3 lbs party style chicken wings (cut into drumettes and flats)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce
8 large garlic cloves, 4 minced, 4 thinly sliced
2 Tbsp minced cilantro roots (optional)
1 cup rice flour, corn starch or tapioca starch (not glutinous rice flour)
Canola or peanut oil for deep frying
1/4 cup Kitchen Garden Sriracha
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
Homemade roasted chili powder, optional
1. In a large bowl, combine the wings, sugar, fish sauce and minced garlic and cilantro roots. Refrigerate overnight (or put in your entryway since there's not room in your fridge and it's the middle of winter anyway).
2. 20 minutes before you plan to serve the wings, heat about a quart of oil in a deep cast iron skillet or dutch oven to 375 degrees.
3. Drain the wings and discard liquid from marinade.
4.Dump the rice flour or starch onto a large plate and coat the wings thoroughly, a few at a time, then set them on a dusted baking sheet. Use more rice flour if necessary to get a nice coating on the wings.
5. Fry the sliced garlic until golden and just beginning to brown on the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
6. When the oil is hot, fry the wings, in batches if necessary, until cooked through and golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. (The wings can be held for hours, uncovered, in a low oven before being tossed with the sauce and served.)
7. Mix the sriracha with the sweet chili sauce. In a mixing bowl, add the wings and fried garlic slices and drizzle on the sauce while tossing or stirring them to ensure even coating. More or less sauce can be added depending on the heat tolerance of your guests. An extra pinch of homemade roasted Thai chili powder adds an extra hot and smoky kick to the wings.
8. Serve with a garnish of raw and/or pickled seasonal vegetables.
Note: to make roasted Thai chili powder heat a small skillet over medium low heat. Add whole dried Thai chilies and dry-roast until they change color from red to smoky brown, stirring often. Take care not to burn them. Allow to cool and them grind them to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or specially designated coffee grinder.