one little typo with the HTML, and the entire line disappeared. Anyway, it’s 1/2 c packed brown sugar. Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll fix the HTML in the blog post now.

  2. Ken Sewell says:

    Hey Christine , just cooked these up for tea tonight , Fantastic taste , my wife said the sauce was just da bomb!!!, I cut down the portion size as there was only two of us , I made a desert to accompany this , it was a Chilled Limoncello parfait with mango slices and cranberry crystals , love your cooking and will be attempting more of them , thanks👍

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