Drums of heaven

Drums of heaven

Deep-fried chicken wings

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

In India we have a large indigenous Chinese population, mostly immigrants from Hakka who came a few hundred years ago and made India their home. Their cuisine evolved and, much like us Parsees, also took on some key Indian notes. Some Chinese dishes are very street-orientated and often, late at night, handcarts with a wok cooker and a small menu will appear in prime spots catering to a hungry mobile crowd of fans. These crisp-fried Indo-Chinese chicken wings, also known as chicken lollipops, served piping hot with minced green chilli and a fiery dip are a favourite for those who long for the chilli fix.


Quantity Ingredient
18 chicken wings, wing tip and first joint removed, leaving meaty end only
5 cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 long, thin green chilies
2-3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
3 eggs, beaten
100-150g cornflour
green and red chilli, minced
dipping sauce, to serve


  1. Scrape and push the meat down the wing bone from the meatless end and gather at the bottom but do not dislodge the bone itself. Then, by holding the bone end in one hand, gather all the meat together at the top of the bone by cupping the other hand over the top and pressing the skin inwards to expose the meat on the outside.
  2. After all the wings are prepared, blend the ginger, garlic and green chillies with the soy sauce and salt (remember that soy is salty too) in a bowl large enough to hold the wings. Add the wings and rub them thoroughly in the marinade until everything is well massaged in. Clean the edges of the bowl with a little paper towel, cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 3–4 hours.
  3. When ready to fry, heat the oil for deep-frying over a low heat.
  4. Add the eggs to the wings and mix them in, then add the cornflour a little at a time and blend in well until you get a sticky but thick coating all round. The batter has to be dryish and not runny, with the wings clinging to it or, even, stuck together.
  5. Now increase the heat until the oil is 180˚C or when a tiny bit of the batter when dropped in rises to the surface straight away, sizzling. Keep a colander over a bowl ready for draining the fried wings. Separate the wings if stuck together and fry, a few at a time, until crisp and well-browned. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well in the colander, then blot on paper towel, if necessary.
  6. Keep hot whilst cooking the remainder and serve hot with minced green chilli and red chilli dipping sauce.
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