This is an adaption of a recipe from Chef Zak Pelaccio of NYC's Fatty Crab, a tribute to the street food he fell in love with when he lived in Kuala Lampur. I altered it slightly, liking a slightly more forceful molasses presence. Makes enough marinade for 20 chicken wings. Baked on a rack on a double-thickness foil lined cookie sheet (right side up, no need to turn), they come out mahogany colored and super shiny, with a skin that's crisp and snappy when you bite into it and meat that's juicy inside. They're fabulous.
Btw, for this kind of recipe, I leave the wings whole (all three sections), and I don't fold or tuck them for economy of space. It's definitely more Asian. 20 wings will take two racks this way, but for presentation it's worth it.
6 small red chiles or 1 generous tablespoon of red chile flakes
2 Tblsp coriander seeds
1 tblsp fennel seeds
1/2 tblsp cumin seeds
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c honey
1/2 c molasses
1/4 c fish sauce
1/2 c soy sauce
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smooshed
1 2" piece of ginger, sliced and bruised
20 chicken wings
In a small skillet, toast the seeds until fragrant and smoking, about three minutes. Grind to a powder, then add to a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients. Marinate (you can leave them in the bowl, but use a gallon sized zip loc bag to maximize the chicken-to-marinade contact) about four to six hours. You can marinate overnight if you're preparing in advance, but the skin won't crisp up as much.
Roast them on the top rack of a 425 F oven for about 40 minutes. If needed, run the broiler for about five minutes at the end of cooking to make the sugars crisp up to a crackle.
Chef Pelaccio recommended cooking and reducing the remaining marinade to toss the wings in when they come out of the oven, but I'm against that--the crisp glassy skin texture is way too special. If you want more flavor just marinate longer.