Somewhere, (in heaven perhaps) a bucket filled with fried things awaits each one of us.
THING TO KNOW: “Khao Soi” is a delicious Northern Thai curry noodle soup, and the inspiration for these coconut curry chicken wings. The best Khao Soi I’ve had to date (besides the one I make at home) was from Fork & Stix in Saint Louis, MO.
STYLING: I really like the contrast of blue and yellow and I know from experience that golden undertones especially pop against blue, so my trusty blue bucket from World Market was a no brainer. It took me a while to stack the chicken pieces to my liking… you want them to look abundant, but not lose their outline against a crowd. The only thing I wish I’d done differently was finagle a bit of red into the frame to add some heat (since the wings are a bit spicy).
LIGHTING: Lowel Ego, black bounce, white reflector, white diffusor
GEAR: Nikon d7000 + Sigma 30mm f/1.4DC HSM mounted on Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT with Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head
RETOUCHING: Minor adjustments in Lightroom (color, contrast, sharpening)
- 2 lb chicken wings
- 1 cup boxed coconut milk
- 2 TB khao soi curry paste
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp curry powder
- dash soy sauce
- dash fish sauce
- 1 TB crumbled palm sugar
- ½ cup potato starch
- oil for deep frying
- salt & pepper to taste
- cilantro, for garnish
- 1 pod black cardamom, seeds removed
- 1 ½ TB coriander seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 8 Mexican puya chilies, deseeded
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped into little pieces
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ inch piece of galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ head of garlic, peeled
- 2 European shallots or 10Asian shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 TB shrimp paste or fine shrimp sauce
- Toast the coriander, cumin, and cardamom seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add to mortar and pestle, then grind into power.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the spice powder, galangal, Mexican puya chilies, salt, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shrimp paste, and shallots. Blend into a fine paste (add small amounts of water or oil if necessary to bulk up the volume and help the blades catch the paste).
- Cut the wings into 3 pieces at the joints. Discard the tiny wing tips (they will burn in the oil). Place the wings in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly and let them sit at room temp for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 TB of butter or oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Saute 2 TB of the khao soi paste for 1 minute. Add the turmeric and curry powder and saute 30 seconds more. Add the coconut milk, sugar and cayenne pepper and continue stirring until mixture thickens (~2 minutes). Add the dash of soy sauce and fish sauce, stir quickly to combine, and remove the saucepan from the heat. Cover and set aside.
- Fill a cast iron dutch oven halfway with canola oil and heat to 360 deg F. Use therice test to determine when our oil is hot enough. Fry the wings in small batches, not covering more than ¼ the surface area of the oil. Fry for 7-8 minutes, turning once. Remove and set in a single layer on a paper towel to cool and crisp.
- Toss the wings in the khao soi coconut sauce. Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.