Spiking wings with umami-rich pastes

In the 55 years since the hot wing was born at Anchor’s Pub in Buffalo, NY they’ve become the definitive North American pub food. Wings have been a staple at Donnelly Group pubs, but as the number of wing flavours on the menu grew and grew, so did the feeling that it was time for us to do something different.

So, in keeping with our culinary goals of making fewer things and making each one of them great, we set out to create one amazing wing which would replace that big list of flavours and become a signature dish.

The secret to chicken wings is that they deliver salt, fat, sugar, protein, and heat in one package, so our search for wing heaven started in the same place as a classic hot wing, where knew we’d get lots of heat, sugar, and salt to act as a flavour base. We wanted some of the richness mouthfeel of Buffalo Wings, so we decided to add butter to the sauce as well.

Most of our favourite dishes have a healthy savouriness to them, so spiked the whole mix with Sambal Oelek, the umami-rich Indonesian chili shrimp paste, and we added some fresh cilantro for herbaciousness. We serve them with our housemade Sriracha Parmesan Aioli for dipping, because wings were made to be dipped.

If you’re a home wing chef looking for a new recipe, we figure we’ve given you lots of hints on where to start, but we strongly recommend finding a spot at any of pubs in Vancouver and Toronto to taste our Red Chili Wings, because there are still some secrets we didn’t tell you.