Sticky-Spicy Korean Chicken Wings
There are few things better than a crispy, spicy-sweet chicken wing, am I right? These ones are so delicious and so simple with only 4 ingredients in the sticky sauce: chili paste, soy sauce, honey, and garlic. It’s a magical foursome that comes together in a totally addictive, multiple-napkins-required way.
Hold up – chili paste? You might be wondering. Yes. I used Korean red pepper paste called gochujang. If you’ve read many food magazines in the past year you’ve likely heard of it. It’s a delicious blend of sun-dried red chilis with fermented rice and soybeans. Think miso meets hot sauce. And it’s slightly sweetened.
So to recap, you have spicy, sweet, umami, and a mild fermented funk in one delicious, thick paste. Korean cooks know what’s up. Which is undoubtedly why the condiment is gaining rapid popularity among non-Korean cooks.
I partnered with Sempio, the Korean brand whose gochujang already happened to be in my fridge, to bring you the recipe. Sempio is a renowned maker of traditional, authentic Korean sauces and condiments, such as soy sauce, soybean paste, and this red pepper paste. They’ve been in business for more than 70 years, and are a trusted household name in Korea. I have personally been choosing this brand because it doesn’t have any preservatives or MSG, and of course, because it’s really good. I get it at Superstore in Vancouver. In Canada, you can get it at most other Loblaws stores and at Sobeys.
I love chicken wings, and have a hard time not eating a hundred million in one sitting. Which is why I especially love my own version of chicken wings, which I make in the oven without actually even adding any oil. So they’re delicious without the immediate regretful stomach ache.
I have a special, very important trick to achieving a perfectly crispy wing without frying. I use an oiled wire cooling rack placed on top of the baking sheets to ensure good air circulation all around, and employ the convection setting on my oven (not crucial, but it sure helps).
The recipe makes a big batch because we live for leftovers these days, but feel free to halve it. It is pretty spicy – I made a milder version of the sauce for the kiddos (honey, soy sauce, garlic and just a touch of the spice paste). They both love eating wings – I think it makes them feel like giants.
Here’s some more gochujang inspiration to use up your container – though once you try it, I don’t think you’ll have trouble with that! (And if you discover that you love Korean food as much as I do, here’s a great cookbook to get you started.)
Bibimbap (you know how grain bowls have gotten so hyped up lately? Well say hello to the original bowl)
Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs (hubba hubba)
Kimchi Fried Rice (I’ve never actually followed a recipe but make this all the time – like once every 2 weeks)
Gochujang Grilled Cheese (um, YES)
Gochujang Braised Chicken and Crispy Rice (I’ll be making this one myself – it’s been put in my meal plan for next week!)
- Canola corn or sunflower oil, for racks
- 4 lbs chicken wings
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup Sempio Red Pepper Paste Gochujang
- 4 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- toasted sesame seeds optional
- thinly sliced green onion optional
- Preheat oven to 400ºF, on convection setting, if you have it. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and top with wire cooling racks. Oil the racks and arrange chicken wings in a single layer on top. Sprinkle evenly with salt. Bake wings for about 40 minutes, until skin is crispy.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the hot pepper paste, honey, soy sauce, and garlic. Brush over the chicken wings and bake about 8 minutes more, until glaze is charring a bit in spots, watching closely toward the end. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired.