Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spicy Sticky Wings

The Super Bowl is coming up, as it does every year.  And we watch it with pleasure, sometimes taping it when that’s an option, but we have also been known to wake up at all hours and even head to a sports bar at 4 a.m. if that’s the only way to watch, since we’ve been living overseas.

But more important that the Super Bowl in our house, is the World Cup.  According to my husband, soccer is the real football (and he has a point since, save the goalie, players can’t touch the ball with their hands inside the boundary lines) and the World Cup, played only every four years, well, that’s the real championship.

For Cooked in Translation this month, our theme is Wildly Delicious Wings, so I am going to share with you a dish I created for the World Cup in 1998.  We were living in Brazil where everything stops when the home team is playing and, frankly, not much gets done when any game is on.  The weather was beautiful so we had all the doors and windows open and whenever a player scored, we could hear the cheers or jeers from all the neighboring houses and we just knew that every eye in town was fixed on a television, watching football.  For our part, throughout the Copa, as it’s called there, we took turns hosting, watching with a group of friends, all bringing snack foods and cold beverages and wearing our lucky shirts (or underwear or socks or whatever we were wearing when our country team won last.)  Superstitions abounded!  These were lucky wings and we have eaten them often since.

Next year the World Cup will actually be in Brazil and there is talk around our house of going.  If anyone invites us to stay, I promise to make all the snacks!  I’ll even buy the cold beer!

Still have my shirt so I'm ready!

1 1/2 lbs or 1.125kg chicken wings (about 22 whole wings)
1 1/2 cups or 355ml kecap manis or sweet soy sauce
(or 1 cup normal soy sauce plus 1 cup packed dark brown sugar)
2 small red chilies or 1 teaspoon crushed red chilies
1/2 small head cabbage (optional for serving)

Cut your wings into three pieces, discarding the tips or, better, boiling them up for chicken stock to be used in another dish.

Chop your chilies into little bitty pieces.

Put your drumettes and whatever that other part is called into a large pot that allows sufficient stirring room.  If you use a non-stick pot, you will be able to get the wings really, really sticky, but it’s not essential.

Pour in the kecap manis and the chilies.  Cook over a low to medium flame, gently stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, slice your cabbage very finely and spread it around on the serving plate.  I have to admit that we don’t usually eat this, except for the parts that end up having sticky kecap manis on them, but the cabbage stops the wings from sticking to your plate, and saves you the indignity of licking it to get all the good stuff off.

As you keep cooking them, the chicken wings will give off some liquid and the kecap manis will thin as it heats up.  Just keep stirring and cooking until the liquid starts to evaporate.

At this point, watch the wings carefully because they can be prone to burning because of the sugar in the kecap manis. (Turn the fire down to low if necessary.) Stir more often, still gently though, as you don’t want the meat to fall off the bones. Keep cooking and stirring until all the liquid is gone and the wings are nice and sticky. 

Place the wings on the cabbage to serve.  Sit in front of your television and watch your favorite ball game. (This past weekend, it was the Australian Open.)  Cold beer optional but highly recommended.



  1. Boy, this looks soooooooo good! We always have wings on or about Super Bowl Sunday and minus the cabbage - not allowed in the house - it would be a welcome change to our regular Hooters-like wings!

  2. P.S. - Happy Birthday my friend!

  3. This is the recipe I've been waiting for - well worth the wait! I'm definitely trying these! Didn't realise you guys were football fans, we are of course, football mad, all my 4 kids have got football related names! xx

  4. These look so super good!I love the spicy kick with the chillies and the lovely dark color in these!Cannot wait to try :)

  5. They are the best, Paola! Truly one of our favorite things, any time of the year.

  6. Thank you! I had a wonderful day of good food, good friends and even champagne.

  7. Football related names? Now you have me curious, Lin! Do tell.

  8. I've never heard of sweet soy sauce, how cool! I love how sticky and sweet these wings are and that the preparation is simple. YUM!

  9. Just cook 'em still they get sticky, Veronica! They are delicious and so easy!

  10. Karen (Back Road Journal)January 25, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    With wings that look that good, I bet you get an could anyone resist.

  11. Still crossing my fingers, Karen! We would just go and rent somewhere but I have a feeling that rentals will be in short supply. Perhaps a tent we could pitch on the beach?

  12. Hi Momma R,
    I made this today with tofu and it was sooo good! Hope Victoria gets back home soon before I devour it all ;) I'll try to share! Great recipe!


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