How to make Singapore BBQ Wings, hawker-style chicken wings with a chilli dip recipe included. These are the best Asian wings ever!
If you’ve been to a hawker centre in Singapore, you would notice there’s always a stall selling chicken wings. These Singapore BBQ Wings are not your average wings – succulent, smoky, and slightly sweet wings that will have you reaching out for another one before you’re even done with the first! They’re also always served with a tangy chilli sauce dip. That combination of savoury, sweet, umami with a spicy heat is delectable.
Whenever we have any sort of fun barbecue sessions – with friends, family, that odd school reunion – there will ALWAYS be these Singapore BBQ Wings!
What type of Chicken Wings
Chicken wings are of course, the classic type of chicken part to use. I’ve also used the marinade on other chicken parts with no issues. Simply increase the oven temperature to ensure fully cooked chicken parts.
Before pouring over the marinade, blot the chicken wings with some paper towels. This is going remove any excess moisture from the chicken skin, to help the marinade ‘stick’ to the chicken pieces and infuse it with flavour a lot easier.
This chicken wing recipe is all about the marinade! It is a slightly long list of ingredients, but they are all pantry staples for an Asian kitchen.
I threw all of the ingredients in the blender and saved my muscles. If you don’t want to whip out your blender, simply mince or grate the ginger, garlic and shallots and combine with the other ingredients.
Kicap Manis or dark sweet soy sauce is a key ingredient in the marinade. Not only does it add a delicious salty-sweet flavour to the wings, it’s going to help caramelise the wings to a gorgeous dark brown shade.
Oyster sauce and fish sauce add a lot umami depth to the chicken wings.
A note to keep about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the marinade to one side before pouring it over the chicken wings. This marinade will be used as a final basting marinade for the chicken wings. I would not use the marinade that we used to marinade the chicken for this part, because we’ve already cooked the wings.
How to Skewer the Singapore BBQ Wings
At the hawker centres, the chicken wings are often pitted with metal skewers, this gives the wings the straightened appearance, instead of its natural shape. This would help to cook the chicken evenly.
At home, you can skewer the chicken wings with bamboo sticks to get them to straighten out.
Soak the bamboo sticks in water overnight – or for as long as you are marinating the chicken wings for. Doing this will help the sticks to not burn when you roast or grill the wings.
To skewer the wings, find the joint between wing and drummette, and bend and push the joint. Basically you’re dislocating the chicken wing. This will allow the chicken wing to be more flexible, therefore able to straighten out.
As a disclaimer, I usually do not do this! I would simply chop the chicken and separate the drummettes and wings. Not as visually appealing, but it does marinade and roast easier.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celcius, or 345 degrees fahrenheit. It’s a rather low temperature to cook the wings, but it ensures the wings are fully cooked through, but not dry on the inside.
At the last 10 minutes, crank the oven temperature to 220 degrees celcius, or about 425 degrees fahrenheit to get that good charred colour on the wings. I set my oven to the grill or broiler mode so it gets really charred.
If your oven do not have this setting, no problems. Let the wings roast at the higher temperature will also get you that nice caramelised colour, albeit no black charry bits.
You can throw this on the grill, of course, but I’m using my oven for this. If grilling, you need a little bit of skill to make sure it’s cooked all the way through, but not dry. Or too burnt on the outside. If you’re skill-less (like me), I recommend baking the wings in the oven first, and then throw it on the grill to get colour and crisp.
Can I make this in an Air Fryer?
Of course you can! An air fryer is but a cute, mini version of an oven. I would still to my same settings – 175 degrees celcius for 20 minutes – and increasing the temperature to 220 degrees celcius at the last 5 to 10 minutes for colour.
You can get away with a shorter time, but you would have to exercise your own judgement for this, as all air fryers – like ovens – differ in intensity.
Tangy Chilli Dip
The BBQ wings are tasty by itself, but as true blue Singaporean, I need my spicy chilli dip to go along with it. My recipe is actually also my chicken rice chilli recipe, so I always make extra to keep for chicken rice days.
My recipe has quite a fair bit of ingredients, but it’s so good.
Too much trouble for a chilli dip? I get it. I’ve had those days. You can make a good dip with less. Simply blend together the red chillies, bird’s eye chillies, garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar and chicken stock from bouillon cubes.
I used apple cider vinegar, because it combines the sharpness of white vinegar with the more sweet tang of the limes.
You can use water in place of chicken stock, but only if you really don’t have chicken stock cubes at home. If using chicken stock cubes, take note of salt levels and adjust accordingly.
Watch How to make Singapore BBQ Wings:
Singapore Hawker BBQ Wings with Chilli Dip RecipeCourse: Recipes
- BBQ Chicken Wings
10 pieces of Chicken Wings, blot with paper towels
2 tbsps Ginger, about 1 inch
2 tbsps Garlic, about 2-3 cloves
2 tbsps Shallots, about 2-3 bulbs
2 tbsps Dark Sweet Soy Sauce or Kicap Manis
1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground White Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- Chilli Dip
5 Red Chillies
5 Thai Bird’s Eye Chillies
2 tbsps Ginger
2 tbsps Garlic
1 tbsp Vinegar
1-2 tbsps Lime Juice, or Juice from 5 Calamansi Limes
1/2 rind of 1 Lime (optional)
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
½ cup Chicken Stock, unsalted
- Blend together the ingredients for the marinade. Alternatively, grate or mince ginger, garlic and shallots and combine with the rest of the ingredients.
- Keep aside 2-3 tbsps of marinade. Pour the rest of the marinade over chicken wings. Massage into wings. Marinade overnight or minimum three hours. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water as well.
- After marinating, take the wings out. Find the joint of the chicken wings, and bend it to loosen the joint. The chicken wing should be flexible and able to straighten out easily. Grab a bamboo skewer, and poke it from the base of the chicken winglet to the top. Careful as the bamboo skewers are sharp. This will straighten the chicken wings.
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celcius. Using a tray over a pan (you can also just use a pan) lay the chicken wings on top. Brush the chicken wings with leftover marinade. Pop into the oven for 20 minutes.
- At the 20 minute mark, take the wings out. The chicken wings should be cooked through but not have much colour. Increase the oven temperature to 220 deg celcius, and set to grill or broiler mode. Pop the wings back in for 5 minutes, or until it achieves desired char. Flip the wings over to the other side to get even colour.
- Take chicken wings out, and let rest for about 5 minutes. Chicken wings are done!
- Chilli Dip
- To make the chilli dip, finely blitz all the ingredients in a blender.