Burnt Masala Wings
Chef Preeti Mistry came up with the technique used in this recipe a few years ago when they were trying to replicate the unique smokiness that food gets when it’s cooked in a tandoor—just without the tandoor. Burning the spices re-creates at home the slightly bitter taste and smell you get from the 800°-plus oven. “Roasting, then grinding masala adds depth of flavor to the wings,” Mistry says. “The tamarind sauce is a nice tangy foil.”
If you don’t eat meat on holidays like Holi, skip these wings and find more of chef Preeti Mistry’s Holi party recipes here.
black cardamom pods
green cardamom pods
chiles de árbol
2″ cinnamon sticks
Tbsp. black peppercorns
tsp. whole cloves
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 4 limes
serrano chiles, finely chopped
garlic cloves, finely chopped
4″ piece ginger, finely chopped
Tbsp. vegetable oil
tsp. Diamond Crystal or 2 tsp. Morton kosher salt
lb. chicken wings
Glaze and assembly
cup tamarind concentrate (such as Swad)
Tbsp. unsalted butter
1″ piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
Tbsp. hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
bunch cilantro, tough stems discarded, chopped
A spice mill or mortar and pestle
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Toast black and green cardamom pods, chiles de árbol, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and cloves on a small rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until chiles are nearly black and cloves are ashy gray, 8–10 minutes.
Transfer chiles and spices to spice mill or mortar and pestle and let cool. Finely grind (you should have about ⅓ cup); set burnt masala aside.
Whisk lemon juice, lime juice, chiles, garlic, ginger, oil, salt, and 2 Tbsp. burnt masala in a large bowl to combine. Add wings and toss to coat in marinade. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
Glaze and assembly
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Whisk tamarind, sugar, and ½ cup water in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved; set tamarind mixture aside.
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and chili sauce and cook, stirring, until ginger browns slightly, about 4 minutes. Add reserved tamarind mixture, reduce heat to low, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until glaze is thick and glossy, 10–15 minutes. Let cool.
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with double layers of foil; place a wire rack inside each. Using tongs, remove wings from marinade, letting excess drip back into bowl, and divide among racks; discard marinade.
Roast wings until golden, 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven; turn wings over. Brush all over with glaze, return to oven and roast until wings are golden brown and cooked through and glaze is bubbling slightly, 10–15 minutes.
Transfer wings to platter and scatter cilantro over.