Wingin’ It, Filipino Style!

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Like most sports-watching, bar-hopping American males, I can ingest copious amounts of poultry flight appendages in one sitting–even more so when these appendages are varnished with a spicy glaze. Yes, I’m a chicken wing fiend. Buffalo wings, red hots, hot wings–whatever the moniker, I’ll stuff my face with them.

In fact, I’ve found that my chicken wing consumption is directly correlated with the amount of televisions in my immediate vicinity. For example, I have a modest-sized television at home, so I eat a modest amount of hot wings as a couch potato–about 2 pounds worth (that’s modest for me). But when I’m at a sports bar or other such venue and am surrounded by dozens of giant flat-screens, I tend to overindulge a bit–perhaps all the blinky lights distract me from the burgeoning pain in my belly.

Anyhizzle, with Super Bowl Sunday fast approaching, I figured now was a good time to unleash my Adobo Chicken Wing recipe upon the masses–or at least for the Filipino-philes that are also football-philes–who need a new hot wing recipe for their Super Bowl party (or for any occasion, really).

In all honesty though, this isn’t a true adobo recipe (i.e. the chicken isn’t braised in the necessary adobo potion of garlic, black pepper, bay leaf, vinegar, and soy/salt). Rather, it’s a recipe for Crispy Chicken Wings in a Spicy-Sweet Adobo Glaze (the glaze does contain the necessary adobo potion). Despite the lack of a braise, these adobo wings are simple to prepare and tasty to boot. Trust me.

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“I want four chicken wings fried hard!”

Like most hot wing recipes, my Filipinized hot wings start with frying some unicorn chicken wings until golden and crisp.

Then, to make my adobo glaze, I simmer some vinegar, soy, garlic, siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies), red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and brown sugar. Although this combination of ingredients sound simple enough, I went through a few different iterations before I was satisfied with the final glaze.

For different levels of sweetness and stickiness, I tried honey and molasses but found that these interfered with that familiar Filipino Adobo flavor. So I just settled on good ol’ brown sugar. And for different levels of heat, I tried incorporating sambal and sriracha, but nixed those for the same reasons as I did the honey and molasses. Ultimately, the best heat came from a mix of chopped bird’s eye peppers and red pepper flakes. In terms of vinegar, I found that apple cider provides more of a definite tang, while Sukang Iloco was more restrained, but I feel that either vinegar works well in this application.

When I finally perfected my sauce, I threw everything into a large bowl, chicken wings and all, and then tossed to coat.

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Mmmm. Hot wings and adobo. Together at last.

While I’ve become quite accustomed to my own mix of sweetness and spice, do feel free to adapt the recipe to your own taste. The wings, prepared as is, aren’t that spicy to me–but I eat spicy food on the regular. My wife, on the other hand, was able to enjoy about three wings before the heat blew her head off. And that was just fine with me–settling into my chair in front of the TV with a plate of wings on my lap and a beer in my hand is my kind meal.

Crispy Chicken Wings with Sweet & Spicy Adobo Glaze
Makes 2 pounds of wings (about 15-20 pieces)

The sauce in this recipe makes just enough glaze for 2 pounds of chicken wings. If you’d like more sauce for dipping, double the glaze recipe.

For the glaze:
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 siling labuyo (bird’s eye thai chilies), finely minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Sukang Iloco (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

For the wings:
2 pounds wings, cut into drumettes and flats, wingtips removed
vegetable oil for frying

For the glaze:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chilies, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf and sauté for 1-2 minutes until the garlic just starts to brown.

Add the vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and black pepper and stir to combine. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until sauce reduces and thickens a bit.

For the wings:
Add vegetable oil to a large skillet to reach depth of 1 inch. Heat over medium-high heat until oil reaches 350-375°. Add wings to skillet. Cook for 8-10 minutes until wings are golden. Transfer wings to paper towels to drain.

When all wings are cooked, place them into a large bowl. Pour the glaze over the chicken wings and toss to coat. Discard the bay leaf. Serve immediately. This dish goes especially well with some Filipino pickled green papaya and carrots–Atchara.

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I used to strictly be a flats guy. But drummettes are just as finger-lickin’.


  • Wandering Chopsticks January 31, 2010, 4:53 pm

    I prefer the flats too, but I’ll fight you for these wings. Only two chilies and 1/4 tsp of chili flakes? Looks like a lot more in the pics.
    Don’t knock the Sriracha. I use it in place of Frank’s Red Hots for my Buffalo wings.

    Reply
  • pleasurepalate January 31, 2010, 5:06 pm

    I’m totally salivating looking at those chicken wings. I love the idea of a sweet and spicy adobo glaze. That might good for pork, too.

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  • Krizia January 31, 2010, 5:29 pm

    These babies are gonna happen Super Bowl Sunday. THANKS FOR THE RECIPE and all the experimentation that led up to it! Genius 😀

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  • Manggy January 31, 2010, 5:54 pm

    Chili flakes AND a bird’s eye chili (and black pepper), that’ my kind of glaze! (And sugar, of course, but let’s just pretend I didn’t say that…)
    I definitely can’t handle a kilogram of wings in one sitting. I ought to watch sports more, then :)

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  • Dave -nibbleanibble January 31, 2010, 6:23 pm

    Looks great. And the glaze is awesome. Chicken wings is great no matter how one makes it. It’s pretty hard to get something so simple wrong.

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  • _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver January 31, 2010, 6:24 pm

    The “flats”. Teehee. Sounds funny. Never heard those referred to as flats before. As we like to say, one can ADOBO anything! =) The wings look great.

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  • jean January 31, 2010, 8:52 pm

    Marvin, these look yummy enough for me to pretend to care about this year’s Super Bowl!

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  • joey January 31, 2010, 8:55 pm

    The look so awesome! I can just imagine how yummy these are! And I’m sure that glaze would go well with a bunch of other things too :)

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  • Mila January 31, 2010, 10:20 pm

    So here’s a question, do you dip the wings into any sauce? Or stick to nomming them down to the bone sans dip? I don’t know if a blue cheese dressing would go with adobo, although if the glaze is spicy enough, you could use a ranch dressing to cool things down.

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  • BNDQ8 February 1, 2010, 7:30 am

    love ur recipe for glazing!! looks yummylicious finger licking good to me :)

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  • Lorena February 1, 2010, 8:50 am

    My husband’s been experimenting with his wings, so maybe I can convince him to try your recipe. Oh, and any suggestions regarding dippage? I echo Mila in wondering if there’s a way to cut the heat…

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  • Burnt Lumpia February 1, 2010, 9:37 am

    Hey there WC! I’m not knocking Sriracha at all, I love the stuff. I just didn’t like it for this particular recipe, it was too overpowering for the other flavors. And there definitely were two chilies, but I didn’t really measure the pepper flakes, a few generous shakes i’d say, so you’re probably right about the pictures;)
    I think you might be right pleasurepalate. I’ll have to give this glaze a go on some pork soon.
    Hey Krizia. I hope they don’t disappoint at your party, but I think they are delicious!
    It sounds so heavy when you use that fancy metric system, Manggy. A kilogram? Yikes. When you think about it though, most of that weight is bones–at least that’s what I keep telling myself;)
    Hi Dave. Thanks for visiting my blog. And you’re right, chicken wings are universally great!
    Hey TS! Yes, flats is the technical term I guess:)
    Thanks jean! You can make them anytime though, superbowl or not! :)
    Thanks Joey! Yes, I imagine the glaze would work well in other applications.
    Excellent question, Mila. I personally didn’t make a side “cooling” sauce for these because as you mentioned, blue cheese wouldn’t be so great with adobo. I like them as is, or even with some atchara. But I guess ranch wouldn’t be so bad either. Or perhaps a simple sour cream or plain yogurt sauce with some more chopped garlic and green onions. Yes, I think that’s it!
    Thanks for visiting my blog, BNDQ8.
    Hi Lorena. Yes, definitely give your husband a looksie at this recipe and see what he thinks. As far as dippage, I suggested to Mila a sour cream or yogurt sauce with some chopped garlic and green onions. And the more I think about it, the more that sounds good to me:) And if you do want to cut the heat even more, perhaps just start with one siling labuyo, and no red pepper flakes and work from there.

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  • Tangled Noodle February 1, 2010, 11:53 am

    Your wings-to-TV ratio is too funny! Many thanks for sacrificing countless hours and numerous chickens to come up with a perfect adobo-glazed Game Day dish. Someone else will have to handle the remote!

    Reply
  • arnold | inuyaki February 1, 2010, 12:05 pm

    I wasn’t on planning on having a Super Bowl party, but now I might just to make this. 😀
    I’m thinking of serving this alongside some chicken wings tossed with the Momofuku Octo Vin. Should be a nice contrast in flavors.

    Reply
  • Bianca February 1, 2010, 1:04 pm

    I like the drumettes! And who woulda thunk? An adobo chicken wing! Awesome!

    Reply
  • malou@IMPROMPTU February 1, 2010, 1:47 pm

    you got me on the spicy and sweet adobo glaze! this i have to try.
    you might not need a sauce for this because of the glaze but to answer Mila’s question, you may want to mix mayo, vinegar, sugar garlic and chives or green onions together. you could also add yogurt to replace the mayo. i did that with my chicken adobo delight(my recent post)wherein i deep fried my adobo coated with a light breading and the duo was perfect! can’t wait to try this though.. the sili labuyo is the kicker!

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  • Carsten February 2, 2010, 1:36 am

    wow, great job! you cust made me hungry.
    thanks for sharing.
    carsten
    tasteandshare.com
    food wine social network

    Reply
  • caninecologne February 2, 2010, 9:19 pm

    hi marvin
    what a great recipe! you are a god for posting this! looks like i’m going to have to make this soon! i pretty much have all the ingredients anyways except the thai bird chilis (which i can easily get)! my favorite piece is the “flat” as you call it. more crispy skin to meat ratio!

    Reply
  • Heather February 3, 2010, 6:56 am

    Hallooo! Great recipe. We make regular wings for superbowl typically, but since we have our friends coming over who are filipino as well, I think I might surprise them with this! Can I ask though how sweet the wings are? I don’t like too sweet so would cutting down on the brown sugar by a half tablespoon mess with the flavors?

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia February 3, 2010, 11:45 am

    Hi Tangled Noodle. Yes, remote control handling is tricky without a little help, or some moistened towelettes.
    Hi Inuyaki. I’m sure the wings with Octo Vin would be killer! Hopefully my wings can hang with them.
    Thanks Bianca!
    Your sauce sounds awesome, malou! And your adobo delight looks wonderful!
    Thanks you, carsten.
    Thanks canine! And the more crispy skin the better!
    Hi Heather. These wings aren’t overly sweet, if you ask me. I mostly just add the sugar to balance the heat, and also so the sauce gets sticky as it reduces. If you want to try cutting the sugar, just start with a half tablespoon like you said, then taste the sauce after you reduce it for a bit. If it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar. The glaze is pretty forgiving in terms of adapting the recipe, as long as you do it before you pour it on the wings.

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  • Emily February 5, 2010, 6:41 am

    Husband has asked me three times, “Are you really making Adobo wings for me for the Super Bowl”?
    He’s excited.

    Reply
  • Ione February 6, 2010, 5:06 pm

    These are amazing. I just made a test batch, with plans to make a whole bunch for a small Superbowl party tomorrow night. The only change I made was one Thai chili, instead of two (my husband and I like spicy, but not too spicy).
    Simply delicious.
    We wolfed down a dozen in 5 minutes, and they got better with every bite. Thanks for posting this–it’s going to become a tradition at my house.

    Reply
  • OysterCulture February 9, 2010, 5:56 pm

    Hi Inuaki tweeted your recipe and as soon as I saw it, I had to try it. It was awesome! I used 3 Thai chilis instead of two and yowza! They were great, my hubby drove me crazy he kept coming into the kitchen to check the status because the smell drove him to distraction.
    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. You have a new fan!

    Reply
  • Andrew@Promotional Duffel Bags February 11, 2010, 12:24 pm

    Wow!! The images almost allow me to taste the goodness. Will have to try this SOON!

    Reply
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipe February 20, 2010, 1:33 am

    If this tastes as it looks, it would be great…

    Reply
  • Annie March 6, 2010, 10:58 pm

    i love wings too…thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  • Duffle Coat March 13, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Truly Filipino, yummy and mouth-watering!Thanks for sharing them here.

    Reply
  • Marie April 20, 2010, 2:29 am

    I love chicken :D, the pics looks so mouthwatering

    Reply
  • Glenn April 28, 2010, 9:58 pm

    Wow! so great idea’s can come from all over..Brah, my dad when he was alive made for parties his Anyhow,Inihaw Carabao chicken wings..very similar but he marinated the wings in Inihaw marinade similar to adobo marinade and then fried drained re-dunk and then double fried, reduced marinade and then tossed with Hawaiian chili pepper water the sauce reduction with added Raw Hawaiian cane sugar.
    Looks close and boy are these buggahs good! My dad called them his Carabao//water buffalo wings to his Haole friends..

    Reply
  • Learn Tagalog May 5, 2010, 12:27 am

    That’s a great recipe for chicken wings. Just from seeing the pictures, I get really hungry! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  • Leilani May 23, 2010, 5:26 am

    Recipe replicated: deeee-licious.

    Reply
  • natalie June 14, 2010, 1:19 pm

    i have leftover chicken wings from a previous dinner party and i was craving for some adobo.. I put two and two together and lord google led me to you..
    thanks for the recipe, i can’t wait to try it, this look like its going to be a winning dish at the dinner table tonight!
    salamat! =)

    Reply
  • Filipino Style July 12, 2010, 3:22 am

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  • Xy-Za August 18, 2010, 3:33 am

    im cooking it now. great recipe! keep it up.. yummy yummy yummy

    Reply
  • aanrechtblad June 4, 2015, 8:59 pm

    Wonderful post. I appreciate your attention to this subject and I learned a good deal.

    Reply

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