The recipe for these duck wings is based on the crisp fragrant duck of Sichuan in China. It’s usually used on a whole duck, but I think this is a little bit extravagant. Besides, I have fond memories of the xiaochi, or small eats of Sichuan, and these make a great tribute to the tradition. You can serve them as a Chinese version of tapas, for a group of people to snack on, or as I did, as a dish in a small banquet. In true Sichuan style, the dish has the hot and numbing ma la flavours from Sichuan peppercorns and red chilli, but it’s also fragrant with other spices. The trick to these is to steam them before frying them to crisp golden perfection.
Serves 3-4 as part of a banquet, or up to 8 as a bar snack
|1||cinnamon stick, broken up|
|2||star anise, broken up|
|oil, for frying|
Cut the duck wings into three portions at the two joints. Combine the Sichuan peppercorns, chilli, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and star anise. Evenly cover the wings with this dry marinade and refrigerate for three hours or more.
Remove the wings from the refrigerator and arrange in a steamer over medium heat. Steam for about an hour. Remove the wings from the steamer and brush off most of the marinade. Heat the frying oil in a deep fryer or saucepan and deep fry the wings in batches till they are a dark golden colour. Drain on a paper towel and serve.