Crispy Chicken Wings with Citrus Five-Spice Salt

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr (including marinating)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1/4 cup light soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, finely minced 

2 tablespoons finely grated, peeled ginger 

2 tablespoons rice wine 

2 tablespoons honey 

2 tablespoons yellow bean paste 

12 chicken wings, separated at the joints, wingtips reserved for another use 

Citrus Five-Spice Salt:

2 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns

1 tablespoon fennel seeds 

1 tablespoon whole cloves 

2 pieces dried tangerine peel 

1 inch piece cassia bark or cinnamon stick, broken up

1 star anise 

1 tablespoon ground sea salt 

Cooking spray

Peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying 

Cornstarch, for dredging 

2 scallions, sliced


  1. For the marinade: Whisk together the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice wine, honey and yellow bean paste in a small bowl until well combined. Put the wings and marinade in a resealable plastic food storage bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate the wings for at least 3 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. For the citrus five spice salt: Heat a small wok over medium heat and add the peppercorns, fennel, cloves, tangerine peel, cassia and star anise and dry-toast for 1 minute to release the oils and flavors. Transfer the mixture to a spice grinder and finely grind. Combine 1 tablespoon of the spice mix with the salt in a small bowl and mix well. Reserve the remaining spice mixture for another use.
  4. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and line with a rack. Shake off excess marinade from the wings and spread them evenly on the rack. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  5. Half fill half a wok with peanut oil and heat to 400 degrees F. on a deep frying thermometer. Spread a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of the cornstarch on a plate or baking sheet and lightly dredge the wings, shaking off the excess (the cornstarch will help make the chicken crisp). Working in two batches, flash fry the wings in the hot oil to crisp the skin, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the wings to paper towels to drain.
  6. Combine the chicken wings and a few teaspoons of the citrus five-spice salt in a bowl, tossing to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the scallions. 
  7. Serve warm with the remaining citrus five-spice salt in a small pot or bowl for dipping.