Asian caramel chicken wings

Using dark caramel in savoury dishes is common in Asian cooking- it adds depth of flavour and contrasts well with sour and spicy notes

  • Prep:40 mins
    Cook:45 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 391
  • fat 19g
  • saturates 5g
  • carbs 26g
  • sugars 25g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 28g
  • salt 3.2g


  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp gluten-free fish sauce
  • 1 green chilli, halved (optional)
  • small piece cinnamon bark
  • small piece ginger, finely chopped
  • juice 1 large lime, plus extra for squeezing over
  • 1kg chicken wing, tips removed and cut in half
  • small bunch spring onion, cut into 1cm lengths
  • large piece ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 green chilli (seeds removed if you don't like it too hot), cut into rings
  • handful coriander sprigs
  • boiled white rice, to serve


Be brave with caramel

If you don’t take your caramel far enough (dark enough), you’ll have over-sweet, sugary chicken wings. as the caramel cooks and darkens, it becomes richer and less sweet in flavour, with a slight bitter note – that’s the key to this dish. 

Using caramel in savoury dishes

Using caramel in savoury dishes is normal in Asian cooking. The caramelisation adds a great depth of flavour and the sweetness helps to balance out the sour, plus it also beautifully lacquers anything you cook in it. Chunks of pork belly or ribs are also delicious prepared like this


  1. Put the sugar in a medium sauté pan with enough water to make it go sludgy. Place on a low heat and bring to the boil, then cook until you have a dark amber caramel (see tip, below).

  2. At arms length, add the other ingredients, except for the chicken and garnish, and bring to a simmer – take care as it will spit. Once it has calmed down a little and you have a thick sauce, stir in the wings until well coated. Pour over 100ml water and simmer on a medium heat for about 30 mins, stirring every now and then until the sauce is a thicker consistency – add a splash more water if needed.

  3. Turn down the heat and continue to cook, covered, for a further 15 mins, stirring occasionally, until the wings are lacquered and tender and the sauce is very thick. Turn off the heat and quickly stir through half the spring onion, ginger and chilli. Tip the wings and sauce onto a platter. Scatter with the remaining garnish and coriander, and serve with extra lime and rice.

Suggested recipes from this collection...