What makes these wings so special is the use of tamarind in the glaze—which contributes a sweet, sour, and fruity flavor, with a little kick of heat from the chile. And for that extra edge of crispiness, the wings are air-dried in the refrigerator overnight and then tossed in tempura flour before going into the oven.
- Prepare the tamarind glaze by adding the boiling water to the tamarind in a small heatproof bowl. Allow to sit covered for at least 1 hour to come to room temperature. Once the tamarind pulp is soft, press the fruit gently, using a potato masher or large spoon to release the pulp, then pass the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and press the pulp using a large spoon to extract as much pulp as possible. Discard the solids left behind and reserve the pulp in a container. The tamarind pulp can be prepared a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
- To prepare the glaze, melt the butter in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add all the ingredients from the ginger to the black pepper and cook for about 30 seconds with constant stirring, till you just start to smell the aroma of the spices. Stir in the tamarind pulp, sugar, and vinegar and bring the contents of the pan to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Remove from heat and transfer to a container. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.
- To prepare the wings, pat the wings dry with clean paper towels and leave them overnight in the refrigerator in a dish uncovered. The next day, place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the surface with the olive oil.
- Place the flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a gallon zip-top bag, seal, and shake to mix. Working in batches, add 4 to 6 pieces of chicken at a time, seal the bag, and shake the contents to coat the pieces evenly. Dust the chicken gently to remove any excess flour and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the chicken on the sheet with the olive oil. Place the baking sheet with the chicken in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the sheet and flip the chicken and cook for an additional 20 minutes. The chicken should be crispy and golden brown on each side when done. Transfer the hot pieces to a large bowl, add ½ cup of the sauce to the wings and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the sliced chiles and chives. Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side. Wings are best eaten hot, as soon as they are prepared.
Nik Sharma is an award-winning freelance food writer and photographer. He also writes a recipe-based food column for the San Francisco Chronicle called A Brown Kitchen and is also the author of the blog A Brown Table. He is currently working on his first cookbook, Season (Chronicle Books), which will be published in fall 2018. He lives in Oakland, California.