When I was growing up, my brothers and I call these “Mom’s chicken wings” because we loved them so much. Because the wings are fried, my mother didn’t cook them often, so they were considered a treat. She served the wings on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, which then became flavoured with the soy-sauce coating, so we enjoyed eating that, too.
Although it takes time to fry these wings, the dish couldn’t be easier. There’s no need to marinate the meat or season the coating; you just dredge the wings in the cornstarch, fry them until cooked, then dip them in the soy sauce mixture, so they are completely coated.
I double-dip the wings – once soon after they have been fried, while they are still hot, then again just before baking them. Baking not only heats the wings, it also crisps up the coating. Frying the wings and coating them the first time in the sauce can be done in advance, while the second coating and the baking should be done just before serving them.
If you think the wings are going to be too salty because of the soy sauce mixture, you are wrong. They make a great party snack, but are probably easier to eat as finger food if you use just the drumette portions. The leftover wings are delicious cold or at room temperature.
If using whole chicken wings, cut them at the joint to separate the drumette portion from the middle joint and wing tip.
Put the cornstarch into a shallow bowl or pan (I use a pie pan). Pour oil to a depth of about 2cm (⅞in) in a skillet and place over a medium flame. Heat until the oil reaches to 180°C (350°F).
Dredge the wings in the cornstarch to coat them completely, then shake off the excess. Place the wings in the hot oil and fry for about five minutes, or until cooked through. Fry the wings in batches; do not crowd the pan.
While the first batch of wings is frying, prepare the soy sauce mixture. Pour the soy sauce into a medium-sized saucepan and add the sugar and 100ml (¼ cup plus 2tbsp and 2tsp) of water. Thinly slice the garlic and ginger and put the pieces into the pan. Place the pan over a medium flame and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil then turn off the flame.
When the first batch of wings is cooked, drain them on paper towels and start frying the subsequent batches. Dip the hot fried wings in the soy sauce mixture to coat them completely, then lay them on a baking tray. Fry and coat the remaining wings in the same way.
After frying and coating all the wings, they can be coated a second time and baked immediately, or left at room temperature for about two hours.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Dip the wings a second time in the soy sauce mixture, then place them back on the baking tray in a single layer (you may need to use two trays). Bake the wings for about eight minutes, until the surface is slightly crusty in parts, turning them over halfway through.
Shred the iceberg lettuce and spread it on a serving platter. Arrange the wings over the lettuce. Mince the spring onions, then scatter them and the sesame seeds over the wings, then serve.