This is one of the most requested recipes from my cookbook (now out of print), A Celebration of Food. It's something I make whenever my friends come over for dinner, or whenever we have a pot luck. While the wings can be fried immediately, they taste better if they have a chance to marinate for several hours.
Fresh coriander roots are really aromatic, and they're much sturdier than the leaves, so they're good to use in cooked dishes. At some shops, the roots are trimmed off from the coriander stalks, which is a pity because they keep the herb fresh for longer. If you can't find the herb with the roots still attached, substitute the juicy lower portion of two fresh lemongrass stalks - just very finely mince it and pound with the other ingredients.
These wings don't have a batter or coating, so the crunch is very subtle. If you prefer more of a crunch, dip the drained wings in a coating of plain (all-purpose) flour before frying them.
What does 'Chimaek' mean? Find out through our Fried Chicken and Beer Explained.
No country has made the competition of fried chicken more intense than South Korea. Eat Drink Asia takes a look at two equally iconic KFCs — Kentucky fried chicken and Korean fried chicken — to follow the making of this golden gastronomic achievement of mankind. Listen now.
Cut the wings to separate them into drumette and middle joints.
Roughly chop the garlic and coriander roots, and finely mince the chillies. Put the garlic, coriander roots, chillies and sugar in a mortar and pound to a rough paste. Mix the paste with the fish sauce, lime juice and pepper. Add the wings and stir to combine. Marinate in the fridge for two to four hours, mixing occasionally.
Take the wings from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking them. Drain them in a colander then dry them with paper towels.
Pour oil to the depth of 4cm (1½in) in a deep skillet placed over a medium flame and heat to 175°C (345°F). Add the wings in batches (do not crowd the pan) and fry them, turning them over as necessary, until they are a medium brown and cooked through, about four minutes. Adjust the flame as necessary to maintain the heat. When the wings are cooked, drain them on paper towels.
Pile the wings on a plater and garnish with fresh chillies and lime wedges.